Carlisle & West Cumbria Advanced Motorists

About us

Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists have been providing advanced driver and rider training for over thirty years.

Our aim is to improve road safety and we have prepared many local drivers and riders to advanced test standard; we pride ourselves on our extremely high Pass rate (currently 96%).

We are an affiliated Group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and our operational area, shown on the Map, extends from Langholm in the North to Millom in the South.

A map of the area we cover

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Meet the team

George Cairns

George Cairns

We are passionate about Road Safety and we love to teach: do you love to learn?

Why I became an Advanced Driver and Rider: From an early age I was smitten with cars and bikes and couldn’t wait to be a ‘road user’. I taught myself to ride a motorcycle and to drive, whilst working in a car scrap yard. My ‘training’ was unorthodox so I now spend my time teaching others in a very structured way, to make the learning experience as much fun as possible.

IAM RoadSmart National Observer - Car and Bike, IAM RoadSmart Appointed Local Observer Assessor - Car and Bike, IAM RoadSmart Master Driver (Distinction Award), IAM RoadSmart Master Rider (Distinction Award), IAM RoadSmart Approved Driving Instructor, DVSA ADI, RoSPA Gold Awards- Car and Bike, Diamond Master Driver.

Neil Stanton

Neil Stanton

Riding now at an advanced standard is second nature to me; It could be for you, too.

I started riding at 16 on a Lambretta motor scooter when they were all the rage! You guessed it - Mods and Rockers!

I passed my IAM Advanced test in 2004 in Northamptonshire after I was knocked off my bike by a car. Although I was lucky and did not suffer any serious injury, this event made me want to do something to make me safer on the roads. Completing the advanced course was the best thing I have ever done for my riding. Not only did it make me more observant, but also a smoother rider and therefore quicker and above all safer. Riding now at an advanced standard is second nature to me; I do it automatically.

Over the years I have ridden several different types of bikes but generally I prefer tourers. My current bike is a BMW K1300GT, which I find is ideal for observing, but is also brilliant for touring the fantastic roads that we have here in Cumbria, and of course in Scotland.

IAM RoadSmart National Observer - Bike, IAM RoadSmart Appointed Local Observer Assessor - Bike.

Maureen Robinson

Maureen Robinson

Why wait until tomorrow to acquire contemporary driving skills?

For many years, I had mainly driven in Cumbria and the Borders, but then I decided I wanted to visit family and friends by car in and around London. I realised that I needed more confidence to drive on unfamiliar roads and in heavy traffic, so I joined the IAM. Right from the start of the Skill for Life course, I was shown how to update and improve my driving skills to drive assuredly and reliably in all traffic situations and the course was not only hugely helpful, but great fun.

I now thoroughly enjoy my driving in all levels of traffic, but particularly delight in training others to do the same. Why not get in touch and try it for yourself?

IAM RoadSmart National Observer - Car, IAM RoadSmart Appointed Local Observer Assessor - Car, RoSPA Gold Award – Car.

Paul Hayhoe

Paul Hayhoe

Safety is no accident.

As I passed my driving test many years ago, I thought it was about time I was re-assessed as we all pick up bad habits over the years, some of which are probably not publishable! I have advocated for years that it is quite wrong that someone can pass a basic driving test at 17 years old and that is, potentially, the only time their competence is assessed. How many people would get on a commercial airliner if the same rule applied to the flight crew? Not many, I would have thought.

Therefore, as I believe everyone’s driving skills should be re-assessed incrementally, I thought I had better take my own medicine - and I am very glad I did too! Although a little daunting at first, the fantastic mentoring and support I received gave me the confidence to successfully achieve the ‘Skill for Life’ advanced driving award. However, taking the course is more than just about driving; it has opened my eyes to the fact that not one of us is a perfect driver, any more than we are perfect in any other aspect of our lives.

IAM RoadSmart Qualified Advanced Driver.

Nigel MacDonald

Nigel MacDonald

Motorcycling is my passion, why not make it yours?

I have been motorcycling since 17; had a number of 'offies' in the early years when my hazard perception was poor. In 1992, I joined the IAM Glasgow North Group and passed my test on the same day as 6 other Associates after a 6-hour marathon ride around the Highlands. That was one of the best riding days of my life. On moving to Boston, Lincolnshire, I started a motorcycle section in the local IAM car group there, then later moved back North and joined the Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists Group.

I motorcycle all year round in this country and abroad and make motorcycling my passion and my business as I have a motorcycle tour company.

IAM RoadSmart National Observer - Bike.

Glynis Peacock

Glynis Peacock

Safety is not automatic, think about it.

My eldest son was approaching 17 and desperate to start learning to drive. It’s a frightening thought but you want them to be as safe as possible. My answer was to join the IAM and learn as much as I could to pass on to them. I just wish that I had taken the training much earlier, when they were very young travelling in car seats.

IAM RoadSmart National Observer - Car.

Andy Houghton

Andy Houghton

Accidents Hurt - Safety doesn't - Ride Safely.

I joined the IAM after doing Police BikeSafe in 2009. The basic riding skill learned on the day were beneficial to me as I had just passed my bike test in 2008. IAM were there at the presentation and offered another way for me to progress as a safer more confident rider. I took the skills for life course and passed. Today I am Local Observer with CWCAM and as a volunteer, I give my time and pass on skills and techniques to riders who want to be the best they can.

IAM RoadSmart Local Observer – Bike.

Martin Hirst

Martin Hirst

Road Safety comes in CANS! I can, YOU can and together WE can.

I have been biking since the age of 17. I had the usual break for children and when I got back into the bikes I decided to do a Bikesafe course. I enjoyed the course very much, but it also showed me there was a lot more I could learn with regards to being a safer rider. With this in mind, I signed up to a Skill for Life course and passed my advanced test. Some time after the test I was approached to become a Local Observer; now qualified as such, I train others in Skill for Life with our local Group: Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists. I find with the bikes you are always learning as no two rides are the same.

IAM RoadSmart Local Observer – Bike. IAM RoadSmart Master Rider.

John Thompson

John Thompson

Be observant. Be safe.

I joined the IAM to make my family and myself safer and to improve my confidence on our ever busier roads.

IAM RoadSmart National Observer – Car.

Reverend Ken Wright

Ken Wright

You are never too old to learn.

I’ve been riding and driving since 1954, and am still learning. I’ve been a ‘Gold Star’ (Advanced riding) instructor with Star Riders, and have enjoyed my motorcycling in many countries over the years, but in 2002 I had some replumbing done that left me so weak I could only ride a scooter, and that hurt being a retreaded Rocker. I found it almost impossible to ride well so decided to take the ‘Skill for Life’ course as I wondered if my riding days had come to an end. I learnt a lot, bought a ‘proper’ motorcycle as I got stronger, and took my car SFL the following year. I enjoy my riding and driving just as much as I ever did, but will stop as soon as I feel I have nothing more to learn.

I’ve been involved in road safety over many years and represent CWCAM on the CRASH (Casualty Reduction & Safer Highways) committee for Cumbria.

IAM RoadSmart Qualified Advanced Driver and Rider.

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert

Improving your driving/riding skills will benefit you and those around you.

I served thirty-one years with Cumbria Constabulary, the last twelve as a Traffic Sergeant. During this time I drove both patrol cars and Police motorcycles and was involved in Bikesafe both locally and as the North West Regional Chairman. I was involved in many road safety initiatives but unfortunately I saw first hand on many occasions the devastation caused to families by fatal collisions involving both cars and bikes. Experience shows that any training done to improve your driving or riding can only benefit you as a road user and also have an effect on other road users. Skill for Life Training is the perfect course that will help you to achieve this improvement and make a difference.

Technical Advisor to the CWCAM Committee and an IAM RoadSmart Examiner.

Alan Bragg

Alan Bragg

Safety is NO accident!

Until a recent move to the east coast I was the Technical Advisor to the CWCAM Committee. However, despite this relocation, I retain a keen interest in CWCAM and attend committee meetings as and when I can. I spent 30 years with Cumbria Constabulary, latterly on traffic driving both patrol cars and Police motorcycles. On retiring from the Police, I trained as an IAM Motorcycle Observe; shortly after that I was approached by IAM with a view to becoming an Examiner; a role I have now held for 10 years. All drivers and riders have a ‘duty of care’ to themselves; their passengers and other road users. Skill for Life training will improve your confidence and competence as a caring road user.

Technical Advisor to the CWCAM Committee and an IAM RoadSmart Examiner.


“I would recommend every rider to do this course. I have been inspired by what I have achieved…”

— Paul Scott-Richardson

“We had no problems in arranging training rides, which were always enjoyable and informative.”

— Chris Simpson

“Was it of benefit? – On two very definite occasions I have avoided serious accidents.”

— Jim Mitchell

Read the complete testimonials here