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Advanced Riding Examiner, how is an advanced test conducted?


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Over the past 30 + years, if I had a pound for every time someone told me how much they would like to be an advanced riding examiner, I have no doubt that I would be a very wealthy (well quite wealthy) man by now. Many people believe that examiners get well paid for doing something that they enjoy, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. In fact it is probably fair to say that, without exception, all of us do it because of our love of motorcycling, and it probably costs us money.


So what does being an advanced riding examiner entail?


At the moment, both the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) use only Police class 1 qualified riders. In the coming years this may change as many police forces are terminating their bike sections resulting in fewer riders being trained to the class 1 standard. I know that RoSPA are considering appointing diploma holders as examiners at some time in the future.


All examiners are motorcyclists in their own right, and the majority choose to become examiners quite simply because, having had the benefit of possibly the best training in the world, it is a way of helping other riders to enhance their enjoyment and their riding standards.


Test candidates are always nervous, and to be honest who wouldn’t be? So our first duty on meeting them is to try and put them at their ease and help them to relax. Before the test commences I always give the candidate a briefing of how the test will be conducted and I know that many of my colleagues do the same. I also explain what I am looking for and what they should do if a problem arises. Finally I emphasise the fun factor, after all I want to enjoy myself as well. This is usuallly done over a cup of coffee.


The practical element of the test lasts for about 90 minutes, during which time as many different types of road and traffic situations as possible will be covered. The examiner will follow behind the candidate, varying their road position during the course of the ride to get an overview of how the candidate is performing. For example, the examiner may change position from being fairly close to the rear of the candidate’s machine to dropping some distance behind. The important thing is that the candidates should ride for themselves and ignore the examiner’s presence, which I appreciate is often easier said than done. Some examiners now use radio links, others use the old fashioned proven method of directing by indicators as this confirms what level of rear observation they are doing, something that radios cannoot do.


During the course of the test, we are looking at every aspect of the ride. Does the rider have good observation skills? Do they read the road well? Do they plan well in advance? What is their road positioning like? Are they systemised? Are they smooth? Most importantly are they safe? We look at the overall picture and then make a determination as to what grade we feel they have merited or, in the case of the IAM test, whether they have attained the standard required to be given a pass.


At the conclusion of the practical test, again, usually over a coffee, we will then ask a number of questions on the Highway Code and simple bike maintenance, before starting a debrief on how the candidate performed.


The debrief is the candidate’s opportunity to make any points about the ride which they think are relative or may have a bearing. They may have recognised areas where they did not perform as well as they might have wished, or there may be areas of the ride they wish to qualify as sometimes our position can give us a different perspective, particularly when we are riding 100 yards or more behind.


At the completion of the debrief, we will tell the candidate if they have passed and what grade has been awarded and discuss any last points they may have.


Once the practical element of the test is complete, the test report is written up and forwarded to head office to be typed and sent out to the candidate together with their certificate.


Examiners get paid just enough to cover their travelling expenses, so as you can probably gather, we don’t do it for the money. For me it is about meeting fellow riders, being able to pass on the benefits of my experience, putting something back into motorcycling and hopefully enhancing the individual’s own enjoyment of riding a motorcycle.

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Thanks for in the info, it's an interesting read.


I've been riding for a few months and certainly plan to do some further training at some point, but at the moment every ride brings new experiences, and I feel that getting some more time in the saddle is probably a good idea frst.


Is there any general consensus on how long, or perhaps how many miles, people should take to practise and gain experience in between doing DAS and taking advanced training?

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I've asked the same of a couple of DAS instructors and a couple of advanced instructors and had very different responses. DAS instructors say wait 12-18 months and get some miles under your belt. Advanced (mostly RoSPA) instructors say do it right away before you develop bad habits. It's always a good time to get better right?

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I've asked the same of a couple of DAS instructors and a couple of advanced instructors and had very different responses. DAS instructors say wait 12-18 months and get some miles under your belt. Advanced (mostly RoSPA) instructors say do it right away before you develop bad habits. It's always a good time to get better right?

 

By doing your advanced training soon after your test, you are still in learning mode and therefore receptive to new ideas. On the flip side, many riders have done intensive courses and the first six months is spent developing their confidence, so there are two fairly valid points of view.


At the end of the day, the choice is yours. If you feel confident that you can take on board new ideas (bearing in mind that 99% of what you learn for the L test goes out of the window) then go for it, if not, then give it 6 months as this is still long enough for you to get some experience and build your confidence but still soon enough after test for you to be able to get back into "learning" mode.

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