Motorcycle Safety Training: What riders need to know

  • Published
  • By Arthur Albert
  • Air Force Safety Center Public Affairs

With more motorcyclists hitting the roadways, it may be helpful to shed some light on the Air Force’s training requirements, as well as the proper acronyms for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses, as well as dispel some misinformation circulating.

In 2013, Air Force motorcycle training requirements went from a one-time requirement to a five-year requirement, intending to build on a rider’s skill level. In a nutshell, Airmen riding through 20 years of service are required to attend at least four training courses, with each course building on the other.

Level I (Initial): New rider rraining will only be accomplished for those members who have a motorcycle operator’s permit from their home state and have no motorcycle endorsement.

Level II (Intermediate): Riders entering the service with an endorsement will automatically be required to attend a Level II training course within one year.  If unable to safely complete this training based on instructor’s recommendation, member may be directed to attend Level I training.

Sustainment/Refresher: This training helps riders advance their skills while reinforcing positive behavioral traits required to operate a motorcycle safely. Sustainment/Refresher training may be satisfied by participating in an approved structured mentorship course as outlined in Air Force Instruction 91-207, or repeating a Level II course.

Additional training maybe required if a rider who currently rides a cruiser style motorcycle decides to ride a sport bike motorcycle. Sport bike riders must complete a Level II sport bike training course.

What do all the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or MSF, acronyms mean?

In 2014, the MSF updated their training curriculum. To distinguish between the new versions of the courses MSF at first placed a “U” after the acronym to specify an updated version of the course. In an effort to clear up confusion on the courses and provide a standardized way of interpreting which course the acronyms stand for, the following guidance is offered.

All of the older MSF courses will be shown with the year the course was replaced by an updated course (i.e., BRC 2013, BRC2 2013, ARC 2013, MSRC 2013, etc…). The “U” will be dropped from the updated courses and just be designated with the acronym for the course, as this is the most current curriculum offered (i.e., BRC, BRC2, ARC, MSRC, etc.).

One thing to note, when it comes to BRC2 2013 and BRC2, only the newer version is approved for sport bike-related training because it concentrates on more advanced braking, maneuvering and behavior.

Since the MSF completion card for BRC2 and BRC2 2013 are the same, the training location using the older curriculum will annotate the card at the top with 2013. The Air Force is encouraging all in-house training programs to switch over to the new BRC/BRC2 curriculum.

One of the most frequent rumors we hear is that the Air Force is getting out of the motorcycle safety training business. This simply is not the case.

In 2017, a decision was made to focus the limited training resources available on those personnel who truly have an intention to ride a motorcycle and turn the requirement for obtaining a license over to the states. It is the state licensing programs that provide riders not only with the basic operations of a motorcycle, but a key element in the licensing – the laws.

The Air Force stands steadily behind training, focusing on the “Right Training, Right Time, Right Bike.” Simply put, the Air Force focuses training not on the basic balance and control that the states are better equipped to provide, but more on the advanced skill sets and behavior our riders need to safely operate their own motorcycles on public streets and highways.

When you make the effort to at least obtain a learner’s permit or endorsement from your home state, proving you understand the laws associated with riding a motorcycle and illustrating your desire to ride, the Air Force steps in to ensure Airmen have the best training available to help them accomplish the task of riding safely. 

For more information, email the Air Force Motorcycle Program Manager at