We can all become a little rusty with our riding skills, especially after a few years away or even just a Winter with the motorbike coming out of hibernation. Even if we ride all the time it’s easy to pick up bad habits. BikeSafe is an assessment of your riding with your local motorcycle police force, and is a great way for you to find out what you can improve on.
What is BikeSafe?
BikeSafe is a national police run motorcycle initiative, aimed at working with motorcycle riders in a relaxed environment to raise awareness of the importance and value of progressing on to accredited post-test training. BikeSafe workshops involve an observed ride with a police graded motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer. With some local variation, BikeSafe workshops aim to cover: rider attitude, systematic methods, collision causation, cornering, positioning, overtaking, observation, braking, hazard perception and use of gears.
Whilst advanced police riders are some of the safest on the roads, they are not in the business of delivering rider training to the public, hence BikeSafe is not a training scheme in itself. They do, however, through their BikeSafe workshops, provide detailed briefings on hazard awareness and how to make your motorcycling safer, followed up in most forces by an on-road assessed ride. Under the eagle-eye of an experienced BikeSafe assessor, you will receive detailed feedback on the strengths and weaknesses or your riding. They will provide honest feedback in their review, as they believe that provides the greatest benefit to the rider. The crucial next step after having had your BikeSafe assessment is to go on to undertake further training from the range of organisations that provide post-test training throughout the UK. Their workshops will provide you with details of how and where to find this.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than many other road users and continue to represent a high proportion of those either seriously injured or killed on our roads. The majority of incidents involving motorcycles are avoidable and all too often, are simply the result of basic errors made by riders. They will continue to work towards reducing the numbers of motorcycling casualties and BikeSafe makes a real contribution to that.
Every day in the UK there are 60 serious motorcycle related road traffic accidents. 16 involve life-changing injuries, with at least one daily fatality. Key to addressing these statistics is to understand that the most significant contributory factor is rider error with no one else involved. This is why professional police riders from all over the UK are united through BikeSafe to help riders to recognise the benefits of investing in ongoing post-test rider training.
What do I need to take with me?
You’ll need to turn up on your own bike, and will need to have your own insurance, MOT if applicable, riding gear and licence with you on the day – plus making sure your bike is full of fuel and roadworthy.
Other than that, just turn up!
How much does BikeSafe cost?
Regardless of venue and Police Force, BikeSafe workshops are subsidised to a national standard price of £65 per rider.
BikeSafe actually costs £250+ and covers staffing costs, venue hire (in some areas), fuel, vehicle costs, insurance etc. £25 of each booking helps towards local costs. £4 is termed a ‘national levy’ and is utilised to cover key national Police related expenses. £30 +VAT pays our national administration costs – covering the cost of full-time national administrators, plus such things as website design, hosting, booking technology, accountancy etc. The shortfall between the £65 and the actual cost of £250+ per rider is covered in a variety of different ways. For example, some Police Forces ‘absorb’ this cost, whilst others receive financial support from their local Safer Roads Partnerships.
How your day starts
First up (after a coffee) are some theory modules for about an hour with a presentation, videos and light module work – though you have a few to watch online at home before you turn up.
These modules (covering topics like cornering, overtaking, group riding etc) are to get everyone on the same page, and somewhat reframe your approach to riding properly (ie safely).
Once that is done, you’re paired up with your Met Police rider, and have a quick chat about your riding background and if there’s anything in particular you want to get out of the day.
To figure out where you’re going, you have to keep an eye in your mirrors for a combination of hand waves and indicates from your assigned officer – there’s no intercom, so if it’s a complicated few turns in town, they’ll briefly take the lead and you follow.
The day will vary from rider to rider, but for most it is a chance to enjoy some top roads and get a few tips to improve your riding.
After your assessment
Post-ride you’ll get a written review on the 9 categories covered, complete with personalised recommendations for you to go away and work on, and an overall rating scale ranging from A through to D.
This written post-ride review is perfect to refer back to if you’ve picked up any bad habits since first getting your licence, but crucially being able to raise any questions about your riding during the day to be safer on the road is invaluable.
The most common tip for the average rider? Keep on top of your observations. Whether that’s reading the road furniture and adjusting your momentum accordingly, or just riding with your brain switched on. That car on the crest of the hill has its brake lights on, and the road disappears into trees? Slow down! Etc.
The beauty of the day is simply that it’s tailored to you as a rider. If you have a particular area you want to work on, let your ‘tutor’ know and they’ll address it with feedback during your ride, stopping regularly on the route to give you a chance to digest it all.
You may well just come away wanting to learn more – at which point you can consider the other further training options out there.
To find out more about BikeSafe and to book please visit https://bikesafe.co.uk/