Female Rider’s Bad CBT Experience

May 18, 2009

L PlatesBeing a female rider I do hear of occasions where girls seem to get a raw deal when trying to learn to ride, but this one I heard about today just about takes the biscuit as far as I’m concerned!

A 25 year old girl wants to learn to ride, has a bike already and is busting to get out on the road on it, so she rings an instructor and tells him she wants to take her CBT.  She says she wants to do it on his bike (hers isn’t taxed or anything yet) and also advises that she is 5 foot tall.  After reassurance that this wont be a problem she books the CBT.

So she turns up a few days ago, undoubtably a bit excited about learning to ride, and goes through the two and a half hours of indoor classes covering theory, safety and bike controls.

All well and good so far, yes?

So it’s time to go out and actually sit on a bike and start putting all the theory into practice.  She gets on the bike, and the instructor takes one look and says “Sorry – You can’t touch the floor flat with both feet.  Forget it kid. Go home!!!” (She’s 25 years old for goodness sake!!)

He then went on to tell her that she will never ride anything other than a cruiser, but can’t so her CBT on one because of the larger turning circle needed by cruisers.  Also she should sell her bike and give up.  In addition, he repeatedly told her that if she rode the bike she owned she would crash it, and probably die!!!

According to this particular instructor “the law” states she has to be able to touch both feet flat on the floor and if she couldn’t she wouldn’t be able to take a test plus would be laughed off the training ground!  He also told her husband the same thing when he rang up later to find out what had happened.

To top it all off, she paid for a FULL CBT lesson and test and now the instructor is refusing the refund any of the money!!!!!!!!!

I simply cannot believe he has behaved in such a way towards a paying customer and as for saying “the law” says you can’t ride a bike unless both feet are on the floor.. It’s a load of b******s!!!

Both myself and several other girls have advised her to report the instructor and to demand a refund.  I hope she does and many such incidents go unreported and unless the DSA is aware they are unable to do anything to prevent such occurances happening again!

ooooo… it’s enough to make my blood boil!!!!!!!

Please feel free to comment…

Great Start To The New Motorcycle Test

April 30, 2009

Motorcycle L-Plate The new ‘Super Test Centre’ at Rotherham, South Yorkshire, has come under fire this morning after the first candidate crashed his bike and broke his arm!

The DSA’s new centre opened for motorcycle tests on Monday for the new part one of the motorcycle test which must be taken off road due to that fact that some of the manoeuvres have to be done at 31mph.

Concerns are being voiced up and down the country by riding instructors after finding out that the test moves HAVE to be carried out at the same speed and over the same distances, whether it’s a nice sunny day or chucking it down with rain!  Instructors have been told that the surface is fitted with a super sticky compound which makes it safe in all weathers.

John Atkin, spokesman for the DSA, has said of the test centres:

“The areas used for the motorcycle manoeuvres have been tested thoroughly in both wet and dry conditions and provide a safe environment for the candidate. Tests have continued successfully at Rotherham since this happened.

I personally would like to know who is actually testing these centres.  Is it experienced riders who may very well be able to cope with doing these kinds of exercises, or is it novice riders who have recently learned to ride a bike? It would be interesting to find out.

The instructor who trained the man who was injured said the following

“Adam did his swerve manoeuvres and put his brakes on so he could stop in the required distance.
“But the back end of the bike swerved round and threw him off, leaving him with a very nasty break to his arm which needs surgery.
“All the instructors around here agree this is a joke. It’s common sense that you wouldn’t ride the same in the wet. They’ve just thrown common sense out of the window.

On the same day at the same centre, another young man fell from his bike, and was uninjured, and a girl failed the test, in the pouring rain, for being 1kph too slow.

I don’t know about the rest of you,  but if it’s raining I slow down on my bike and yet the DSA is expecting new riders to carry out manoeuvres at the same speed as you would in the dry!  It just doesn’t seem right.  Plus, if you think about this, new riders will be suffering from ‘test nerves’, I know I was when I took my test and this may well be a contributing factor.

I really feel for anyone looking at taking their test now, it can be done but it not an experience I would want to go through.  I’m just glad I passed my test before this was bought into effect!

Full Story

Emergency First Aid For Motorcyclists

January 12, 2009

st-johns-ambulance-logoRegular readers of my blog will recall the FBOS (First Bike On Scene) first aid training for biker’s post I did a little while ago, well I have found another course run by the St John Ambulance.

The Emergency Aid For Motorcyclists course has been devised with motorcyclists in mind and  trains you so that you will have the confidence to be cope if you have the misfortune to be at the scene of an accident.

The course, which lasts for about four and a half hours, includes instruction on the following

  • Bleeding.
  • Casualty movements.
  • Communication and hygiene.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Crash helmet removal.
  • Emergencies in public.
  • Head injury.
  • Primary survey.
  • Rescue breaths.
  • Shock.
  • Unconscious casualty.

During the course you are continually access by your trainer and a St Johns Ambulance certificate, which is valid for 3 years is issued when you successfully complete the course.

For further details, and details on reserving a place on a course being run near you either click on the St John Ambulance logo at the head of the post or follow this link – First Aid Course for Motorcyclists

Details on the FBOS (First Bike on Scene) Course can be found here

I really think that both courses are a really good idea and I will be looking into doing them at some point in the near future.  I will keep you updated and once I have attended the courses I will write a blog entry about them.

Countdown To The New Motorcycle Test.. AGAIN!!

January 7, 2009
After the fiasco of last years new motorcycle test launch, and the subsequent delay in the implementation of the test due to a lack of facilities at which the new test could be done, we are once again on a countdown to the new test launch.

The new test comes into effect as of the 30th March 2009.

The new motorcycle test, designed to, and I quote the DSA, “improve the standard of road safety for motorcycle and moped riders” will now contain the following elements.

The new motorcycle test will be composed of two elements. The higher speed exercises and other exercises will be tested on safe off-road sites and take about 10 minutes to complete. The accompanied on road element of the test will follow, consisting of a road ride covering a variety of road and traffic conditions and will also include normal stops, hill and angle starts, just like the current motorcycle test.

The new elements of the off-road part of the motorcycle test will include the following:

  • At least two exercises carried out at slow speed, including a slalom
  • At least two exercises carried out at higher speed, of which one exercise should be in second or third gear, at a speed of at least 30 km/h (approx. 19 mph) and one exercise avoiding an obstacle at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (approx. 31 mph)
  • At least two braking exercises, including an emergency brake at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (approx. 31 mph)
    On the day of the test, candidates will be asked by the examiner to demonstrate their riding ability on either the left-hand or right-hand circuit. This will allow the examiner to be sure that the candidate has a very high level of machine control before being allowed on the on-road element.

If you fluff up the off-road part of the test, you will not be allowed to go out on the road for the next part and will have to rebook the off-road test again.

This new part of the test is designed to be difficult and you will need to be able to demonstrate that you can ride the bike with a great deal of confidence. Some riding schools are predicting that it will take longer to teach the new elements for the test and as a result the cost of training for the test will in all probability go up.

Here are diagrams of the left hand and right hand circuits which the off road part of the test will be done on. I personally didn’t like the look of this at all and made sure I passed my test before the new one came in!!



Now if you are thinking about doing your bike test this year, maybe you should consider doing it, if at all possible, before the new test comes in. I for one didn’t like the look of the new test being introduced and made sure I passed my bike test before the new one was launched. In fact if I had failed my test in February 2008 I was prepared to try every month until I passed it, I was so adamant I didn’t want to do the new test!

So don’t delay if you want to do your bike test soon, ring your local motorcycle school and get yourself booked in before its too late. No doubt they will be booked solid soon with people trying to get their test done before the cut off date for the new test.

Good Luck..

First Bike On Scene (FBoS)

December 21, 2008

fbos_motorcycle_first_aid1I am a fairly new rider, although I had been a pillion passenger for over 20 years and I can quite honestly say I have never heard of the First Bike On Scene course offered by various Ambulance Service NHS Trusts around the country. And now I do know about it, I think it’s a brilliant idea and definitely worth attending one if at all possible.

The course was designed by a State Registered Paramedic and biker at Lancashire Ambulance Service, as a response to enquires from motorcycle groups and organisations, who did not feel that traditional first aid courses dealt with the issues found at the scene of a road traffic accident. The course was written with the rational of “What can we reasonably expect a layperson to do at an accident scene whilst awaiting the arrival of an ambulance”. The course is designed to give bikers the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to deal with the accident scene and casualties in the minutes before the paramedics arrival.

The theory session deals with the following issues:-

  • Trauma and the Mechanism of injury- what is trauma, how does it affect the body and how can we recognise or predict the injuries sustained by a casualty by looking at the scene of an incident.
  • Compensatory mechanism- the bodies response to traumatic injury and blood loss, and how the body can sometimes appear less injured than it actually is.
  • Scene management- protecting the scene, making an appropriate 999 call giving relevant and important information, looking at safety factors of the accident scene.

The practical elements of the course involve a great deal of student interaction and includes:-

  • Snatch rescue- sometimes we have to move a casualty, there is a safe way of doing this
  • Removal of the crash helmet- when, how and why we remove it and the implications (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Spinal care- positioning of a casualty to protect airway and spine (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Resuscitation skills- including airway management with consideration for spinal injury (This skill can also be used to assist an ambulance crew)
  • Major haemorrhage- direct and indirect pressure to deal with severe bleeding.

The whole ethos of the course is about dealing with the significant life threatening issues. Its not about teaching people how to put on plasters or frozen peas on twisted ankles, it’s about being proactive, recognising significant injury and giving help immediately.

The course lasts for approximately six hours and is competency based, with lots of hands-on practice on all practical elements of the course.

Although the course was first started in Lancashire, it is now available through the following centres as well and you can contact them either by phone or email. Each FBoS Centre has a dedicated team offering professional training to all delegates. No matter where you go for your course, the course is delivered to exactly the same high standard.

For more information contact your local centre

Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside
0870 8330 999

Wales and Cheshire
07940 392586

Oxfordshire and surrounding area

Midlands and London
0870 225 0101

01226 282999

Dorset, Devon and Cornwall
01305 257643

01523 869197

If you and a group of your mates want to take part in one of the courses it is easy to arrange one, just call your regional number and organise one.  The course costs about the £50 mark but I think this is a small price to pay for the skills you will learn.

Devitt is one of the motorcycle insurance companies which supports the scheme, and if you check out the DEVITT SUPPORTS FIRST BIKE ON SCENE (FBoS) page on their site you will also see that they off a 5% discount for anyone who has attended the course.

Recommended posts to read – I.C.E Your Mobile

Learner Riders, Your Bike Test And U-Turns!

December 14, 2008

There is always a great deal of discussion about U-turns on any forum which has learner riders approaching their motorcycle test and believe me I know exactly what your guys are going through with the blasted things!! I hated them with a passion!

I had real problems with them to start with, I simply could not do them at all and dropped the bike I was riding or hit the kerb or just chickened out halfway round! It was a nightmare and I was sure I was going to fail my test as a result of them.

I found I could always do the first one ok but then something would always go wrong on subsequent ones. Once your confidence has taken a knock with something like that it’s not that easy to overcome it and you start thinking that you will never be able to do it. Once I finally had mastered them, and it did take a while, I started to do something that took all the pressure off me having to do countless ones on my riding lessons. I would just do ONE!!!

Yep, that’s right just ONE every time we stopped to do them during my lessons! My (logical?) thinking was that I only had to do one to pass that part of my test and as long as I could do the first one every time on the lessons I would be ok.

So if you are having lessons and your test is approaching soon give it a try. It does take the pressure off a bit I promise.

And remember that after your test the chances are you will probably never do another one as long as you live.. I know I haven’t’!

Obtaining Your Motorbike Licence – Pennsylvania, USA

December 9, 2008

I am always interested in how things are different around the world and getting your motorcycle licence is one thing which varies from country to country.  So I asked Ralph, one of my friends who is a motorcycle instructor in Pennsylvania, to write this to explain how you get your licence there.  

Thanks Ralph, brilliant job!  


How to Obtain a Motorcycle License

Pennsylvania offers two different ways for riders to obtain their motorcycle licenses.

Both ways require you to get a temporary license from the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT). An applicant has to answer 15 out of 20 multiple choice questions correctly to get a temporary license which is valid for the duration of 365 days.

The first way to receive your license is by passing a driving test at your local driving license center. This option is for riders that have prior experience riding and are able to ride any maneuver a rider might encounter on the road.

The second way which is chosen more frequently not only by novice but also experienced riders is either the Basic Rider Course or the Experienced Rider Course. Riders who pass either of the two courses will get licensed by the Rider Coaches instructing these courses.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)

Since March 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has set internationally recognized standards of excellence in motorcycle rider education and training. The MSF works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state governments, the military and other organizations to improve motorcyclist education, training and operator licensing.

The MSF is a national, not-for-profit organization sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.

Objectives and Strategies

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is the leader in championing the safety of motorcyclists by:

  • Developing and maintaining a high quality, comprehensive, research-based Rider Education and Training System  (MSF RETS) and its individual curriculum products.                   
  • Establishing national trainer and site certification standards and providing technical assistance for training and licensing programs.                   
  • Promoting model or enabling legislation to create state-funded rider training programs.                   
  • Actively participating in government relations, research and public awareness                   
  • Partnering with other motorcycling and public organizations to make the nation’s streets and highways safer for motorcyclists.

The MSF does not deal with motorcycle design or manufacture; its programs focus on the motorcycle operator.

The Five Main MSF Messages for Motorcyclists

To enhance the enjoyment of motorcycling, MSF recommends that riders:

  • Get trained and licensed.                   
  • Wear protective gear.                   
  • Ride unimpaired.                   
  • Ride within your limits.   
  • Be a lifelong learner.              

The MSF Rider Education and Training System  (MSF RETS)

Since 1973, more than 3.5 million motorcyclists have graduated from basic or experienced Rider Courses .  Each year throughout the nation and the military, there is an average of 7,000 MSF-certified Rider Coaches  actively teaching, each trained by one of a team of 210 MSF-certified Rider Coach Trainers.

  • The number of Rider Course students trained both nationally and overseas, at civilian and military sites, has exceeded 350,000 annually in recent years.                   
  • Rider Courses are available at over 1,500 sites in all 50 states, including 47 state-legislated programs. The MSF RETS is a comprehensive curricula system with supporting materials, technical assistance, Rider Course insurance, Rider Coach certification and training-site/training-sponsor standards. Several of the MSF member companies loan training motorcycles through their local retailers.  A national toll-free hotline, (800) 446-9227 links callers with the nearest Rider Course training site in their area.                   
  • The MSF staff work with a number of enthusiast groups nationwide to encourage and support MSF-recognized state motorcycle safety training programs.                   
  • In 1997, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation began operating the MSF Dirt Bike School  (DBS). Designed as an introduction to off-highway riding, the course is administered by Dirt Bike School Coaches nationwide. The Dirt Bike School is MSF’s fastest growing program, and is already used by both federal and state agencies to train peace officers, search and rescue personnel, volunteers and others on the safe operation of off-highway motorcycles. In 2001, the Dirt Bike School also became available at various motorcycle retailers across the country.

Operator Licensing

Another important activity for the MSF is operator licensing. The MSF model Motorcycle Operator Manual and written tests were created using the same research-based development process as the curricula; they also serve as a complement to the education and training information contained in the MSF RETS. 

  • More than 30 state licensing agencies use one of five different MSF skill tests as part of their motorcycle endorsement procedures.                   
  • More than 40 states use MSF’s Motorcycle Operator Manual, and many incorporate the related knowledge test.                   
  • Sharing the Roadway, a six-page insert for state driver’s manuals, informs car drivers about differing vehicle characteristics and asks them to expect to see motorcyclists on the roadway and respect their right to be there.                   
  • MSF licensing assistance to states includes conducting examiner-training programs, qualifying motorcycle license examiners, and providing technical expertise on motorcycle operation.                   
  • The MSF partners with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to update and improve motorcycle operator licensing systems.

Government Relations

The MSF Government Relations office, based near our nation’s capital, is the Foundation’s advocate for motorcycle safety before the United States Congress and federal regulatory agencies as well as at state legislatures and state regulatory agencies. The Government Relations Office also serves as a clearinghouse for information on federal and state legislation and regulation relating to motorcycle safety, rider education and licensing issues. MSF-developed model Motorcycle Safety Education Program legislation has helped state legislatures craft rider education program laws that have enabled millions of riders to participate in motorcycle safety courses. Staff also works with the motorcycle safety coordinators for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy, recognizing nearly 150 military Rider Course sites.

Awards Program

In 1979, MSF began an awards program to recognize Rider Coaches, licensing examiners, state motorcycle safety and licensing programs and administrators, independent Rider Course sites and all supporting sponsors such as motorcycle dealers, school districts, community colleges, and journalists, among others.

National Motorcycle Safety Fund

Tax-deductible contributions to the National Motorcycle Safety Fund (NMSF) will help build a stronger, safer motorcycling community. This charitable organization [501(c)(3)] was created in 1981 to supplement the work of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. One hundred percent of contributions to the NMSF go directly toward worthy motorcycle safety projects; there are no administrative, fund-raising or other costs paid from donations. Customary NMSF projects include:

  • Supplying helmets to rider-training sites.                   
  • Assisting in the development, production and distribution of educational materials on helmet use and the perils of alcohol/drug use in riding.                   
  • Producing rider-awareness seminars and videos.                   
  • Developing and distributing safety materials like an off-highway motorcycle riding tips booklet.

State Program

Pennsylvania is one of the states using the MSF manuals and requirements for licensing. Currently Pennsylvania offers two different classes for riders. Both classes are free for state residents.  

The primary goal of the Basic Rider Course (BRC) is to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of safe, responsible motorcycling. The BRC is designed to prepare riders for entry into the complex world of traffic. It consists of classroom and on-cycle instruction, and includes a variety of learning activities. Classroom experiences consist of 5 hours of Rider Coach-led discussions and the utilization of interactive multimedia. On-cycle instruction is conducted on a paved area away from the street. The riding portion of the curriculum consists of approximately 10 hours of instruction. Evaluation for the BRC consists of a written, multiple choice knowledge test and an end-of-course skills test. Students are using motorcycles that are supplied and usually range between 200 and 500 ccm.

The Experienced Rider Course (ERC) was developed to address the critical skills and knowledge needed for relatively low risk, enjoyable on-street motorcycling. The course is for experienced motorcyclists of all ages and is usually completed in one or two days (total 6 hours). The course is ideal for graduates of the Basic Rider Course. It provides a structure for them to further refine their riding skills. The course is informative, enjoyable and valuable. We recommend that riders refresh and hone their riding skills every year with an ERC. The students use their own motorcycles for this course.

How to Sign Up

To sign up you will need:

1)     Valid PA Motorcycle Permit from the PA Department of Transportation


2)     An online profile at Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Site.  

Classroom documentation will be supplied. If you want to study ahead of time you can download the student handbook here. 

The rider coaches will review the complete rider handbook with their students. Most likely the classroom portion is divided into 2 2.5 hour classes. The first class gives the students an insight on types of motorcycles, available gear, risk, strategy, and motorcycle controls. These insights will be helpful for the first range portion which usually is schedules between the two classroom portions.

After the second classroom portion the students have to pass a 50 questions multiple choice test.  Eighty percent of the questions need to be correctly answered to pass.

On the range, the students start with motorcycle familiarization, clutch control, start and stop, shifting, and breaking exercises. During range two the students train quick stops, tight turns, cornering, etc exercises.

The environment the rider coaches promote is low thread – high performance. Students will get challenged to develop their gross skills. This means that students will develop their fine skills on their own in a controlled environment. Rider coaches promote a fun but challenging and safe environment.

At the end of the second range portion the students need to pass a skills test. There are no new skills on the test. All skills were trained during the two range portions. Each students starts at 0 points and points will be added for mistakes during the test exercises. A student can have a maximum of 21 points to pass.