Advanced Training You have 4 main Options for advance rider training. These are the Bikesafe, ERS, IAM training and the ROSPA test.
- - Bikesafe is an introduction to advanced training, run by the Police.
- - It is a 1 or 2 day course
- - You can do it on any size engine, and even on a scooter if in London on their Scootersafe scheme
- - It is subsidised, and costs £40-60; you may get lunch included for this
- - You get a talk in the morning/first day and a ride in the afternoon/second day
- - You'll get lots of advice on how to improve your riding, and your bad habits will be pointed out so be prepared!
Bikesafe is a "ride check" thing rather than an ongoing course like IAM or RoSPA (the IAM also offer a one-off ride check that is similar, for £35 I believe). It's usually a one or two day affair, run by the police, and is less likely to reduce your insurance premium than the advanced groups, although there are exceptions, usually the more expensive/well-known motorcycle insurers such as Devitt.
A Bikesafe course usually costs between £40 and £60 - quite heavily subsidised by the police. It's not quite as centralised as other groups so there are differences in how it works depending on where you are in the country. In London, for example, the police run Scootersafe as well as Bikesafe, aiming to make scooter riders aware that they can improve their riding too. Unlike RoSPA and IAM (which require your machine to be totally capable of maintaining the national speed limit at all times), Bikesafe is open to people on smaller bikes as well.
The course will start with a presentation by the police, involving powerpoint/videos/an officer talking about safe riding techniques, positioning etc. and other important safety points like checking your bike over thoroughly on a regular basis and wearing appropriate gear. If it's a one-day affair, this usually fills the morning and then lunch may be provided depending on the constabulary running it. If it's a two-day course, the presentation element will be all you get for the first day.
In the afternoon/second day, you get the 'ride check' element. This involves riding around being followed by a police motorcyclist - don't worry, they're not always on police bikes! Much like your training, they usually take two riders to one police biker, and they'll match you up as closely as possible to another rider on the course in terms of machine capability & riding experience. They'll hook you up to a radio and take you on a variety of roads to see how you ride - you can specify which things you most want to concentrate on, e.g. filtering. They will tailor it for you to an extent. This won't last more than a couple of hours.
Finally you'll get a thorough debriefing, talking about the ride itself and pointers for how you can improve and what to concentrate on.
Bikesafe is more of an introduction to improving your riding - if you join the RoSPA/IAM a year after passing your test for example; Bikesafe is probably more suitable at 6 months after you pass.
The ERS is the Enhanced Riding Scheme. This Scheme is run by the DSA(the same people as the normal bike test).
This is like the passplus of the bike world. This scheme is targeted at people who :
- have just passed their test
- are returning to riding
- are upgrading to a bigger bike
- feel their skills are a bit rusty
As training is tailored to your needs, you do as little or as much training as required - mostly to help reduce key risk areas in on-road riding, such as bend negotiation, overtaking, filtering, positioning and junctions.
ERS training starts when you book an ERS assessment with one of the expert trainers from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) voluntary Register of Post-Test Motorcycle Trainers (RPMT).
The assessment will identify your main strengths and weaknesses but there is no 'pass' or 'fail' - no test is involved and you cannot lose your licence. If your riding skills are satisfactory, the process ends there and you will be issued with an ERS certificate.
If you do need training, the trainer will prepare a personalised training plan for you and concentrate on specific areas needing attention, rather than taking a ï¿½one size fits allï¿½ approach.
Once you've completed your training, you'll receive a report and a 'DSA Certificate of Competence - Enhanced Rider Bonus', which then qualifies you for an insurance discount. Typical cost of ERS training The cost of the training will vary from provider to provider, and often from rider to rider dependent on individual needs. Talk to your local ERS trainers to find the best choice for you.
- How much does it cost? £139 plus a voluntary contribution to your observers petrol costs, this includes your test and unlimited observed rides.
- How do I join?: Go to www.iam.org.uk
- Should I do it?: Yes.
IAM works by having a series of groups around the country, each has its own observers and leaders of the group, and the IAM supervises these groups and ensures all training is up to standard. To join the IAM you buy the "skills for life" program on the IAM website, currently costing £139 but it goes up each year. Once you have purchased your "skills for life" IAM will send you a pack containing a form which allows you to join your local IAM group, instructions on how to join, the IAM "how to be a better rider" book, a logbook and a form for booking your test.
Once you have found your local group you ring/text/email them and join as an associate, using the form that the IAM will have sent you. You will be assigned an observer to follow you on arranged rides and impart advice on how to improve your riding; they will mark your ride out of ten in the following categories:
- Vehicle Condition
- Slow Riding
- Moving off
- Forward Observation
- Use of Mirrors and Lifesavers
- Compliance with speed limits
- Awareness of Road Surfaces and weather conditions
- Progress in built up areas
- Maintaining Progress
- Motorways/ Dual Carriageways
- Machine Control
- General Restraint
- Approach to the System
These will be assessed on your advanced test and need to be above a 7/10 across the board to pass your test. A 3 is considered the level for a DSA "L plate" pass, and 10+ being Police standard.
The training involves a series of rides where you will be instructed in skills such as correct road positioning, skilled town riding, the correct use of speed and how to overtake correctly. Once your observer believes that you are up to standard you will be put in for your advanced test; using the form that you received upon purchasing the "skills for life" pack. The advanced test is similar to an observed ride in that you will be followed by an advanced motorcyclist on a variety of roads over an extended ride. During the ride they will judge how safely and effectively you ride. The examiner is normally a police motorcyclist and *always* the best of the best.
If you pass your IAM test you will become a full member of your local group and gain the benefits that all IAM members receive: Cheaper insurance, a safer riding style and the knowledge that you are a better road user than 90% of the people around you. If you wish to give something back to the group you can apply to become an observer yourself, your local group will train you to a level that allows you to teach other associates to become better riders, what could be more rewarding? [s]p[/s]
- Cost- £54 for advanced riding test +£20 Annual fee for joining ROSPA
The Groups Groups have volunteer tutors; they have all passed the advanced test themselves at a high grade and have also been trained and assessed in order to meet the requirements to provide training for the advanced test. They will all be registered tutors with RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders. Some approved tutors may have also undertaken further training in advanced instruction and have become advanced tutors. They also take retests every three years so you can be sure that you will receive a high level of training.
What happens when I join a group? As a new member wishing to receive training you will be assigned to one of the group's tutors. You will both agree a convenient training session, usually weekly or fortnightly, lasting for 1-2 hours.
The sessions are free. You will use your own vehicle for training and the tutors will give you guidance and advice. There is no limit to the number of lessons you are given - the groups are fully aware that everybody learns at a different pace and a training programme will be developed that best suits you.
Training will continue at a steady pace until your tutor feels that you are ready for the test. Once you have passed your test, training and guidance through the local group will continue because we feel that a good rider never stops learning and skills need to be developed to keep up with today's ever changing traffic conditions.
There are three standards of 'pass', gold being seen as the 'best' you can get outside of being a professional instructor or police rider.
This grade is recognised as the highest riding award available to the public. It will be awarded only to the polished systematic rider, who displays a complete understanding and appropriate application of the principles outlined in Motorcycle Roadcraft. The candidate will display a confidence and ability throughout the whole test which leads the examiner to consider that, if afforded the opportunity, the candidate has the potential with the basics already in place to do well on a police advanced course. The candidate's performance must be consistent throughout the whole of the test and so any lapses may result in a lower grade. Awards of this grade will therefore be reserved for the very best riders.
This grade will be awarded to riders who are well above the average. These riders will produce consistently safe and systematic rides but perhaps without the final polish, flair and smoothness of the Gold riders. They will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the system of motorcycle control. Candidates must be able to ride up to the permitted speed limit where it is safe to do so but vary speed according to circumstances and conditions. It must be emphasised that silver is an extremely high grade and a commendable achievement.
This grade will be awarded to riders whose performance is significantly above the standard required to pass the 'L' riding test. These riders will show a basic knowledge of Motorcycle Roadcraft but lack the ability to apply the system consistently throughout the test. The ride should be entirely safe, observing traffic signs, responding correctly to hazards and should display advanced riding techniques.
Candidates who fall below the minimum pass will be classified as 'fail'.
Once you have passed your test, you will be required to maintain your standard of riding by taking a re-test every three years, this is free to Members. When your retest is due we will send you a reminder and booking form. You must take your retest within a reasonable time of the due date in order to keep your Membership.