Motorcycle safety training takes many different forms and is
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 U.K.
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 U.K.
Trainees are taught to "talk through" their ride, narrating
everything that they see as they ride and talking through the process as it
I first became aware of this system in the book "Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook" (see the wBW review), used by U.K.
motorcycle police for training.
The narration 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
U.K. 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
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.
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 DVD’s, 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 DVD’s."
"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.