Humber College Motorcycle Instructors Prepare for a New Season
Each spring, Humber College motorcycle instructors are required to take a recertification course. An intensive process that includes both classroom time and practical instruction, the recertification provides an opportunity for Humber’s instructors to keep their teaching skills current, discuss new lesson plans and learn about new protocols.
New and returning instructors alike must pass this course in order to continue instructing students. Motoring was recently invited to visit the behind the scenes and have a look at what it takes to become and remain a Motorcycle Instructor at Humber and to learn a bit more about the overall Humber Motorcycle Program. I have to confess to a certain amount of trepidation prior to arriving on site. My knowledge of motorcycles is admittedly slim, limited to understanding that helmets are a necessity and that riders tend to wear a certain amount of protective leather.
Upon arrival at Humber’s Campus, I was put at ease immediately and became very impressed with the general atmosphere of camaraderie and enthusiasm within the program. A huge lecture facility full of men and women with clipboards, helmets and smiles was my first glimpse of the program.
The recertification course generally runs for 8 sessions, 2 nights per week plus attendance at the annual re-certification weekend. Coming in from locations all over the GTA, these men and women take their jobs very seriously but after speaking with a few of them, I quickly realized they love what they do and many of them became instructors in order to share that love of motorcycles with others and teach them to do their riding safely. Granted, part of the happy enthusiasm I was witnessing on this particular day had to do with a new fleet of CBR125 motorcycles that have been added to the current fleet of bikes being used in the program but overall it was obvious these people love what they do.
Program Manager Andy Hertel introduced me to a few of the local instructors taking their recertification on this chilly Sunday afternoon. While I spoke to instructors who were working on the academic component of their recertification, other instructors were outside in the parking lot putting the new bikes through the paces.
Terry Fast – one of several instructor from the Bolton/Caledon area – puts it this way: “Most of these people have been riding for years and just love what they are doing. It’s natural to want to share our knowledge with new riders. Recertification each year is just a necessary part of the process.”
Lenny Mammoliti, also from Caledon, agreed. “I’ve been riding for many years and decided to become an instructor because I wanted to share my knowledge with new riders. “
Out on the parking lot, the instructors were put through their paces with exercises that tested their skills, weaving in figure 8’s and practicing maneuvering and stopping techniques. At the end of the course work and parking lot/riding test, instructors are issued their renewed Instructor certification and are ready to take on the task of teaching the season’s new crop of students.
There are several stages of licensing, beginning with an M1 license which can be written at a drive test center. Similar to a G1, this license allows new riders to operate their motorcycle under a series of fairly stringent restrictions including 0% blood alcohol, riding only during daylight hours at speeds under 80 kph and no riding with passengers.
Hertel explained that – in order to take part in any of Humber’s motorcycle instruction programs – riders must first take the test and obtain their M1 license. Then new riders can take courses with Humber to increase their proficiency and skills in a supportive environment as they work towards their M2 license. Hertel also pointed out that most riders who have completed one of the courses have discovered a “side benefit” they didn’t expect.
“Many finish one of the Motorcycle instruction courses here and then tell us they have actually become better drivers when behind the vehicle of their car too,” Hertel explained. “A good example of this would be coming away from the course with an increased awareness of the need for driving without distraction, something you simply have to do on a motorcycle.”
As I looked around the training facility, I noticed a fairly large representation of women in the group and was told that women currently make up approximately 20 percent of the instructors, and the number is growing.
There is still spots remaining for instruction in the 2013 season, so if you are interested in learning more about motorcycle training at Humber, visit the website at http://www.humber.ca/motorcycle/course/motorcycle-instructor-training.
Written by Shelly Sargent