20 years delivering BikeSafe workshops!
Today (Friday 8th April), Cambridgeshire BikeSafe Coordinator, PC Simon Burgin retires from the police force, after 20 years delivering BikeSafe workshops!
In awe of what I learned on my police motorcycle course
Dear Motorcycle Community – you made it all worthwhile. Thank you.
I began with ‘BikeSafe 2000’ as it was called in the leafy backdrop of Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 2002. As a newly qualified Police Motorcyclist I was in awe of what I learned on my police motorcycle course and motivated to give something of this knowledge back to the community that would be so central to my police working life for the next 20 years.
In those early days, we would deliver classroom sessions at Duxford Imperial War Museum (Officers Mess) on three consecutive Tuesday evenings from April to September, with weekend ride-outs on our BikeSafe route, through the borders of Essex and Hertfordshire. Not only did BikeSafe attendees have to listen to me for three evenings, but they also finished their workshop with an enjoyable three-counties tour – all for £30, including a goody bag.
Always in the humorous and engaging way that only bike Cops can do
Fast forward to 2007 and BikeSafe was to take a very different direction. A national BikeSafe syllabus was launched. This was based on well researched evidence of collision causation factors and the associated statistics. All Chief Constables were asked to sign up and national systems, with a central booking platform was launched. The cost then moved to around £45, which was still incredible value.
BikeSafe was to become a regular feature at the NEC Motorcycle Live show every November, with BikeSafe Reps from all participating police forces given the chance to communicate their crucial rider safety message, but always in the humorous and engaging way that only bike Cops can do. For me personally, a highlight of this NEC week was being around ‘one’ table with BikeSafe colleagues and friends from all corners of the UK, all talking bikes and enjoying a well-earned beverage.
Locally we also promoted the BikeSafe brand at the MCN Show at Peterborough (previously the BMF Show). I was fortunate to be on the BikeSafe National Steering group, where my expertise as a collision investigator was put to good use in giving a steer on emerging trends and collision causation factors. As a national team we rotated our get-togethers around the country, with meetings held in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland (at the Northwest 200), to name just a few memorable trips.
Boots on the ground, amongst our local motorcycle community
I’m proud to have been featured in MCN, Ride and Bike Magazine – all promoting BikeSafe and sometimes fielding controversial questions. For example, in 2008, Cambridgeshire purchased its first unmarked enforcement camera bikes – two Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades. Why? was the question asked by many.
It was very easy to answer, as in the previous year we had 84 fatal collisions across our county – 25 of those were motorcyclists. We had no effective deterrent, no bikes to engage with bikers on, and limited opportunities to educate – which is where we really needed to be – boots on the ground, amongst our local motorcycle community, engaging with motorcyclists on the subjects of skills progression and rider safety.
This was 100% the right strategy and it worked. Our fatal motorcycle collisions fell dramatically (although still too high) and we now see three or four in a year. Engagement, biker education and BikeSafe have been key to this significant reduction in motorcycle fatalities. Long may our leadership see the value in our police motorcycle teams and recognise their vital contribution to road safety.
Never forget, you always want to be seen, but never ever remembered.
It has been an honour and a pleasure to meet so many motorcyclists over the years and to witness their progression towards being better skilled, safer and more alert to the benefits of investing in further training. Likewise, it has been my significant honour to work within such a special multi-force team of amazing and talented police officers, road safety professionals and all who form our unique BikeSafe community. You know who you are. We all have the same ‘blood’ running through our veins and with it, our common passion for all things ‘powered 2 wheelers’.
As motorcyclists you are truly an amazing group of people who still enjoy the relative freedom of the open road. Do this with care and never forget, you always want to be seen, but never ever remembered.
Be skilled, stay safe and keep it on the black stuff.
PC Simon Burgin
(Retires today – Friday 8th April 2022)