Once you’ve finished your basic training and implemented its lessons, you might be keen to try some more advanced rider training.
Whether it’s for the fun and challenge of it, a potential reduction in your annual insurance premium, or a way to reassure a loved one of your commitment to safety, an Advanced Rider Training course will have something to offer.
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What Is Advanced Motorcycle Training?
The principles these courses attempt to instill can be summarised with the acronym IPSGA – information, position, speed, gear, and acceleration.
The course will encourage you to analyze riding situations in relation to these principles, helping you avoid dangerous situations and make better decisions in emergencies.
This refers to your ability to assess info relating to pedestrians, other road users, road surfaces, weather conditions, and your ability to relate clear information to others about your intentions in traffic. Sounds common sense but taking the time to analyze these things carefully and the drill appropriate responses can help.
This is about being in the optimal position when cornering, allowing you to see further along the road and avoid any potential hazards hidden by the bend. There’s also an emphasis on position within your lane in hazardous situations. It’s all too easy to overreact to a potential accident. This can cause us to steer out of position and potentially cause another dangerous situation.
This one is fairly self-explanatory. This part of the course aims to instill riders with an understanding of how much speed they can realistically achieve whilst still having the power to stop in an emergency. This is typically a lesson learned the hard way. Advanced rider training tries to get riders to think about how much speed each situation can safely allow.
Safer riding can be achieved by using the gearbox to help with braking and optimal acceleration. Too many riders stick within a limited gear range because modern bikes allow it. It’s not optimal to be totally reliant on your brakes to stop. Nor is it safe to be in a slack gear when you need to accelerate out of a dangerous situation. Advanced rider training gets you to think about what gear works best for the conditions you’re in.
Popping wheelies has its place. But if you’re aiming for max safety, using the smooth, mid-range of your bike’s power band is the way to go. Jerky acceleration bounces and rocks your bike around on its suspension, negatively affecting steering. If you regularly ride this way, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself in a situation where you wished you had better control.
Roadcraft is a regularly updated instructional series that represents the best current practices for safe driving/riding. It forms the backbone of most advanced riding/driving training programs offered to Emergency Response Services, Armed Forces, Police, and civilians in the UK.
It is available on Amazon.
While advanced rider training courses offered by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents use Roadcraft as their basis, IAM Roadsmart courses use a book called How to be a Better Rider also available on Amazon.
Both books aim to teach similar principles and are available for purchase independently of any courses.
Even if you’re not interested in taking a course, one of these books might be of interest. They are written and compiled by riding experts with firsthand knowledge and years of experience.
What Are The Benefits Of Advanced Training?
Safety is the main reason people take these courses. Not everyone who rides is so comfortable with the risk that they are happy to coast along, picking up bad habits along the way.
These kinds of training courses offer some direct intervention and instruction to mitigate risk and improve your chances.
Focusing on being in the right gear for acceleration and braking, correct distribution of your weight on the bike, and positioning when cornering helps you get the most out of your bike and riding experience.
Some insurance companies offer a reduction to riders who take an accredited advanced rider training course. The safest bet is to contact your insurance provider to discuss which courses they recognise and what discount on your premium they’re willing to offer before you put any money down on a course.
How Is The Training Done?
RoSPA’s training operates on a 3:1 candidate to trainer ratio and involves motorcycle safety theory, pre-ride inspections, and observed riding with feedback.
IAM’s course also pairs you up with qualified volunteers and other riders from your area for observation and discussion. Once you feel ready, you can take the test to get their accreditation.
Intercom systems help the instructors give feedback and explain their demonstrations. Most courses will use these. Check with the individual course provider.
What to expect: Community-focused meetups with other riders and IMI Qualified Observers with membership of IAM Roadsmart on completion of the test. Less structured than other options but more flexible.
What to expect: This is a four-day course, with each day’s lesson usually costing around 20GBP. It’s organised through local networks so that you can train with other candidates and local, qualified instructors.
Enhanced Rider Scheme
What to expect: The enhanced rider scheme is a little different to the other options. It’s basically an initial assessment of your riding skills via a ride-along with a trainer from a motorcycle school. If they are happy with the safety of your riding, they can issue you a DVSA certificate immediately. Check with your local motorcycle training school for more details.
Cost: 250GBP (approx)
What to expect: The Blue Riband rider award is a one-to-one instruction program designed to improve rider safety in much the same way as the other courses on our list. It’s considered the gold-standard by some. It can be taken as an intensive two-day course or spread out over a longer period as required.
Bikesafe aims to raise awareness of how important it is for riders to continue to develop their skills post-test. It’s a police-run initiative that uses a police-graded rider or approved Bikesafe observer to help you improve your skills, confidence, and safety.
BMW Advanced Training
BMW offer their own 1:1 training at 5 centres in the UK where you can practice and take the CBT and other tests. They offer all levels of training using qualified instructors. If you take on their advanced training course, you have the option to get a RoSPA assessment on completion.