I had my first crash in a safe environment, very lucky, and smiled about it for days afterwords. I took the MSF course on a little rebel 250 which they gave me and just like the other young guys in the class started to get really excited towards the end of the first day and into the second. Getting over the initial “holy crap I’m not pedaling” phase was a great feeling. Most of the way through the second day doing a quick stopping drill I got a bit overzealous and cranked a little harder on the throttle, accelerating all the way to the stopping point. When I hit the breaks the front wheel locked up and in the middle of cursing dumped the bike and hit the ground. It all happened really quick, which stunned me a little, but after a little more swearing and a visit from the instructor I realized nothing was injured past a soar hip and hand and continued with the rest of the drill.
I feel lucky that my first experience was in an environment like the MSF course. I say a number of very timid people there, and all I can say to other new riders is that while you’re taking the course be a little daring. It’s much better to screw up for the first time in a parking lot with helpful people around than on a city street or country road where the danger is real.