Why you should hone your riding skills with IAM RoadSmart

Do you consider yourself to be a skilful rider? How about putting those skills to the test – and learning new ones.

IAM Advanced Riding - Close up of two riders riding out together.

On the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider course you will join the 2,500 riders every year who take the opportunity to build on the riding experience they already have, learning better road positioning, enhanced observation skills and bike control. It ensures you get more out of riding, and really prepares you for any on-road scenario. 

Enjoyable and supportive, the course will give you all the skills to make your on-road experiences safer and more fulfilling, plus it will introduce you to a new community of like-minded riders who are just as keen on the open road as you! 

You’ll learn and develop at your own pace, depending on your starting skills and experience, working with an expert observer – also an Advanced Rider – who holds an additional Institute of the Motor Industry qualification.

Meet like-minded people

Of course, while riding technique and safety is a priority for the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider course, there’s also a hugely social side to it. Included in the course fee is membership to a local IAM RoadSmart group. Says Richard, IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driving & Riding Standards: “You’ll be joining more than 20,000 bike member, kindred spirits and your local group will bring you to those living closest to you, enabling you to forge new friendships around your common interest in motorcycling. IAM RoadSmart as a whole will also offer you pathways to share your knowledge and experience via in Observer, Examiner or Mentor roles, or Skills Day instructor roles”

But don’t just take Richard’s word for it…here’s what Paul Oxborough, who recently began his Advanced Rider course, has to say: “It's a fabulous organisation and it’s here to turn you into a better, safer rider or driver and that means the people around you are going to be safe. Some people probably think they don’t need training; they think they're good riders. But over time our skills deteriorate, or our eyesight gets worse and thinking speeds tend to change. 

“Having this level of training just means that you can adapt to how your body is changing. The training will help you to modify your behaviour. So as much as I like to think I'm still 21, I'm not. So, this is a really good way of just reconditioning, rethinking, and reprogramming bad habits.” 

Find out more about the Advanced Rider course, and IAM RoadSmart membership


Safe riding techniques

“The course is suitable for any rider who holds a full licence – even an inexperienced rider will benefit from advanced rider techniques,” says Richard, adding: “Lack of experience might mean your learning curve is steeper, but that will make your sense of achievement even greater. While those who have been riding for a number of years may have fallen into some bad habits or find that the way they were taught to ride and the way they should ride, are two very different things.”

The course takes places over a series of observed rides – generally between 6-12, that will help you to develop your core riding skills. You’ll also learn how to continuously apply the IPSGA framework – Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration – to a variety of on-road situations, including on bends, motorways and during overtakes. Between each session you’ll have time to practice and hone what you’ve learned, plus you’ll be sent a handbook to help you keep track of your progress. 

Stresses Richard: “Advanced riding introduces proven techniques that encourage riders to allow themselves more time to deal with a hazard – Observation, Anticipation and Planning (OAP) underpin everything about making safe riding plans and advanced training makes you hungry for the information that is available,” he says, adding: “OAP allows you to position the machine to your advantage, prioritising Safety, Stability and Vision. An advanced rider has the confidence to ride slowly, even when they have the ability to ride quickly.”

And Richard underlines that IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider and Driver courses help to avoid accidents and potentially saves lives because they teach a better ability to identify problems and slow not only their own vehicle, but also those of other drivers and riders, when approaching a situation that helps ensure an accident doesn’t happen. In fact, 61% of advanced riders surveyed say the course gave them the skills to avoid an incident.

Once you and your observer think you are ready, you’ll be put forward for your Advanced Test with a friendly, approachable examiner. Once completed, you’ll gain ‘Advanced Rider’ status, plus be enrolled as an IAM RoadSmart member.

Find out more about the Advanced Rider course, and IAM RoadSmart membership.