The background of BAM
Foreword by Marcus McCormick former West Midlands Police Motorcycle Instructor, Institute of Advanced Motorists Examiner and Vice President of Birmingham Advanced Motorcyclists
A few lines to put you in the picture
The Birmingham Advanced Motorcyclists group was formed in 1991 after a request from the local council for a road safety initiative specifically for motorcyclists. A few dedicated West Midlands Police traffic motorcyclists decided to give it a go to see if there was any interest from the public for advanced riding courses. The response for the first meeting was staggering and the rest is history. We have over 280 members. Our primary aim is to assist motorcyclists to ride more safely and to get more from today’s excellent machinery.
Why do I need advanced riding techniques?
The cold facts are that motorcycles expose you to more potential danger than cars. Every family has a tragic story about a relative who has been injured or killed. Very few mothers would actively encourage this mode of transport.
An average car driver covering 10,000 miles per annum has a one in seven chance of having a collision.
Statistically bikers are :-
◾More than 35 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured
◾8 times more likely to be involved in an accident which results in injury
◾20 times more likely to be personally injured
A more important fact is that motorcycles are not dangerous until we interact with them and, more importantly, that we can significantly reduce that risk by training.
Police motorcyclists are acknowledged to be amongst the best trained in the world having been privileged to have access to intensive rider training courses. This club allows you to access that wealth of information and experience under the expert guidance of the many police riders within the club and the highly trained civilian Observers.
Our guidance requires the same degree of machine control and precision as a police course and the rewards really have to be experienced to be believed! It involves a combination of both theory and practical elements and will take you all the way to your advanced road test under the very close scrutiny of a police examiner.
So what can you learn?
We cover ALL aspects of riding motorcycles including:
◾Slow speed manoeuvring and machine control
◾Open road riding including cornering techniques
◾Wet weather riding
◾Collision scene management and biker specific first aid
What do you need to start?
1. A sense of humour
2. A driving licence with full motorcycle authorisation and no convictions for any serious motoring offence within the last three years.
3. A legal motorcycle.
4. A willingness to learn.
How does the club operate?
Group meetings take place at THE National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 0EJ on the first Wednesday of the month.
The meeting takes the form of a theory session followed a by a break and then a guest speaker (on any manner of subjects). For dates and times check the Group Meetings section of this site. Actual ride outs take two forms. The first one is a group ride out of which there is one each week alternating between Saturday and Sunday. The other is a one to one session with your own Observer at mutually convenient times.
Don’t worry if you are unable to attend group meetings as they are merely a bonus if you can attend and a good social event. The way in which the ride outs are arranged means that you will always have some kind of ride out available to you no matter how tight your time constraints.
The Advanced Test
The test lasts for about 90 minutes and pass or fail you are guaranteed to learn even more. A high percentage of riders who have had guidance from our group pass first time. A typical test route covers around 40 miles and incorporates all kinds of road conditions, including busy residential areas, congested town traffic, main roads, narrow country lanes and motorways. It does not follow that if you crawl round at a snails pace that you will pass because of your exceptional safety. The examiner expects you to control your machine in a professional manner exercising due care and attention. He will expect a brisk ride and will want to see you ride up to whatever the legal speed limit is whenever conditions safely permit. There are no trick questions and no attempts to catch you out. The examiner will give you a full debrief and answer any questions at the end.
Where can the test be taken?
Almost certainly near to your home. The IAM has a nation-wide network of test routes. The examiner will meet you at a pre-arranged rendezvous. Tests are available from Monday to Saturday (exceptional circumstances can also be catered for).
Who are the examiners?
They are all holders of Police Advanced Motorcycle Certificates.
What can I do after I pass my Advanced Test?
You have several options the first (and we hope that you do not take this option) is to say “thank you very much, that’s enough for me” and leave the group. Secondly you can continue to be a full member of the group and take part in the ever improving social side and rides out. This will increase your circle of biking mates with similar views immensely. The final option is only available to a select few and requires even further dedication. Many people upon completion of the test are eager to pass on their newfound skills to others. This requires not only a high degree of riding skill but also the ability to accurately convey that message to others. The Birmingham Advanced Motorcyclists has an intensive teaching scheme including written and practical exams in order to qualify for the position of Observer. This ensures the highest level of competent advice.
Will you teach me how to be more confident?
YES – we have a wealth of talent in a group as large as ours and as a consequence we have excellent road riders that will build your advanced level of riding. We organise members ONLY trips and training sessions this gives you an opportunity to improve your machine control and enjoy your riding in good company.
Many of our members are referrals from Police ‘Bikesafe’ initiatives. If you are still not sure if advanced riding is for you please go to www.bikesafe.co.uk try it out and we’ll see you afterwards.
NB The pass rate achieved by BAM associates taking the advanced test in 2018 was 83% with 25 passes including 7 firsts