by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Motorcycle safety training takes many different forms and it's a continuous process that lasts a lifetime.
If you ever start thinking that you know it all -- watch out!
You're probably in for a big shock.
The process for training new motorcycle riders in the UK is very different than it is here in the U.S.A.
One type of training that is rarely used in the States is the approach developed by the Police Advanced Motorcycle Instructors in the UK.
Trainees are taught to "talk through" their ride, narrating everything that they see as they ride and talking through the process as it unfolds.
I first became aware of this system in the book "Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook (review)", a book used for training motorcycle police in the UK.
Riding with an instructor following while you're narrating what you're doing forces the rider to observe what is happening, because, as the book says "if you do not know something is there, you cannot react to it."
This is an extremely important point, because many motorcycle accidents are caused by the rider traveling faster than he or she can react to what's ahead.
"Don't override your eyes" is one of the best pieces of advice for any rider.
Actually, the practice of narrating the ride is also used by police automobile pursuit drivers.
It's a good practice, and I've been fortunate enough to witness how it works in real life, during a visit to the UK.
If you'd like to see it for yourself, you can take the Advanced Motorcycle Training course from Nigel Bowers, an Advanced Skills Instructor based in Staffordshire.
And no, you don't have to be a resident to take the course - anyone is welcome, including us right-hand-side Yanks!
But if you can't make the trip, you can order one of Nigel's DVD's.
Every rider assessment is filmed, and it's used to point out corrections to the trainee. Nigel sent a couple of DVD's over and I must say, they are a thrill to watch -- and I actually learned a thing or two!
The voice-over narration points out threats, approaches, strategies and tips. It it once more drove home the importance of lane positioning for setting up the best sight lines to ensure the maximum awareness possible.
Many riders do not understand or use proper lane positioning to see around the bends, and the DVD illustrates how important this is.
Advanced Motorcycle Training is an independent Advanced Rider Assessment and Training Consultancy.
They offer a one-on-one rider skills assessment from a Police Advanced Motorcycle Instructor, and the courses are tailored to meet individual requirements.
If you've never seen a U.K.-trained Police Advanced Motorcycle Instructor ride a motorcycle in pursuit, all I can say is you definitely do NOT want to have one of these blokes chasing you! They are expert high-speed -- really high speed -- motorcycle riders.
The trainees are also provided with feedback and a written assessment after every session.
The addition of on-board video, using either a helmet or bike mounted camera has added an extra dimension to the assessment sessions, providing the rider with a recording of their good or bad riding habits.
The recorded footage is put onto DVD or VHS for the rider to keep.
Nigel says that "one of the best ways to view the footage is to discuss the ride over dinner or tea.
On a one day course I copy the footage onto 2 DVDís, the morning session and the afternoon session.
About 4 hours in total. On a 10 session course you have a DVD after every session. The DVD can be posted to you before your next session."
Here are some comments from motorcyclists who have taken the training:
"Firstly let me just say that I cannot thank you enough for the course. It has enabled me to ride my bike in a controlled safe manner, which in turn means I used it more than I ever planned too. The confidence skills and knowledge which has come through on this course is plain to see in the DVDís."
"I know that in the short time I come a long way and I hope to keep up and build upon this foundation I feel I know have. When I set out on this journey with you it was with the aim of build a foundation that I could build upon and I feel that not only has that been achieve but surpassed." (Andrew Gralton, 10 Session Course)
"Hi Nigel, the DVD arrived yesterday, seems strange to see yourself riding along, your assessment was spot on. I went for a run last night and put into practice your suggestions, I found the ride a lot more comfortable, less strained, smoother and quicker, but most off all a lot more enjoyable." (Alan Thomas One Hour Assessment Session)
Although the DVD that Nigel sells is not intended as an instructional aid, it does provide an insight into the courses that Advanced Motorcycle Training offers.
For more information, contact Nigel Bowers, Advanced Skills Instructor at Advanced Motorcycle Training.com. Nigel also has motorcycles available for rent for the course.
Want to see what it looks like? Here's a YouTube video showing Nigel at work:
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