Was I good or just lucky?
I am an oldy (64 yrs) who has been riding motorcycles since I was 16 years old. Like everyone of my era, the test was simple and I was able to ride anything almost immediately after my test. Many of my friends had accidents as they progressed to bigger bikes without the experience or necessary skills. For me, I was lucky. My examiner was also a RAC/ACU instructor. This was a joint venture in those days that gave additional motorcycle training. I undertook their training; did very well and became an instructor for a short time before the scheme closed. That modest initiative gave me a few extra skills that kept me safe as rode and progressed through a whole range of motorcycles throughout my life without the injuries I might have had. I have always ridden and I just love it. However, for most of that riding experience I have ridden average performance bikes. Two years ago, I traded my sedate Honda for a powerful BMW. It was at this time I began to think more seriously about my abilities and limitations. Was I good or just lucky
I really didn’t think I would benefit from BikeSafe
My wife was riding as a pillion and so I began to investigate advanced training. I did not know about BikeSafe at that time. I had some local tuition and took my first RoSPA test in 2017. I got a silver pass. I continued to ride fast BMW bikes and still wanted to be better and safer on the road; so thought about getting yet more advanced training. That came from the Hampshire RoSPA Roadar group and this year I got Gold in a retest. Meantime, I had heard of BikeSafe coming to the Isle of Wight and enrolled on the day’s course. It’s fair to say I did this long before my further advanced training. So, having paid my money I thought I would go anyway. I really didn’t think I would benefit from BikeSafe …. how wrong I was!
Truly expert and inspirational speaker
My course was attended by me and seven other motorcycle enthusiasts. The course was lead by PC Rob Tompkins, an experienced motorcycle officer in Hampshire Road Policing Unit and supported by four other motorcycle colleagues. So, why was I wrong to think this wouldn’t benefit me?
PC Rob Tompkins was a truly expert and inspirational speaker. For those who don’t know, the morning is a presentation/discussion of hazards and hazard awareness particular to bikers. His extensive knowledge and personal style was able engage with mostly seasoned bikers who thought they knew all about motorcycling. The in depth knowledge he imparted into our biking activities was incredibly powerful and useful to being safe. This unique perspective from a Police Officer of many years experience was eye-opening and made me want to be even better. I think I can speak for the other delegates in saying they thought so too. Certainly, those I spoke to did think like me. Our ride-outs in the afternoon were fun, relaxed and again very helpful in identifying weaknesses. I cannot remember a motorcycling day that had such an impact or was so enjoyable. In that one day, this man and his team not only changed attitudes to safe riding but, I believe, hearts and minds. It is rare that a a single intervention has that ability; but I truly believe Rob did this.
Bringing hazardous awareness to a new level
So, what did I get. Remember, I had just got my RoSPA Gold and nearly at the end of training to become a RoSPA Tutor. For me, it was his ability to bring hazardous awareness to a new level. I believe I see all that I need to when riding my bike. Not so. Rob showed video clips and demonstrated potential hazards I would never spot in my riding. More importantly, he showed us all how to spot these same hazards in our riding. I think everyone in that room was impressed and inspired; I certainly hope so.
I would now recommend a BikeSafe to anyone at any level of riding. It has that ability to talk to all levels and inspire and inform. These Police Officers are experienced and full of life-saving knowledge and tips. Moreover, they are bikers and love it. It really shows. At no point, is it talking down or condescending. I don’t think I have to sell it. All workshops seem to be full every year.
Whether you have just got your license or been riding for years, you will benefit from BikeSafe. After that, go on and choose an advanced motorcycling group to join. RoSPA or IAM groups exist all over the country and the tuition is free, delivered by volunteers who themselves have been trained to a high level. You’ll never regret it. Your family, however may regret you not doing it.
Written by Garry Deadman
Attended Hampshire BikeSafe (2019)