The web-enhanced basic motorcycle rider safety class focuses on the development of basic riding skills, including clutch and throttle coordination, straight-line riding, turning and shifting.

The web-enhanced basic motorcycle rider safety class focuses on the development of basic riding skills, including clutch and throttle coordination, straight-line riding, turning and shifting.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Motorcycle safety class gains traction

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published May 7, 2021

WARREN — Growing up, Matt Budzynowski always rode dirt bikes.

It’s a pastime he’s enjoyed forever, and he decided to go full throttle with the experience by enrolling in the web-enhanced basic motorcycle rider safety course at Macomb Community College.

“It’s just helpful to go through and learn the basic program,” Budzynowski, 28, of New Haven said. “The class hones (students’) skills and ups their confidence level.”

Budzynowski was among 60 students who recently took the basic class. On May 1, they gathered in a parking lot of the college’s South Campus for on-the-road instruction, training and a written test.

The motorcycle safety course consists of approximately 18 hours of instruction, which broken down is three hours of online training, five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of hands-on coaching.

The course, designed for participants with minimal experience operating a motorcycle, focuses on the development of basic riding skills: clutch and throttle coordination, straight-line riding, turning and shifting. Motorcycles are provided for the basic rider course.

Successful completion of the course and its knowledge and skills test results in a riding and written test waiver by the Secretary of State. The college has offered the class since 1981. The class is taught by coaches that have completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or MSF, rider coach prep class, a 90-hour course.

Robert Feyers is the lead coach at MCC, teaching alongside coaches Tracy Eikner, Dean Moore and Daryl Wilton. Feyers has taught at MCC since 2007 and became lead coach for the motorcycle safety classes at the college in 2019. The prerequisite for taking the class is knowing how to ride a bicycle.

“Our riding coaches are all motorcycle enthusiasts. We teach braking, cornering, swerving and slow speed control. The biggest mistake riders make is not looking where they’re going. You steer a motorcycle with your chin. The bike goes right where you’re looking. When riding, you’ve got to be aware of it,” Feyers said. “We want to encourage people to take the classes. I’m hoping when they finish they’ve met all the student requirements to get their license.”

During practice drills, students wear plenty of equipment: face coverings, a U.S. Department of Transportation-certified helmet, eye protection, a long-sleeved jacket or shirt, full-finger gloves and more.

Nicole Sherry, of Clinton Township, was one of the students gearing up to hit the open road.

“My grandmother passed of COVID. My dad got her bike,” said Sherry, who inherited her dad’s Harley Davidson Softail model. “(The class) is definitely going to keep people safe and others safe as well. Everyone just wants to be safe out on the road.”

Sherry wants to build her confidence, but not travel too far.

“I think I’m going to keep it pretty local,” she said, adding her grandmother “liked to ride. I’m kind of following in her footsteps. It means a lot.”

Sherry added that the other novice riders have been encouraging.

“You were so helpful today,” she told Feyers. “You all were.”

“I think they did really well,” Eikner said of the students. “They are right where they should be.”

Eikner hopped on her first motorcycle at age 8; a trip that never came to a halt. It’s the feeling of freedom on the road and the camaraderie with the other riders that keeps her motor running.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s in my bones.”

Feyers is also an experienced easy rider. He remembers riding as a passenger with his dad. One memory sticks out: All the bikers, even if they didn’t know each other, would wave at each other as they passed one another.

“You’re definitely part of the community,” said Feyers, who with friends has zipped all over the world on his bike, including the Swiss Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes Mountains. One upcoming trip is to ride to the Atlantic Ocean, put his toe in the water and then trek to the Pacific Ocean to do the same.

Three levels of instruction at MCC are currently available: basic motorcycle rider safety (web-enhanced), returning rider, and MSF rider coach preparation. Two weekend sessions will be held each month now through Sept. 17. For more information, email motor