It is a Police led riding assessment scheme that aims to work with training providers to give riders the skills to stay safer on the road. Police riders have a minimum of six weeks intensive training before they are considered to have achieved advanced level. That is a lot of training!
BikeSafe don't set out to 'train' people to ride, but can point out why serious crashes happen. BikeSafe offers assessed rides and full day assessment courses at various locations across the country. It is non-judgmental and non-confrontational. By passing on their skills and experience, police motorcyclists, and other suitably qualified riders, will help identify what could be putting people at risk out on the road.
Many riders return to motorcycling after a lengthy period of absence from riding and sometimes lose sight of the fact that motorcycles have changed greatly in terms of power and performance from those that that they last rode. These riders often get caught out by just how quickly they arrive at hazards.
BikeSafe endeavours to provide an understanding of why and how we should employ effective systems in an effort to deal with hazards in a consistently safe way, leaving little to chance.BikeSafe will help to remove assumption from riding and replace it with anticipation and planning.
BikeSafe can assist the motorcycle community to be aware of the current issues and can positively affect attitudes and behaviour.
The core BikeSafe workshop will take approximately eight hours. This may be completed in one day or over a number of sessions depending upon which area you choose to attend. Some areas include additional modules, for example first aid. The workshops are conducted in a relaxed learning environment. No tests are involved, no membership required and the cost is relatively small.
People should expect to pay £50 for a one day BikeSafe workshop, however in some areas local subsidies apply that reduce that cost even further.
BikeSafe 'Bridging The Gap'
In a drive to develop stronger links with the motorcycle training industry, BikeSafe is working in partnership to build a link that should enable riders who take part in a BikeSafe assessment to get access to post-test training more easily. This is also being supported by the Driving Standards Agency.
BikeSafe currently assesses around 5,500 people each year and the majority of participants in this scheme would benefit from referral to proper training.
A national curriculum is to be launched ready for the 2006 riding season and this will bring cohesion to the schemes already in operation. Anyone participating in a BikeSafe assessment scheme should have a better idea of what to expect, wherever they attend in the country. It is also anticipated that forces which don't currently offer the scheme will come on board.
The new BikeSafe strategy is going to bridge the gap between BikeSafe and the trainers in an ideal partnership that can help reduce motorcycle casualties. It will also provide a scheme that offers one product, delivered in multiple venues and will hopefully grow to meet the increasing demand.
BikeSafe - The Background
The BikeSafe scheme commenced in 1997, with 13 forces participating as part of the year 2000 casualty reduction initiative, which at that time was actually called 'BikeSafe 2000'. However, the scheme has stood the test of time, outliving it's parent initiative and growing so that, by 2006, over 40 Police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland participate with approximately 5500 people attending BikeSafe sessions annually.
The blue and yellow BikeSafe trademark is now recognised almost globally in motorcycling circles with contacts being made from as far afield as Australia and South Africa.
As the scheme matured, it became apparent that co-ordination was required to help manage BikeSafe activity and partnership projects countrywide. Bikesafe now has top level support from within the Police Service with Deputy Chief Constable David Griffin from Humberside Police as the senior officer overseeing BikeSafe. DCC Griffin is a leisure motorcyclist himself and is keen to give other motorcyclists a fair deal, whether in respect of the sometimes necessary evil of enforcement or the education aspect, which is where BikeSafe squarely sits.
The National BikeSafe co-ordination team believes that education is a key factor. They know about bikes but also about the risks involved too. BikeSafe motorcyclists care about road safety and genuinely want to give something back to the motorcycle community.
The BikeSafe strategy which, whilst reinforcing the founding principles of 'BikeSafe, enables working closely with the Driving Standards Agency, the Department for Transport, training providers and the Motorcycle Industry Association. The Department for Transport currently support BikeSafe through their "Think!" campaign and particularly through provision of stands at 'British Super Bikes' events.
Top Tips for Riding
Statistics show that there a number of key factors that can lead to accidents and BikeSafe' understand that many riders use their machines for recreational purposes only, but there are some tips and advice people can follow to help reduce their chance of being involved in an accident.
The following are main factors, supported by statistical evidence, in motorcycle collisions.
- Riders of a mature age, predominantly male
- Dry road conditions
- Weekends, particularly Sunday afternoons
- Larger capacity motorcycles
- Single vehicle responsibility
- Left hand-bends
- Incorrect hazard assessment
- Inappropriate speed for the circumstances
- Group riding
Even though the machine may have been put away in good working order and may still retain a current MOT, a thorough check of the bike is essential and it is important to check
A road-worthiness check by a reputable dealership would be a sensible precaution. If you do under the mileage for a yearly service consider a service at this time of year anyway.
Each day, before you ride your machine on the road consider the following:
- Check that you have sufficient fuel and lubricant levels are within Manufacturers guidelines.
- If your machine is liquid cooled ensure the level is correct.
- Is there any damage that may compromise your safety or that of another road user?
- Check everyday electrical items such as lights, brake warning light, indicators and horn. Satisfy yourself that your tyres are road legal, in good condition and at the correct pressures.
Essential Checks - Tyres and Brakes.
Brake fluid has a life and it is recommended that the fluid is changed on a frequent basis. If you are not mechanically minded this job is best done at a dealership.
Tyre condition is of prime importance. If a machine is not in regular use the tyres deteriorate at an alarming rate. Tread depth is one thing but cracks in the tyre walls will render a tyre useless.
If you have any doubts in this area please seek advice from a main dealer or tyre supplier. As mentioned above a full service at the commencement of the riding season should iron out any problems before they are likely to manifest themselves.
Ensure that you thoroughly check your safety equipment before putting it into use for this riding season.
- Pay particular attention to helmet webbing and scratched visors.
- Scratched visors affect your vision when riding especially at night or in wet weather - they can usually be replaced and this is money well spent.
- Damaged helmets or helmets with worn webbing or straps must be replaced.
- If you have protective motorcycle clothing - wear it even if intended journey is short.
Loading and Accessories
- Use common sense when loading your machine or fitting additional accessories.
- Use only accessories recommended by your machines manufacturer.
- Travel at a much lower speed than normal when loads are carried
- Tyre pressures should be adjusted, as recommend by manufactures, for passenger or load carrying.
Like any other activity to be proficient you need to respect that preparation is essential. The human brain performs tasks most efficiently when they are practiced. Human perceived ability often falls short of actual ability.
- The rider needs to regularly practice machine and road management skills
- He/she should initially consider riding an appropriate route on their own, avoiding group riding is strongly recommended until correctly prepared and organised - phone BikeSafe, IAM or RoSPA for advice
- Don't take on too long a journey too soon - avoid demanding routes or speeds until experience has been regained
- Re-familiarise yourself with the controls and handling of the bike
- Consider attending a BikeSafe workshop/ assessment or similar