The Diana Marafioti Award
I have to share this with you because your mother has been such an important part in my “motorcycle” life.
As you know your mom taught me how to ride back in 1990. I had some great classes with her. All throughout my time in the club I’ve looked up to your mom as an example of what women can do. I knew that your mom had been President of Lost Wheels and that helped me make my decision to run for the Presidency. Now I have been honored by the members of Lost Wheels. Last night they gave me the “Diana Marafioti Award” for my service to the club. It’s an award that’s never been given before. I was totally blown away when Dan made the presentation and even more honored when your mom’s name was given to the award. “
— Pat MacGregor–, President, Lost Wheels Motorcycle Club, NY
KickSTART MTS Mission Statement
To continue to promote and improve the education, service and availability of safe and enjoyable riding habits to new riders every where. To offer rider education in the most effective, comprehensive, and efficient means possible.
Means: I have combined my lifetime of motorcycle riding along with my out-in-the-field, hands on teaching experience, with the research & data from national traffic safety organizations, to compile the most comprehensive, systematic Motorcycle Operators – Beginners Riding Manual & Interactive DVD available: KickSTART MTS.
CKS Motorcycle History
Diana Marafioti was awarded the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) MVP Award for her “Contribution to the Motorcycle Community for 20 years of Service” in May, 2004.
In 1984, my family began professionally teaching motorcycle lessons. Since 1986, our private driving school, The American Motorcycle Driving School, Inc. (AMDS) has been located in Dutchess County, New York. In 1996, when New York State Department of Motor Vehicle (NYS DMV) entered an agreement with the Motorcycle Association of New York State (formerly known as MANYS) for the Motorcycle Road Test Waiver Benefits and Point and Insurance Reduction, 3 new motorcycle training sites have sprung up in our surrounding areas. AMDS is currently snuggled in the mist of 5 local Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training sites. I have been teaching people how to ride motorcycles since 1986. Over the years, I have taught both the Beginner Rider Course (BRC) and Experienced Rider Course (ERC) courses at most of these sites. I have watched the improvements from the Motorcycle Rider Course (MRC) to the current BRC with much enthusiasm.
At our motorcycle driving school, the AMDS, I have developed and tested a unique teaching style, the training blocks of learning broken down to the simplest of mechanical tasks, practice set-up and drills, personal evaluations, troubleshooting, and the over-the-road program, for our beginner motorcycle training program, called KickSTART MTS. Our outstanding 18 year success rate, with 98% of our students passing their NYS DMV Road Test, combined with our extraordinarily high safety and injury prevention statistics, stand as testament for the KickSTART MTS training program.
Certifications & Achievements:
- MSF RiderCoach
- MSF ERC
- MSF MRC
- NYS DMV Driving School Owner
- NYS DMV Motorcycle & Car Instructor
- NYS Board of Education Certified Teacher of Traffic Safety & Education
- National Safety Council, DDC & PTD-DDC Certified Instructor
- Motorcycle Association of New York State (MANYS).
- Licensed Motorcyclist since 1980: Age 16-21 I held a motorcycle license only.
- I have owned and been regularly riding a 1979, HD, 1340cc, Shovelhead since I was 17 years old.
- I routinely test ride my students motorcycles, on an average of 40 per season “breaking-in-their-Stallions”, a program I designed to formalize Riders with their new motorcycles.
- I have gone on several long (3 days or longer) road trips.
- I enjoy Group Riding and solo trips.
- I am a 4th generation, female motorcyclist.
Professional Training and Experience
My foundation as an instructor is from my Mother, 2004 AMA Award Winner, Diana L. Marafioti, and from the MSF. I enjoy working, learning and teaching as part of the MSF program and family. In addition to the MSF teachings, being self-employed has afforded me the luxury of making changes in my curriculum, and receiving immediate results. In all fairness, in the beginning, not all my changes worked out as well as I had hoped. Fortunately I was able to reevaluate to quickly revamp them again. Through this trial and error process, our team was able to explore, analyze, and achieve a comprehensive and systematic method of teaching in a safe, fun and efficient manner. My most valuable training as a motorcycle instructor has come from my students and experiences teaching privately at my motorcycle driving school. At the AMDS I have also been given a rare and unique look into the other existing beginner motorcycle training programs, by working continually with both the graduates and dismissed students from the five, local MSF–MANY Training Sites. Subsequently, these students advise me, both by their questions and by my evaluating their mechanical tasks, which skills and concepts they routinely misunderstand, fail to comprehend and/or physically have difficulty mastering within the courses. Being an experienced teacher and greatly familiar with the MRC/BRC/ERC, as well as knowing the instructors personally (from having trained or taught with most of the other RiderCoaches), I can easily decipher between what students are missing, what the program is missing, and/or what a RiderCoach (RC) missed. I often work with a new rider both before and after they have taken a course. I see their improvements and their confusions. I also work with them during a private lesson on their personal motorcycle to help transfer their skills. I am repeatedly shown what they are unable to process on their own. Over 90% of my students enjoy their first motorcycle ride, over-the-road, on our school motorcycles with me riding along side of them. I ride them into a combination of different, challenging road and traffic situations and terrains. From this angle, they tell and show me what skills and/or strategies they are lacking for riding over the road more safely. Achieving such an intimate student/teacher relationship, affords me their trust, allowing them to privately voice their true feelings, fears, successes, and experiences about learning how to ride. It has been our unique opportunity to work with said students so extensively, that has allowed us to change, build and customize our KickSTART MTS Program to achieve outstanding results.
I have spent the last year writing, documenting, filming, directing, editing and compiling our companies teaching technique and riding history in the soon to be published book: “How to Ride a Motorcycle”* with the accompanying, interactive DVD KickSTART MTS. I have written this book, from two parts: 1) Step by step on how I teach daily and 2) From my students’ perspective; I simply answered the questions and myths about riding, which my students and new riders have confided in me, over the past 2 decades. Now documented, with full copyright and trademark protection, KickSTART MTS will soon be released to new and potential riders everywhere. My goal is the safety of all motorcyclists; I am only too aware of the dangers and risks, especially for self taught riders. I am passionate about teaching motorcycling; but being only one local instructor, I feel that my findings, ideas and life lessons will serve a greater service being available to new and potential riders everywhere, in this book and DVD.
I am additionally certified by the New York State Board of Education also certifies me, as a teacher of Traffic Safety and Driver Education. I have developed my own curriculum and lesson plan to teach the New York State 5 hour Pre-licensing Course, Point and Insurance Reduction Program, and Driver Education for benefits of graduated licensing privileges to new car drivers. While still teaching motorcycle training, I have been teaching in our local Colleges since 1997, offering Driver Education to our youth. This has granted me a unique opportunity to hear what new car drivers and America’s youth feel, believe and think about sharing the road with us motorcyclists. I hear their myths and misconceptions, prejudices and enthusiasms. I use this opportunity to help educate our car drivers to the challenges and truths about being a motorcyclist. I have found that my most valuable skill as a teacher is the ability to listen to what the students say, and are questioning me about…nothing I have ever wanted to say, has ever been more important than what they wanted to know.
I have the experience of hiring and training new instructors both through my driving school and as a Head RiderCoach. I am the VP of a MSF Site in Queens, NY, and was the Head of Rider Education at a local Community College. I have initiated motorcycle programs, contracts, coordinated open houses and promotions, managed the scheduling of courses and of RC’s, IPW’S, organized and headed training, updates and team meetings. I have developed excellent relationships and support from many outside agencies; i.e. local motorcycle dealerships and colleges. Through my driving school I have been able to earn the trust and respect from our local DMV Offices and various Law Enforcement Agencies. In 1997, I branched out to become a Teacher of Traffic Safety and Driver Education for car drivers. I started my second driving school, The American Driving Academy, Inc. in 2000. I secured a contractual agreement with Dutchess County Community College to offer Driver Education to the youth in our community. I maintain an open mind and open door policy to new and different teaching styles.
I have ridden in all terrains and environments including: NY City Streets, LA Freeways, the Smokey Mountains, the Tobacco fields of Kentucky, Flatlands of Florida, and the Pacific Coast Highway One. I have ridden in the heat of the Desert out HWY 10 into California. I have ridden the whole winter long, in upstate NY. I rode out the monsoon seasons of South Padre Island, TX, and Louisiana, handled the strong and steady winds on Hwy 40/30 across Texarkana through Dallas to Midland Texas, and the shimmering heat from the Arizona desert. I negotiated the deer on the NY State Taconic Parkway, the maddening traffic of the Baltimore Beltway, the salt and sand on the Florida beaches, dodged the June bugs in the hot, summer night riding across Tennessee and fell in step with trucker convoys running through New Mexico on up to route 80 in Pennsylvania.