Carlisle & West Cumbria Advanced Motorists

Paul

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

Paul Scott-Richardson

"I have been riding bikes for over twenty years and I have ridden most things with two wheels. I regularly participate in track days and I love the thrill and freedom that life on two wheels delivers. I have always considered myself a competent and safe rider, as most riders do that have been riding for any length of time. I decided to do my "skills for life" course to further my riding skills and after talking to colleagues that had completed the course.

I found the experience of contacting IAM an easy one with a seamless process, applying online with great communication, letting me know what happens next. Greig Hanson, who introduced himself as my “observer” and explained what we needed to do for me to progress, contacted me. I am currently completing my Skill For Life course and Greig has made the process so far extremely rewarding. The observers do this in a voluntary roll, which communicates how passionate they feel about what they do, and this shows in their level of skill and knowledge they posses.

It was within the first few lessons that even though I had been riding for many years, I had lots of room for improvement, like many of us out there. Stripping it back, Greig made me think about things that we do automatically and got me to implement them in everything I did. Greig enabled me to consider everything and before long I formed a natural thought process. I am thoroughly enjoying my experience and as my riding improves, so has my level of enjoyment, as I now know I am ridding with more skill and confidence.

I would recommend every rider to do this course. I have been inspired by what I have achieved and I strongly believe that once I have completed my test I will complete my masters qualification and you never know become an instructor myself."

Chris Simpson

Having returned to 2 wheels after a break of about 30 years, I took a variety of 'improvement' courses to try to ensure I was improving my skill levels where possible. After another 8 years or more, I came across the offer of an assessment ride with the Suffolk police, which then lead me into the 'Skill For Life' course.

I found the Observer I was allocated was both approachable and also able to improve my riding without making me feel negative about the process. We had no problems in arranging training rides, which were always enjoyable and informative.

It has certainly left me with a real appreciation of the need for 'proper' road positioning when riding. It was also obvious that this was not a course where I was expected to creep about. I was also shown the location of a range of refreshment stops that I had not known of before!

Of course the day of my test was freezing and wet but I managed to pass and have been left with a skill that has changed my riding ever since.

I am now more aware of the dangers that we all face on the road and I would hope that all of us aspire to improve our levels of skill and safety. I certainly feel that the IAM training has allowed me to do this in a structured and overall enjoyable way. I would recommend the course to anyone who wants to stay safer out there!

Jim Mitchell

Twenty-two years ago I came to CAM-land to start a new job. I had previously wondered about whether my driving was as good as I thought, or as I would like it to be, but then few of us would boast of being a bad driver. Still, it took me another three years and two accidents (fatal) involving people I actually knew – (however vaguely) to finally force myself to avoid excuses and find out.

At that time SFL did not exist, so far as I recall and it was via a chance encounter with an existing member that I 'enrolled' with IAM.

I was allocated my Observer and informed that SHE would contact me (Shades of Horror) surely they really are 'old fuddies' and I resigned myself to some rather slow and tense drives - still I couldn't back straight out….could I?

OK! One new book called ‘Roadcraft’ arrived – so it’s the police traffic division’s 'bible' is it? Well, they can't be that bad at driving, now can they? I mean all that pursuit stuff… mmm! I'd better give it a thorough read – It was interesting, not really that different from driving now – more systematic, better observation, some forward planning and lots of tips on accurately reading real road situations.

Session One and a tad of nerves on the drive to Cockermouth to meet her. She was friendly, optimistic and if at all worried, hid it well. One short Brief later and off we go! An hour and a few probing questions later, guess what? This could actually turn out to be fun! Arrange another session? When? Where? Two diaries, and a bit of juggling for a mutual time slot. Nice.

A few short fun lessons and weeks later (from my viewpoint), probably months of anguish from her’s and it appears I am ready for the Assessment. I sent off the form, arranged with 'the man' to meet at Carlisle three or so weeks later and thought: 'Well here goes, hope I remember everything I have been told especially the DO NOTs’.

Less than two hours later, having driven on back roads, A roads, motorway and bits of Carlisle I never knew existed, I answered some questions on the Highway Code and then had a detailed feedback on my driving. Then ‘the man’ said: ‘I am happy to say you meet the standard required’. Phew! I did not know till then just how much I actually wanted to pass.

Have the skills lasted? Well, I did go back and redo the Assessment and had a much more relaxed drive and conversation with the Examiner; nice to know my driving was still up to scratch – mmm! That reminds me I really should put myself through it again as a birthday treat for surviving forty plus years on the roads. Mind you, the old camper van I drove then has gone – anyone care to lend me a Bentley (1930s)?

Was it of benefit? On two very definite occasions I have avoided serious accidents because of that lady’s teaching and patience - (thanks G) - and more, maybe insidiously, that Systematic thought process has spread to almost all I do. Seldom make a second trip now because I forgot some item at the shop, etc.

Have I passed the skills on? Yep, the bug got me and I became one of the ' old fuddies' that so many of you prospective Associates dread.

Am I that intimidating? Well, you could ask those I observed, but I do know more than one has told me later that they found the System had assisted their lives and not just when they are driving.