Pacific Riding School: British Columbia Motorcycle Rider Training

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Pacific Riding School

Riding training from a different angle

While many states in the U.S. offer MSF-based rider training courses, others like Idaho and Oregon, have developed their own. And around the world, riding training is offered in different ways with different curriculums.

This magazine has long been an advocate of continuous rider training for all riders. The mantra here is to get into some kind of class at least every two years. You can never know too much.

But it was interesting to sit down with Dat Louie from The Pacific Riding School based out of British Columbia in Western Canada and learn about what they offer new and seasoned riders, and to note the differences, particularly in new rider training between what is provided in the U.S.

In British Columbia, rider training is not required, but, obviously, highly advised. And since it's not required, and the curriculum is not fed by the government, the cost a student pays is not subsidized by the province.

In Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, new rider training using a different curriculum in each state, consists of around 20 hours of training. 4-6 hours in the classroom and the rest on a closed range area. Students typically ride a small cc bike throughout the training.

Up north in B.C., PRS utilizes a 28-hour curriculum that includes 8 hours in the classroom, 10 hours riding on a closed range and 10 hours of riding on public roadways. Those last 10 hours is what makes it very different from how we teach basic rider education here in the states.

For those last 10 hours, many students will shift to a larger bike. PRS offers cruiser, standard, dual sport and low cc sport bike options. This provides a new rider with a sense of what it's really like to ride in the street on the same style bike they may be contemplating as a purchase.

Another difference is the gear offered to new students. In the states, many educational outfits will provide required helmets and hand protection. PRS goes further gearing up all the new rider students in protective jackets and pants. If it rains, they have a full set of rain gear for each rider ready to go. The helmets they provide are made by Shoei, rather than a knock-off full face of lesser quality.

"Getting students into quality protective gear impresses the importance of such when they ride on their own later," notes Dat Louie, one of the lead instructors at the company.

All this comes at a price to the student. In Washington state a student will be expected to pay ½ the cost of training which currently costs $250, so the student pays $125. Up north at PSR, riders will pay $825 in Canadian dollars (currently $660 U.S.). Louie spells it out - "If a student is going to pay for a new bike and cares enough to invest in training, then the cost isn't such a factor."

Pacific Riding School currently does not offer intermediate or advanced rider courses, but interestingly, they offer an Enduro Rider course based on BMW's Enduro Training curriculum. You won't need to travel deep into the woods for this one, as it's taught at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey, BC.

Looking back at rider training 20 years ago, in both the U.S. and Canada, it's safe to say we've come a long way. With more innovation like this, it will only get better.

SR/February 18

More information is available at

Listen to the interview with Dat Louie in the February 2018 Sound RIDER! Show broadcast at

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