Advanced MotorcyclingFri, 05/06/2015
For 50 years the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the UK’s leading road safety charity, has been providing advice and training to Britain’s motorists. IAM have long been known as the ‘Go-To’ people for anybody who wants to become a better, safer and more confident rider (or driver).
Unlike conventional motoring schools, the IAM is run by an army of volunteers across 200 affiliated ‘Local Groups’ situated around the country. These volunteers give up their time to pass on their skills and knowledge to anyone who is willing to take the time to listen, learn and put this into practice. Local IAM groups hold regular events in their local areas where motoring enthusiasts can come together with like-minded individuals for social events, motorcycle ride outs, discussions, observed rides and more; many of which are free to attend and don’t require booking. Courses are available for riders of all ages, abilities and levels of experience from new riders to grizzled veterans; with carefully structured levels of progression to make sure you always have a target to aim for and continue your development.
How To Sign Up For A IAM Advanced Riding Course
To enroll on an official IAM advanced riding course is quick and easy and relatively inexpensive compared to mainstream motorbike training schools. Course fees include IAM membership, membership to your local group, advanced riding handbook and Advanced Test fee. Tuition is gained through attending regular rides with your appointed IAM observer who will guide you through the process and progression to advanced test standard. Observed rides are essentially free although a donation towards the observer’s fuel may be suggested; often in the region of £5 or the cost of a cup of tea and a bacon butty. If you are unsure contact your local group directly and they will be happy to help.
How Long Does It Take To Become IAM Advanced Riding Standard?
The amount of time required to achieve advanced rider standard varies on many different factors, not least that IAM if run by volunteers and depends entirely on their good will and learners having the time to commit to motorcycle training. Your own riding ability and commitment to practice will have great bearing on time scales; therefore most of the IAMs local groups suggest a time frame of anywhere from 2 months to 9 months from novice/new rider to advanced rider test standard. Riders with some riding experience may achieve this standard sooner but the same variables still exist.
What Kind of IAM Advanced Riding Courses And Assessments Are There?
If you want to check your riding standard and see where you are before embarking on an advance rider training course IAM can help with that as well. Motorbike assessments with IAM are carried out in two forms- the first is ‘RideCheck’- you will ride out for an hour with one of their tutors before returning for a full and thorough debrief with some helpful hints and tips for the best course of progression for you. The other is ‘Skills Days’- Skills Days are a full day consisting of at least 6 on-track sessions of circuit based scenarios which you are guided through by IAM instructors. You will learn about anticipation, corners, planning, smoothness and an understanding of how your vehicle performs in a variety of situations. A half-way house between a rider training course and a track day, with at least twice as much track time and constant instruction all day. ‘RideCheck’ costs £45 while bike Skills Days are between £130-£160 depending on date and location.
IAM courses are open to anyone who already holds a valid motorcycle licence. A list of all the local affiliated groups can be found on the IAM website along with a whole host of useful information about road safety and how to become a better rider.
Alternatives To IAM Advanced Riding Courses
As an alternative to the IAM course, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have devised their own version of advance rider training which enables riders to achieve the same high standards as the IAM scheme over a course of 4 or 5 days, for a premium. The RoSPA courses are aimed primarily at occupational motorcyclists and employers who want to ensure the safety and ability of their employees, although they do also offer courses to members of the public. RoSPA courses are derived from the same sources and required standards as IAM and both test qualifications are held in equal esteem. More details about RoSPA and the training they provide can be found on their website
Advance rider status also often attracts discounts for its holders from many automotive organisations, shops and insurance companies. Advanced driver training isn’t restricted to bike either; both IAM and RoSPA offer course for car, LGV, minibus and trailer drivers too.