The following definition of Advanced Riding was agreed between the DVSA, RoADAR (RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders), IAM Roadsmart and the Police in 1997 and still stands:
“Advanced driving or riding is the ability to control the position and speed of the machine safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively with skill and responsibility.
This skill requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of riding competence based on concentration, effective all round observation, anticipation, and planning. This must be co-ordinated with good handling skills.
The machine should be in the right place on the road, at the right time, travelling at the right speed with the correct gear engaged and will be able to stop safely on its own side of the road in the distance that can be seen to be clear.”
Advanced Riding begins with understanding the System of Motorcycle Control as documented in “Motorcycle Roadcraft, the Police Riders’ Handbook”. This System (Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration – often referred to as IPSGA) is the “systematically” part of the above definition. When correctly applied to any road or traffic situation, it will result in the rider and bike always “being in the right place… travelling at the right speed…in the correct gear”, resulting in a safe, smooth and above all ENJOYABLE ride!
Advanced Riding is not about riding fast. Or about “making progress”. Speed is just one element of the System, and “progress” is a by-product of good observation and planning (Information phase of the System) resulting in optimal choice of Position and Speed.
Advanced Riding is not rocket-science. The theory is actually very simple – a System (IPSGA), applied consistently and thoughtfully in full knowledge of the skills, experience and current state-of-mind of the rider. Learning how to become an Advanced Rider requires more than just understanding the theory, though, it requires the understanding and ability to put it into practice. Which is where we come in.
Advanced Riding is not just for old, bearded blokes riding BMWs in high-viz jackets, espousing what you should and shouldn’t do. Despite being an old, bearded bloke who rides a BMW (and sometimes wears high-viz), I won’t tell you what to do! What I will do is explain why you might want to consider doing something differently, and how using the System would support a better outcome, in terms of safety and smoothness. Advanced Riding is about becoming a thinking rider – applying the System well requires you to think about what you’re doing and why. It’s also why we never stop learning – we’ve not encountered all possible road and traffic situations yet!