Pa.'s New 3 WBRC
Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PaMSP)just up loaded onto their website the new MSF 3-Wheel curriculum..
..basically the same as the BRC with a couple of picture changes...
However going the the FAQ's of the PaMSP site..they state:
Under no circumstance will vehicles with the following designs be allowed in the 3WBRC
* Automotive hybrids or automotive conversions
* Vehicles with automotive controls or seating
* Vehicles with rear or front mounted engines (engines must be mounted mid-frame below the rider)
* Vehicles with enclosed or semi-enclosed riding compartments
* Any other radical departure from the standard controls of motorcycles
Note: The 3WBRC is not specifically designed for a motorcycle with a sidecar or a detachable "trike kit" and is not recommended for participation in this course.
I find it interesting that sidecars are somewhat discouraged in taking this course...
Last edited by Clay; 02-03-2011 at 03:49 PM.
No. I would say discouraged outright.
Originally Posted by Clay
So, what allows you to operate a Motorcycle/sidecar combination in PA?
A Motorcycle endorsement? Seems that way to me.
Also funny how they use the term "Rig". So as to imply the same.
For some perspective on this, consider that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is funded by several of the major manufacturers--none of whom sell sidecars. HD has sold trikes, and I believe BRP (Can Am) is now helping fund MSF. Ural can't afford to belong.
Now, consider that the MSF finagled it's way into the contract to administer motorcycle safety in PA. The MSF has a self-interest to support those who finance it, so there is a reason to have a course for trikes, but not sidecars.
And, since the MSF sees the Evergreen Safety Council as competition, as PA administrators they can prevent the S/TEP from being approved for PA. They have also not allowed an S/TEP card as a license test waiver, so even if someone takes the S/TEP in another state, PA won't recognize the card.
Normally, a state will provide an alternate means to obtain a license, but in PA the licensing offices just can't quite come up with an approved skills test for three-wheeled motorcycles. An applicant is told to take the BRC as a means to getting a license. The BRC, of course, is on a two-wheeled motorcycle, which is just about impossible for someone with leg limitations.
It's a sorry situation, but a natural result of allowing an industry-supported group to have full control of a state's rider training. The temptation is to think of the MSF like the local fire department or library. No, the MSF is set up very commercially to provide more newly licensed riders who will hopefully buy new bikes. And in states such as PA and CA, the MSF can actually siphon off some of the training fees as "administrative costs."
How did PA get in this situation? First, the MSF hired the PA motorcycle safety coordinator to an MSF staff position in California. Then, with priviledged information about PA contracts and training numbers, the MSF could bid for the contract. Knowing all about past bids, they could "miraculously" come up with a winning bid. PA motorcyclists don't seem to care about any of this, except for the small minority of sidecarists who want training and licensing.
...And at the end of the day?
Is a side car license available in PA?
I assume you mean is a drivers license endorsement available to operate a motorcycle/sidecar combination?
Yes, a "motorcycle" license.
The trick for a PA sidecarist wanna-be is to find a driver's license office that will conduct a skills test for a rider on a sidecar outfit. The standard response is a giant run-around, laden with techno-speak. "Why don't you just take the BRC and that will get you a license." "I suggest you contact one of the rider training sites and ask about a suitable course." "We're working on that, but we aren't quite at the point of offering a skills test on a sidecar rig."
In response to a post by a frustrated Spyder driver, I contacted the PA motorcycle safety program directly, asking easy, specific questions. I got one official BS response from the official web site, and a second response from the state coordinator, which was warmer and friendlier, but no more instructive.
The bottom line is that no, currently there is no way to get an endorsement on a rig, other than to take a course or skills test on a two-wheeler.
I approached both the ABATE of Pa. and the American Motorcyclist Association(AMA) with the same question about the new 3-wheeled BRC discriminating against users of motorcyclists with sidecars..no response from the AMA and ABATE of Pa. basically stating there isn't an issue...
Originally Posted by pmdave
There's obviously some sort of "issue."
May I suggest that ABATE of PA appears to have lost sight of it's mission. And, if ABATE is too fat and comfortable to take on the whole program, one step in doing something posistive would be to take political action to sort out this business of three-wheeler operator licensing. What they should be doing is actively working to get PA separated from the MSF, at least to make the PA motorcycle safety program responsible for both training and the results.
Yeh, I know. the majority of SROs have retrogressed to the simple task of fighting helmet laws, and can't see beyond that to the real issues.
Then it would be best to contact Charles Umbenhauer, Bike Pac Chairman for ABATE of Pa. as he feels that the 'issue' doesn't warrant further investigation as I had suggested... FYI..I believe he is a PaMSP instructor(Coach) under their program as well... Now do you see the relationship..?
Originally Posted by pmdave
ABATE in many states has gotten involved in rider training. In some states (Alaska for example) the only rider training is that offered by ABATE. And I think that ABATE being involved in rider training is generally a good idea, because it's positive rather than negative action.
Instructors ("ridercoaches" in MSF-speak) give up a lot of their time and energy to teaching, so suggesting that the training program isn't what it could be is taken by instructors as a slap to the cheek . All the same, the management of the state rider training ("i.e. "motorcycle safety") program in any state determines instructor involvement.
Since neither the MSF nor the AMA have been "friendly" towards three-wheelers, there has been little pressure on state programs to take three-wheeler training seriously. The coordinators in about half the states are actively anti-three-wheel, doing everything they can to avoid having to offer three-wheeler courses or provide special license restrictions.
It's not so much an educational issue as a political issue. And that's where AMA, ABATE, and MRF could have a positive affect on three-wheeler licensing and training if they realized the importance to riders with limitations and disabiities.
Am I slipping into political action here, and risking wrist-slapping from the moderators?
Not with that in the discussion.
Originally Posted by pmdave
If it is then my MOA membership will 'dry up'.
I'm thinking here of all the people who lust for a motorcycle, but have a limitation that prevents them from riding a bike. Specifically, I'm thinking of military vets who have sacrificed an arm or leg. Yes, I know there are tough guys who ride a bike even with artificial legs, but the most practical solution for most is a three-wheeler.
I've also suggested that the Citizens With Disabilities Act applies to motorcycling. I believe that any state program offering "motorcycle" training should have some way of dealing with those who can't ride a bike. One state program was so incensed at my suggestion that they called in an agent who could address the issue. The claim was that since a trike or sidecar rig is so much different from a bike, the laws on motorcycle training don't apply. However, the federal spokeswoman pointed out that that state program had never stated that they trained only "two wheeled" motorcyclists.
Personally, I think it's detestable that a state program would position itself to ignore the needs of someone with a physical limitation--especially a veteran.
I suppose someone could sue a state motorcycle safety program about this, but I don't think that's going to happen. The key here is that the MSF has produced training programs that say "motorcycle" but are clearly focused on two-wheelers. As far as the MSF is concerned, trikes must exist since BRP came on board, but sidecars don't exist. I'm not being paranoid here. Try to find anything from the industry about numbers of three wheelers on the road, or their safety record.
I find it odd that sidecar enthusiasts generally try to fly under the government "radar" and therefore don't want to make any waves. One of these days the feds are going to come up with regulations that affect sidecarists, and it might not be pretty for the hiding sidecarists.
"Thank you for using the "contact us" feature at www.americanmotorcyclist.com
to communicate with us about the PA MSF program and the lack of accommodation for
motorcycles with a sidecar. While it does show progress for a 3 wheeled program to be
introduced, it is disappointing to not have a sidecar option. I have forwarded your
inquiry to Imre Szauter, AMA Government Affairs Manager for On-Road Issues for his
consideration. Mr. Szauter is very active in promoting rider education and was at one
time an MSF Basic Rider Training instructor himself."
The door is now open to direct your comments to the AMA concerning the new 3-Wheeled BRC..however..like ABATE of Pa. this individual also has a relationship as an MSF instructor(coach) and maybe blinded by that fact..
Are there any disabled riding groups you are aware of? Veteran's groups?
Originally Posted by Clay
Perhaps a kick in the a... Uh... Pants from one or more of these groups is all they need.
In other words...
Play the discrimination card.
Imre is probably the most sympathetic guy at AMA in terms of training, so it would be worthwhile to see what he can do.
State Administrator of the PaMSP responds:
"First the good news. The Pa MSP program will let a student with a sidecar take the 3WBRC. So you can bring your Ural to a course.
However, the MSF curriculum was not specifically designed for sidecars. The MSF curriculum suggests that sidecars not be allowed to take the 3WBRC. So, be aware that there will not be specific training or coaching to address sidecar only issues or dynamics. Please keep that in mind if you decide to take the course. "
I didn't want to play the "Disability" card..but I am a card carrying DAV..but presently still can through both legs over a m/c..but don't know how long further down the road...