Why Poor Motorcycle Training is Dangerous?
Poor motorcycle training can be extremely dangerous for new and novice riders. This is the most important training a learner rider will undertake as it is the foundation of their future.
If a structure is built on poor foundations, it is bound to have consequences in time. Building a block of flats on sand will mean at some point it will collapse, this is why having a good foundation in motorcycling is so important.
A lack of guidance in the early stages of learning can have catastrophic consequences. New riders are considered to be the most vulnerable road users so their training and guidance must be of the highest standard possible.
Good Enough for the Road!
The start of the motorcycle journey should be good, with thorough training. Trainers should ensure only safe and competent riders are allowed to ride on the road during their CBT.
If a student does not reach a safe standard they must not be allowed to venture onto the road. Unfortunately this isn’t always adhered to and weak riders are given the opportunity to continue with the road ride, even if they are not good enough.
The only opportunity this presents is to cause problems for the learner rider who has been allowed to put themselves at risk by going on the road when they are not good enough.
There are plenty of examples where riders have been involved in incidents due to a lack of skill and ability. It would have been much safer to return on another day to gain more confidence and skill in the safe environment of a training ground.
Find a good Training School
Finding a good Training School is important for learner riders. The chosen training school should have a good track record and good reviews.
Don’t just look at a website to make a choice. A good website can hide a multitude of sins by looking good and making all the right noises. It could have the nicest stock images, but it probably won’t live up to your expectations when you arrive.
It is important to visit the training school in person. You should speak to the office staff and the instructors, have a chat with them and get the feel of what their business is all about. What are their values and do they make time for you?
If you can, have a look at their motorcycles. Are they in good condition and looked after. Have a look at the training ground, is it in a poor location with a tiny car park or is it a large area where you’ll be safe learning to ride.
By doing this, you’ll get a good feel of what you are going to spend your hard earned money on. Some organisations work out of a container at the side of a car park, others have excellent training facilities and large training sites. Do your research.
Unfortunately some trainers do not have a great start into their teaching role. Many instructors are motorcycle enthusiasts, which doesn’t alway make for a good teacher.
In my experience hobbyist instructors get frustrated with learner riders when they can’t do something right. They don’t realise that most of the time they will be pottering behind a learner rider under the speed limit!
They don’t like being cold and wet during the winter months, they also don’t like being hot and sweaty during the summer months. Being a motorcycle trainer is about coaching and nurturing with empathy.
Find the right training school for you and if you try one and don’t like it move on, do not stay there because you started your training there. Even if it means travelling to find a good one, you should buy the best training you can afford. It’s your life you are looking after, not just getting a certificate to ride on the road.
New Trainers Have it Hard
The initial training programmes that new trainers receive can differ considerably. In some instances after completing a one week training course, instructors have been put into the role as a CBT Instructor. This is a demanding role and it is not hard to see why most new trainers are out of their depth.
In most cases the most inexperienced trainers are conducting the most difficult work when delivering a CBT. When you have a new trainer with limited experience and a new rider with zero experience, the outcomes cannot be good. Even though the trainer has good intentions, there will be a lack of education because of a lack of skill and experience on the trainer’s part.
If a trainer has been left to their own devices and plods on doing CBT’s day in – day out, the task can become monotonous. It becomes a difficult role especially when the student is finding it difficult and the instructor runs out of knowledge.
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The Novelty Wears Off
The novelty quickly wears off if they are not true educators and they start to lose the passion of motorcycling. In reality, all they wanted to do was ride their motorbike everyday as a job.
Coaching new riders is not easy, there are many factors to consider with the different learning styles to teach. Becoming a Motorcycle Instructor is not just about learning what needs to be taught but about learning to be a teacher, mentor, and coach, with a caring nature.
Then there is the CBT syllabus, it is jam packed full of things that have to be covered. Combine this with the limited amount of time in a one day CBT Course and you now have an arduous task.
Some things have to be cut short to get everyone through the day and this is why a lot of new riders are allowed to venture onto the road too soon. They go onto the road with weak skills that have not been set properly and find it difficult when on the road. In some cases certificates are issued and the new rider is frightened to ride on the road on their own.
This isn’t what some trainers signed up for!
What damage it is doing
The riders do not do enough initial training before going on the road. The CBT syllabus is over 20 years old and not fit for purpose for many new riders. Many training schools now offer taster sessions or pre-CBT training. This is because it is increasingly more difficult to give learners all the tools they need to ride safely on the road in just one day.
Because the syllabus is so heavy with content, it is almost impossible for a new rider to complete every task sufficiently to have a good grounding. The exercises become rushed and not enough time is given to practise and set the new skills.
It is Not a Conveyor Belt
New and inexperienced riders feel like they are on a conveyor belt, just running through the motions. Added to this are the small and restricted training sites that are minimum size. This means the training is not realistic and the exercises are not thorough enough for some riders to get a feel on the bike. An example is gear changing and emergency stop practice in a car park that is 80 feet long (less than 25 metres).
The damage that is being done is that new and inexperienced riders are being given CBT certificates before they are ready to ride unaccompanied. This puts them in danger and has already been mentioned that many new riders are frightened to ride on their own because they know they have a lack of skill and ability.
What will statistics really show
Statistics play a huge part in providing evidence. In the early days through the 1990’s, the CBT showed that by undergoing formal training the accident rate was reduced.
The reason the statistics showed a positive move was because riders could buy a motorbike from a shop and ride it away without any training at all. How dangerous was that? This is why the accident rate was so high, definitely a lack of skills contributed to accidents because new riders were self teaching on the public road.
However if statistics are looked at closely, there is still a trend of young and inexperienced riders getting into trouble when riding. The training in a lot of cases is too quick, they are poorly trained and the certificate is issued more as an attendance course rather than a standard achieved.
Some Learners Want Cheap and Rubbish
Some learners prefer to go to a poor training organisations because they know they will get their ticket for just turning up and having a go. The word gets around that if you want an easy CBT Course, go to the place where it is easier and cheaper.
The alternative is to go to a Training School with high standards but if you go there you won’t get your ticket if you aren’t good enough. Nobody wants to be told they have not achieved the required standard, so many new riders take the easy option, not the safest one.
In theory the CBT is a set syllabus but in practice there are far too many corners being cut. This results in risking lives, especially the younger generation with limited skill, knowledge, ability and experience.
There are a lot of incidents that happen during CBT training that are not logged. New riders fall off or have accidents and they still get their CBT certificate. This is very wrong and something that shouldn’t happen but unfortunately does. Statistics only show what is recorded and if accidents and problems occur and are not logged then the statistics will never show the real issue – and that is leaner riders do not undergo enough training before being allowed to ride on their own, on the road.
What should you avoid?
“Stack ’em High, Sell it Cheap” businesses. This is a business model that has no place in the motorcycle training industry, it requires a high turnover of customers for the business to even survive.
There is growing concern at the level of instruction that can be given when the model is set on high numbers and a conveyor belt system of training is used.
The only losers in this set up is the trainee new learner rider. When they attend and it is on volume, there is very little personal education. If the process is to get everyone through in a day, many riders are put onto mopeds to make it easier for the Instructor.
Even though this is not what the learner riders want but to save time and reduce the level of instruction, riders are put onto a twist and go to make it easier for the instructor to get everyone through the CBT in a day.
Once a CBT certificate is issued, as long as the rider is over 17 years old they can ride a geared bike up to 125cc. So passing on a moped and trying to learn how to use the clutch, brakes and gears on your own is an uphill task.
Motorcycle Riders Hub – Online CBT Instruction
Motorcycle Riders Hub had a customer who was in this situation and after using the Online CBT Instruction, he taught himself how to ride a geared bike. Before he undertook any further training he covered 5000 miles practising what he’d learned from watching the training videos.
This is testimony to the guidance and education that is in the online training platform.
Comments from Trainers
Everyone has heard the stories of poor training. Unfortunately it is too common, especially for new riders who are in need of help and advice in the earlier stages of learning to ride.
Whilst trainers can get away with poor practice, it will continue to happen. This is putting new riders’ lives at risk and this doesn’t seem to phase them. Rough Traders uncover poor practices in the building trade but there is no such thing in the motorcycle training world!
Instructor Comment: You are that good, we were able to finish early!
What they really meant was they finished early because they saw an opportunity to go stop work before the end of the day. They probably couldn’t be bothered to give a good service and value for money.
A good instructor would not finish early, they would take the opportunity to teach more. After all, a learner rider has limited skills and knowledge, so the extra education would be valuable to the new rider.
Even a rider who has done a CBT previously does not ride to a high standard. They may be able to ride but they are still on L Plates, which means they have not done further education towards test standard. Especially if they are just repeat CBT’ers.
Instructor Comment: I can issue 8 CBT Certificates in a day!
This example of bragging meant that the instructor conducted 2 CBT Courses in a day, on their own. One CBT Course would last the morning and the second CBT Course was done in the afternoon.
The instructor would make sure that everyone got their ticket, meaning that there was a total lack of guidance. There cannot be any personal service to this method of guidance, it is a conveyor belt driven by income. There is a lack of customer care and safety.
Fortunately there are processes in place now to prevent this kind of behaviour, but it still exists while poor trainers can get away with it.
Learner riders must take their life seriously and if there is a problem with the training, they must report the Motorcycle Training School and the instructor to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
You have a responsibility to act on poor training. You may have got through the day without being involved in an incident but if the problem isn’t reported the next person’s experience could be life changing for them.
This will ensure that only quality training schools and instructors remain in the industry and the so called cowboys and poor organisations will disappear.