Whether you have never cocked a leg over a motorcycle or are a seasoned biker, Paul would be happy to help you get more from your riding.
He is one of the most highly qualified motorcycle instructors in the UK, being approved by the Driving Standards Agency to teach Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), Direct Access (DAS) and the Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS). He is on the DSA’s Register of Post-Test Motorcycle Trainers (RPMT) and is a member of both the RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR) and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). He is one of very few instructors to hold a RoSPA Diploma in Advanced Riding Instruction, which is widely recognised as the highest qualification available to motorcycle instructors and qualifies him to teach advanced riding to the highest standards, including preparation for both the IAM and RoSPA tests. He is a RoSPA Recognised Advanced Motorcycle Instructor.
So what does all this mean?
Well, it depends on your current level of experience and what you want to achieve, and whether you are new to riding or whether you already hold a motorcycle licence and want to develop your skills.
If you don’t currently hold a motorcycle licence, then the first step is to learn to ride and to take the test to obtain one. This is, sadly, a more complicated process than obtaining your full car driving licence, as we now have stepped licences restricting the type of motorcycle you can ride depending on your age and your experience.
Whilst the routes to your 2-wheeled freedom are being made ever more challenging by successive governments, the basic process remains the same. First you need to become a learner and get your provisional licence entitlement validated, then you need to pass some tests.
First you will need to apply for a provisional motorcycle licence and then complete your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) in order to have the provisional entitlement validated. This will allow you to ride a motorcycle in category A1 (125cc) under L-plates whilst you learn, unsupervised, or to ride a motorcycle in category A2 or A whilst supervised by a qualified instructor (assuming you meet the age restrictions on each category).
If you have a current driving licence, whether full car driving licence or provisional, this may already include the provisional motorcycle category. It is Category A (and the associated sub-categories A1, A2) and will be shown on the paper counterpart (full licence) or be included in the list of categories on the photo-ID card (provisional licences). This entitlement is only valid once you have completed a course of Compulsory Basic Training and have been issued with a DL196 certificate.
The tests required to obtain a full motorcycle licence are the same, regardless of the sub-category of licence (A1, A2 or A).
What you need to do is explained here and the rules behind the various categories are explained here.
If you passed your full car driving licence before 1st February 2001, then you will have full moped entitlement on your licence (category P). You do not need to take your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) – although we would advise you do so you can learn basic machine control! – and you are entitled to carry pillions (though we wouldn’t advise that either without training!). You still can’t use motorways, though, as mopeds are prohibited from using them.
Category P Mopeds are restricted to 50kph (32mph) by law. From January 2013, mopeds fall into category AM and are restricted to 45kph (28mph). Beware of buying a 50cc motorcycle/scooter that has been “de-restricted” as this will mean it is technically no longer a moped and so you could be guilty of riding not in accordance with your licence, as well as without insurance as your moped cover will not be valid!
Provisional moped entitlement can be obtained at 16 years old, but it will be necessary to complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for this entitlement to be valid. Once the CBT has been completed it is valid for 2 years and does not need repeating to move onto a learner motorcycle once you turn 17 (assuming your licence carries category A provisional entitlement).
If you’ve already passed your motorcycle test, either recently or in the dim-and-distant past back when the test involved riding round the block whilst the examiner smoked a cigarette and checked you didn’t fall off (yes, it was once that easy!), then there is still a lot you can do to improve your riding.
We are all no doubt familiar with the old adage that you “only really learn to drive when you’ve passed your test”. Well, that’s true to some extent. We all continually learn as we gain experience and some of that learning is good – making us safer, smoother riders – and some of it is not-so-good – we develop bad habits that put us at increased risk of an accident. Sadly, too few of us think about taking some post-test training to help enhance our skills and iron out our bad habits. Once we’ve passed the test, we consider ourselves fully competent and perhaps only when we have an accident do we consider further training. And I’m guilty of this too. I passed my first advanced riding test, with the IAM, back in 1997 after getting back on a bike after a short lay off. Prior to that, I’d written off a bike through an error of judgement caused by rushing to get somewhere (needless to say, I was much later than I would have been had I not been rushing and had been concentrating on my riding!). After our accident in 2007 (for which I was fully absolved of any blame and the other party prosecuted) I decided there was still much I could learn and so I took and passed the RoSPA advanced riding test, which needs to be re-taken every 3 years. Since then I’ve taken and passed the RoSPA Diploma meaning I can now teach advanced riding and I have to re-take that every 3 years too. All of which demonstrates that I practice what I preach in terms of continual learning through training!
There are essentially 2 levels of post-test training available, both of which can help improve your riding, as well as offering other benefits such as reduced insurance premiums.
First, there’s the DSA’s own Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS). This is aimed at helping riders get more out of their riding and to qualify for insurance discounts by improving (or demonstrating) their riding skills during an assessment ride with a qualified instructor. There is no “test” involved, although the instructor will only issue a “DSA Certificate of Competence” should the rider’s riding be of a good standard.
As I’m registered on the DSA’s Register of Post-Test Motorcycle Trainers (RPMT), I’m qualified to conduct the Enhanced Rider Scheme and would be happy to conduct an initial assessment of your riding to determine your level and any development needs you may have.
Then there are the recognised “advanced” riding standards – most common of which are the IAM and RoSPA Advanced Riding Tests. Both these tests are based upon the teachings in Roadcraft – the Police Rider’s Handbook – which introduces a System of Motorcycle Control that is followed by the advanced rider. This systematic approach to riding is at the heart of advanced riding and enables the advanced rider to make safe, controlled and effective progress. Both the IAM and RoSPA tests assess your ability to apply the System effectively. The RoSPA test is graded as Bronze, Silver or Gold and a RoSPA Gold is widely recognised as the highest standard of riding test available to civilian riders (and would mean the rider would be expected to perform well on a Police Class One advanced motorcycle course).
As I hold a RoSPA Diploma in Advanced Riding Instruction, I am qualified to assess your riding and help you reach your goals, whether that is passing the IAM Advanced Riding Test or obtaining a RoSPA Advanced Riding pass – all the way up to Gold standard!
Through Inner Circle Training, I offer a variety of post-test training options designed to help you become a smoother, safer, more confident rider and as a consequence get much more enjoyment from your riding. See here for more details.