Author Topic: Bikesafe  (Read 660 times)

Itsme

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Bikesafe
« on: April 03, 2024, 07:43:12 AM »
Hi all.

Anyone out there in Thumperland ever done a Bikesafe course? I was out over the weekend on my bike as usual, but Derbyshire police were doing an education push aimed at motorcyclists and I was asked if I'd like to do a one day Bikesafe course. As my children are convinced that now I'm nearer 70 than 30 I should give up bikes and as I am aware that over the last 50 years of riding I have probably picked up a lot of bad habits I said yes and will be attending on 14th April. Give the kids some reassurance and give me a skill check. I'm not sure I've done the right thing.

Don't get me wrong, I have utmost respect for police riders and know I'm not a speed merchant so the course will no doubt be useful, but the way it's designed is very information overload in my opinion. For a start I bought a copy of Roadcraft which you probably know is the police riding manual, it's half an inch thick and written in tiny writing. Next there are 9 pre-course video modules to be completed, each one with questions to be answered. Whenever something like hazards are discussed on the videos they are accompanied by a write up which attempts to detail absolutely everything about that topic. Having a list of between 15 and 20 things to remember many times over is beyond most people and certainly me.

I've seen this type of learning before when working as a clinical support worker. I had to attend compulsory annual updates for several areas of practice and one year had a new trainer deliver our epilepsy training update, She had clearly just qualified as she used so many terms that had just become common and gave so much detail that I spent 3 days after the course trying to persuade new staff not to leave as they really would be able to learn and cope with the seizure activity of the patients in our care even if they didn't know what postictal meant. We used to just say recovery and that worked well enough!

I'm sure that police riders flying to incidents at speeds I will never reach have to be top notch and I am equally sure I will sharpen up a bit as a result of the course, but at the moment I feel like all the joy has been sucked out of motorcycling because I am supposed to be constantly analysing 700 different things when I am riding down a road.

Ian

xbally

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2024, 10:11:55 AM »
Hmmmmmmmmmm.
Yes I get where you are coming from.
Years ago when I was 40 (now 66) I had a friend who was one of the first motorcycle paramedics and he was even featured on a TV series.
He was a member of Birmingham Advanced Motorcyclists which was run by the bike traffic cops at Aston Police Station.
I was very keen and had an assessment by him and attended several meetings. These were very relaxed and extremely helpful.
Unfortunately despite avidly reading all the literature which I seem to recall included the Roadcraft manual or its equivalent my mate who was to be my instructor got involved in a divorce and left the local area so I never continued with it although I keenly followed any rider improvement  articles that I saw in the media especially in MCN or Ride magazine.
I was at one point thinking of training as a Bloodbiker but understand you need the advanced rider certificate. By this time I too considered I was perhaps a bit too long in the tooth to learn all these new tricks. I think I could cope with the practical side but like Ian in my work I  found it increasingly difficult to retain information passed on via IT and younger folk who may not yet have the life experience to appreciate how your ability to retain an awful lot of information slows with age.
However I would say give the practical a go as it can only help to keep you safer and more knowledgeable on the road.
HONDA CB250RSA HONDA ST70

iansoady

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2024, 11:06:43 AM »
I think that one of the reasons the IAM and Bikesafe are sometimes criticised is their apparent rigidity in sticking to the "system". My dad was a senior police officer and as his crew all had to have Class 1 police licences as they hurtled about County Durham in souped up Triumph 2.5pis he decided he should also pass the test. He used to come home shaking after various training sessions which had him overtaking round blind bends and all sirts of what the normal person would consider lunacy - all protected only by flashing blue lights and 2-tones! I have his certificate on my wall.

He taught me to ride and drive and I passed the IAM bike test in Brum in the 1990s, out of the Aston police station Martin mentions. The only adverse comment made was "You could have passed that car on the roundabout entry" - ie make progress at all costs. An approach which I don't think is useful for the normal rider.

The system and Motorcycle Roadcraft were still being used as the basis for all training at that time and by the sound of it still is. I think as well one of the problems is that police officers are rarely trained educators so often don't have the skills needed to pass on the necessary.

In my view, what os far more imprtant than either technical bike handling skills or even the various acronyms used by some training organisations (which I can't even remember) is having the right attitude - something which often seems lacking in many drivers and riders.

There are trainers who are much better in my experience. I did an assessment with a chap called Kevin who runs a company called Survival Skills - https://www.survivalskills.co.uk/about_us.html - and found his approach very helpful.

Sorry the above is a bit random - still suffering post viral fatifue I think.....
Ian.
1964 Norton Electra
1969 BSA-Suzuki
1992 Yamaha SRV250

Itsme

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2024, 06:18:40 AM »
Hi

I agree with you both and will certainly be giving the course a go on April 14th as anything I can learn which will add to my safety has got to be worth the effort. The point about attitude is very relevant and there is a whole module in the Bikesafe pre-course learning about having the right attitude when going for a ride.

I do get why the material is so comprehensive as they are trying to pass on years of accumulated knowledge I just wish I'd done the course 30 years ago.

Ian

Steve Lake

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2024, 10:26:50 PM »
yes! and it was great! lot of fun with some great biking cops, and a great bunch of attendees. only thing is, everyone attending was over 40 with quite a few bike miles behind them, so in a way they were preaching to the converted.

not sure how the courses run now, when i did mine it was 4 2 hour evening sessions in the classroom (weekdays) and 2 on the road days sat/sun, about 150 miles each day.

#1 Son has signed up for a course which is starting next month, so i'll find out how they are run now.

Itsme

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2024, 06:54:30 AM »
Hi Steve

The course I am doing with Derbyshire Police is 3 to 4 hours of pre-course elearning and then 9 - 4 on one day with classroom in the morning followed by a 45 minute observed ride with feedback and then a ride led by an instructor.

I am pleased I'm doing it as like you say the police riders who were offering the courses at a local bike cafe were really good people and liked a laugh, more importantly they all had their own bikes for when they weren't on work machines.

Ian 

Itsme

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2024, 08:05:15 AM »
Hi all.

I went and did my Bikesafe course yesterday and I have to say that although it was a big shock to find out how far from the police way of riding a bike I am it was well worth doing and all of the motorcycle officers who do the instructing were great. I'm not sure that everything they taught me will stay with me, for example they stay in a very low gear all of the time and take every opportunity to overtake or filter whereas I'm a top gear and be happy to go with the flow type of rider. When they ride a BMW 1250 RT which can reach 90mph in first staying in second as a responsive gear is great, not so good on a 250 Inazuma. However the overall learning I did about road positioning and observation was well worth the reminder.

I was amazed when doing the observed ride where I got to follow and lead a police rider at just how good these blokes are and felt rather important following my instructor as of course they get a lot of good behaviour from other road users that we mere mortals don't get.

Worth the money, lovely instructors, but be prepared to be knackered at the end of the day as riding the way they do is 100% more tiring than bimbling along when out for a bacon buttie!

Ian

iansoady

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2024, 09:34:46 AM »
I'm glad you got a lot out of it. I think the "press on regardless" attitude that the bike cops have - and which has filtered through to the IAM at least - isn't always helpful to us normal riders. Similarly, keeping in a low gear is probably essential if you're to seize every overtaking opportunity but not so much if you want a more relaxing ride. Like you I tend to use higher gears - possibly too much with more modern machines. The Norton will pull from about 20 mph in top with careful use of the manual advance / retard. I don't expect the DR400 engined BSA will like it so much. Speaking of which, slow progress with that and the SRV250 although the latter is nearly ready to take for its MoT.
Ian.
1964 Norton Electra
1969 BSA-Suzuki
1992 Yamaha SRV250

Moto63

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2024, 09:58:40 AM »
Glad you enjoyed the course Ian. The bit about staying in the lower gears is all well and good if you’re NOT paying for the fuel that goes into refilling your petrol tank.
Cheers, Michael

xbally

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2024, 10:51:49 AM »
Yes well done-echo all the comments above. No wonder the Norton Commando based Interpols wore out so quickly -if you believe the contemporary  press reports.
I get that you have to be the right gear for the road conditions to be able to respond very quickly if something happens but there is a vast difference to riding on the road as an everyday rider compared to the extremely challenging situations the police riders have to deal with. It's really chalk and cheese but I have total respect for both the police and IAM points of view. I think you have to take on board everything they have to say and use their wisdom but based on your own riding style if that makes sense?
HONDA CB250RSA HONDA ST70

kevberlin

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2024, 11:16:36 AM »
I used to be in the Police, and in my younger days, did a standard police bike course. It taught me so much and I still apply what I learnt some 40 years ago.
The top level Police motor cyclists are brilliant. Their skill set is beyond belief. I’ve always admired them greatly, although I remember thinking they were all slightly bonkers.
1983 Honda CB250RS
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Itsme

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2024, 05:35:59 AM »
I agree with all of your comments chaps. the day was certainly an eye-opener for me. I think I have concluded that whilst I don't want to completely change the way I ride, especially as I enjoy riding at a more relaxed pace, I have learned and will practice some valuable skills for riding on today's roads with today's traffic.

My admiration for the skills of police motorcyclists and car drivers has shot up, I always knew they were good, but now having followed one for a couple of hours I realise just how good they are.

Ian

Steve Lake

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2024, 09:19:28 AM »
Hi Ian, #1 Son has just completed his bikesafe week, loved it, was a similar format to yours, 4 2 hour sessions online, 1 3 hour classroom, then 4 hours rideout on the saturday. think he had the same instructors as i did ... a great bunch of lads.
he reckoned he had a hard time sticking with the instructor on the rideout ! considering #1 sons non thumper is a Thunderace i find that hard to believe :-).

Itsme

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Re: Bikesafe
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2024, 06:49:48 AM »
Great news Steve, I'm glad #1 son enjoyed his Bikesafe course. I'm not a fast rider and Newzuki is a 250, but I have never ridden so consistently hard as when I was following my instructor! Those boys can certainly 'make progress' as they say. I'm still trying to put into practice what I learned, but can honestly say that now it has been a few weeks since I did my course I know there has been an improvement in my riding. Be interesting to see if your son finds the same.

Ian