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Call for motorcycle road craft courses

Motorcycles Gold Coast Canungra learners training road craft

Australian riders are desperately short of road craft advanced riding courses after the closure of a subsidised course on the Gold Coast five years ago.

Rider Tod Parkes asked us if there were any road craft courses available to teach advanced survival skills to licensed riders in the real world of riding.

We did some research and found a few, such as HART, Motorcycle Riding School and Top Rider, but there are not near as many as there are licensing courses for learners.

SMART road craft course

One of the best dedicated motorcycle road craft courses held on public roads was the Safe Motorcycle Advanced Rider Training course.

It was established and subsidised by the Gold Coast City Council in 2007 and endorsed by Mick Doohan.

Funding was cancelled in 2012 because councillors believed it was subsidising riders who were not ratepayers.

It was a very shortsighted decision considering the course was held in the Gold Coast hinterland where riders from all over Australia were coming to ride and spend their dollar.

Motorcycles Gold Coast Canungra learners training road craft
Riders spend their dollar on the coast hinterland

Any crashes in the area actually became a burden on the Gold Coast local emergency services and health infrastructure.

Gold Coast police traffic branch officer in charge Snr Sgt Bradyn Murphy has said the course contributed to reducing the region’s motorcycle rider toll from 25 in 2007 to four in 2012.

It has since increased into the double digits again.

“If it’s a matter of money for council, I’m sure people wouldn’t mind paying at least $100 when you consider what other courses cost,” he said.

“What price do you put on your life? It’s like an insurance policy.”

Councillor Dawn Crichlow, who chaired the relevant committee when SMART was operating, had hoped to reinstate the award-winning training course.

However, it now seems a dead issue.

“There are no plans to reinstate the rider training courses,” she now says.

“We are working with Police and Transport and Main Roads as part of our joint road safety taskforce, around motorcycle driver behaviours and education – we are promoting a number of private providers of motorcycle safety education.”

One of their initiatives is this safety brochure as part of their 2015-2020 road safety plan.

Road craft ride training courses

Tod says that since SMART closed, he has been searching for a similar course that “doesn’t just focus on track skills as the end point”.

Track-only courses

“It is really frustrating trying to find a course to do when I have already done an intermediate with Stay Upright and all the alternatives are based on the presumption I want to go faster at the track,” he says.

“I want to improve my road craft, to improve my feet-up turning, to iron out those bad habits, etc.

“There seems to be a huge gap in the market that doesn’t satisfy this.”

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training road craft
Learners get road craft lesson

All learner motorcycle courses include a section on road craft, but most advanced rider courses are track oriented or mainly held in off-road areas such as carparks.

Tod suggests riders be able to do a modified version of the police motorcycle training courses, but they are also based in off-road areas.

Apart from the courses mentioned at the start of this article, rider trainer James Canny, of Melbourne, says he offers one-on-one road craft training on the road.

Perhaps the reason for the scarcity of road-based road craft courses for advanced riders is that riders are not interested.

We have to do a course to get a licence so there are a plenty of learner trainers available.

However, advanced riding courses are not mandatory and perhaps many licensed riders believe they already have enough road craft skills.

  • Have you done a road-based road craft advanced course for licensed riders? We’d like to hear about your experiences and recommendations. 

  1. My daughter has only recently got her motorcycle licence after completing the required Q-ride training and assessment at ‘Cycleright’, who I can highly recommend for their very thorough 1 on 1 training. Both my children have completed their licence there and roadcraft is taught as an integral part of their courses.
    Since getting their licences I have continued their training by following and using my 45 years of riding experience and being in communication via bluetooth talking them through the processes of riding highways and mountain roads safely and correctly.
    We are always learning and never too old to improve our skills.

  2. I was a returning rider and I have done 2 advanced riding courses since. Each was a little different in scope and one of them involved road craft. Totally recommend it, should be compulsory. My only accident to date was caused by another rider coming in the opposite direction that crossed onto my side of the road. He certainly could have benefited from such a course.

  3. We offer the type of courses you are discussing here. As a former Motorcycle paramedic i have developed courses which focus on road skills and road craft. Definitely not race track. We have trained people in NSW, ACT, and paramedics in Victoria. Be happy to discuss this as a Qld option.

    1. Might be worth putting this and your details on the mbw Facebook page where this article is linked there are 23 comments or so so your input would be great… Road craft, gym kana type skills not for sport but general daily use etc all needed skills

  4. ‘Radskills’ in Adelaide offer advanced on-road training for both skills and road-craft. They come highly recommend from those who have done their courses.

  5. A few years ago I was riding through a rainforest in New Zealand, when I suddenly smelt the unmistakable pungent smell of diesel. I immediately slowed way down and sure enough just around the next corner was a tanker on its side, and one car already on its side too.

    This morning in New Zealand, a woman has been killed in an accident on a road where there was a 35 km diesel spill. Maybe she did not smell it in the car. Either way, this is a good example of road craft that is difficult to teach. Learning how to corner and stop is vitally important, but its not everything.

  6. Alston Rider Training offers 1 on 1 Road craft training with live instruction and feedback via Sena bluetooth intercom. Based in Sydney North shore area our NSW licensed instructors offer city, suburban, motorway and country highway routes for all types of skill developement.
    Check out

  7. I live in the Tweed Shire, northern NSW, and our Tweed Council cares enough to offer riders an advanced training course, and even supplies lunch. They know the value of riders frequenting our below Gold Coast roads and stopping to buy food and trinkets to remember the day. We have some great scenery and good riding roads and our council is shown to be proactive in road safety. It’s the first time Tweed Shire Council has offered this and I think it’s a terrific idea, and hope it is a success and encourages them to continue with the program.

  8. I would attend such courses but cost has to be a factor here. Many courses are so expensive that they deter participants that would otherwise attend.

  9. I’ve just come across your site after looking to see whether anyone ran advanced motorcycling roadcraft type courses. I originally come from the UK and both the IAM and ROSPA run courses that cater for this kind of thing and often include police motorcyclists as instructors.

    I find it quite amazing that roadcraft is seen as something at the basic levels for people to ‘survive’ but after that being quick, efficient and safe on a bike is something that is only taught on a track. Lines as well as the environment are totally different on the track, and it leads to an awful lot of riders changing their mentality negatively at times on the road from what I have seen

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