At no point was I just treated as a 'just a pillion'
When your partner says I’ve booked us on a BikeSafe day with Warwickshire Police and it starts 8.30am on Sunday, I was a little underwhelmed. Having only ever ridden pillion and with no inclination to personally pass my motorcycle test, I wondered why – was I giving up my Sunday.
My partner and I had travelled two-up around Europe in the Summer and I enjoyed every minute of my chauffeur driven motorcycle trip. Given that experience, I wasn’t really expecting much from our BikeSafe day, other than a good ride around Warwickshire.
What I got was a couple of hours sitting in a room full of men and feeing totally comfortable and accepted. I also found the presenter to be very engaging, with an informative and interesting presentation.
One thing that was shared is that not enough women motorcyclists attend BikeSafe. Some have asked for women only groups, which are often facilitated. Some have asked for a woman observer, but unfortunately there are very few women in the role of advanced police motorcyclist and none currently on the Warwickshire BikeSafe team. In my opinion and having attended, I do not feel that this should prevent women riders from attending BikeSafe. My experience was that – at no point did I feel out of place and nor was I treated as just a pillion.
Keeping yourself and others safe should be every motorcyclists priority
I have always felt safe riding two-up with my partner, but now I have a better understanding of why he rides the way he does. The workshop also helped me to understand why so many motorcyclists could benefit from attending this police-led workshop, which is perfectly structured to help improve both skills and safety.
The feedback was given in a constructive professional way. Much better than the dig in the ribs he gets from me. It is very easy to think it won’t happen to me (or us) and let’s hope it doesn’t, but knowing road positions that give the most visibility has got to be a good thing for all. Keeping yourself and others safe should be every motorcyclists priority.
Sign up for BikeSafe – it’s well worth it.
Attended Warwickshire BikeSafe Police (as a pillion)
When we ride together two-up, it changes the dynamics of the bike
Mandy’s partner Paul shared the following:
From my perspective, after passing my IAM RoadSmart this year, I decided that attending BikeSafe two-up would be beneficial. When we ride together two-up, it changes the dynamics of the bike. For me it’s become natural to adapt to this. However, lots of motorcycle riders, testers, and observers don’t ride two-up, so struggle to understand or to adapt their observations.
There are some big differences to be aware of. It’s often important to brake more with the rear brakes to ensure the bike stays more level. It’s also important to use a higher gear, making the bike less responsive, and making for a smoother ride for the pillion. Plus there is the importance of having to put both feet on the floor when stationary.
From a safe motorcycle perspective, having an extra pair of eyes can often be of benefit, but only as long as they understand the system of motorcycle control. Whilst I have tried explaining this on many occasions, the BikeSafe theory class helped greatly and reminded me that when riding aiming to maintain a high standard of riding, that this level of competence can only achieved if both rider and pillion have an understanding of advanced motorcycle riding skills. It was good that Warwickshire Police allowed Mandy (my pillion) to attend free of charge.
Attended Warwickshire Bikesafe (Sept 2023)