A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
Whilst we have DVSA defined practices for motorcycle training and many good quality ATBs providing excellent training, there are still ATBs who cut corners and risk riders safety. This action concentrates on the Instructors providing that training within the ATB.
There is a need to introduce compulsory registration for all ‘paid for’ on road tuition. 125cc training is outside current legislation. Quality assurance must be strengthened still further and Instructor qualification should be overhauled to ensure that instructors are qualified to teach in addition to being good riders.
Introducing compulsory registration for all ‘paid for’ pre-test on road tuition
It seems ludicrous that the law allows someone to charge a fee to carry out rider training on public roads without proving that they are of a suitable standard or registered by a competent authority. Currently riders of 125cc or below machines who have taken CBT can be instructed by anyone who has held a full motorcycle licence for 3 years. No qualifications, registration or indeed quality assurance is necessary.
Road users wishing to learn to ride a motorcycle or scooter must be able to have faith that Instructors taking money for on road training will hold a coaching or teaching qualification. The ATB must also, at the very least, be expected to adhere to DVSA guidelines.
Introducing compulsory quality assurance for all pre-test motorcycle training
Better standards of pre-test training are required to ensure that the most vulnerable riders with little riding experience can stay safe on the road. Quality assurance arrangements for those offering motorcycle training for money have improved, but more could and should be done. Motorcycle riders should be able to obtain high quality training of a known standard.
Legislation only allows DVSA to monitor the provision of Compulsory Basic training (CBT); no specific checks are made on the quality of Direct or Progressive access training.
Instructors are currently checked approximately every 4 years and visits are by appointment, unless specific issues have been reported. DVSA have made, and are continuing to make, very welcome improvements to this monitoring but the training industry still feels that this is the most important issue to tackle. See Action 10 for details on MCIAC’s Quality Assured Award.
Removing ATBs from the DVSA Register
The appeals process for those found to be offering substandard training or not following regulations should be reviewed to assist the DVSA with removing from their registers those ATBs and instructors who have no intention of following the correct procedures, and consequently do not offer customers the level of training they should expect. We hear of many instances of poor quality training and in fact some cases of no training at all being required to gain a repeat CBT certificate. These ATBs and Instructors damage the whole industry and should not be allowed to train novice riders.
The issue of substandard training does not only apply to CBT. Pre-test training for Direct or Progressive Access is not monitored and current legislation does not allow DVSA to intervene unless invited.
All elements of rider training should be subject to a mandatory Quality Assurance regime and this should ideally become a legislative requirement. MCIAC has a robust Quality Assurance regime that should be considered (see Action 10)
Improved qualification process for new instructors.
It is crucial for Instructors not only to be great riders themselves, but also to have an ability to teach candidates to learn to ride. In October 2012, the DVSA published the National Driver and Rider Training standard which explains the standards that Instructors should meet: ‘The ‘National driver and rider training standard’ describes the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to be a safe and responsible driving or riding instructor or instructor trainer.’
The standard looks at core competencies that are required for Instructors. It talks of a client centred approach to instruction, which should be regarded as best practice. This gives instructors the flexibility to assess how each candidate learns and adapt the teaching method to suit the learner. The DVSA have recently amended their Standards Check to incorporate these recommendations but it will be several years before all existing Instructors have been checked.
This is a very positive change however; it deals with what and how the Instructor should teach the customer, as opposed to the process by which the Instructor becomes qualified to teach. MCIAC has an Instructor training course for DVSA Approved Instructors which covers client centred learning in depth.
We do not feel that the Instructor Qualification route has had the necessary overhaul to implement this change successfully. The vast majority of trainers do not see attending the DVSA’s Cardington assessment as a beneficial experience and candidates are often poorly prepared by ATBs who do not fully understand the requirements of the Driver and Rider standards.
Many ATBs train their own staff to instruct at CBT level only – these so-called ‘down trained’ Instructors have been trained by an Instructor who has passed all the Cardington assessments. This practice has been criticised by some as neither the DVSA Instructor or the down trained Instructor who is being trained need to have any formal teaching/training qualification.
The requirement to have 1 DVSA approved Instructor for every 10 down trained Instructors should also be reconsidered as this seems too high. The aspiration should be for all Instructors to become DVSA approved at DAS standard.
All current Instructors to be qualified in teaching/training/coaching methods
A formal teaching qualification can only be beneficial for Instructors and students and this should be a requirement of DVSA approval and registration. There are several basic teaching qualifications available at local businesses and colleges so this requirement need not be too onerous. Many current Instructors have impressive riding skills; however they should be equipped to assess their candidates and decide on the best learning techniques for that person to ensure that they reach their full potential and become safe riders.
Members of the Motorcycle Industry Trainers Association (MCITA) discussed this at a members meeting in March 2014. Suggestions were made to improve Instructor Qualification regimes such as:
- Assessment of instructors should take place on their own site instead of at Cardington as some instructors fail under test conditions – the whole Cardington experience is nerve wracking and those being assessed struggle as they are not teaching real candidates. They are taking part in role play with other trainee instructors – they feel role play is very different to real life scenarios.
- Part of the assessment needs to involve ‘real life’ candidates.
- The ‘down trained’ qualification should be reviewed to ensure it is robust and quality assured.
- The ability to ‘down train’ Instructors should be granted by a separate DVSA assessment, not all DAS Instructors want to train new Instructors.
Some progress has been made on these suggestions since 2014, but as yet no legislative changes have been made.
- Liaise with DVSA to introduce different grades of ATB/Instructor and to promote these grades to members of the public.
- Split the requirement to train other Instructors from the requirement to teach at Direct Access standard.
- DVSA Instructor assessment to use ‘live’ students and preferably take place in the area where the Instructor will be deployed.
- Ensure future Instructors are qualified to teach as well as to ride.
- Begin the process to change legislation to ensure that ALL Instructors offering ‘paid for’ pre-test tuition are DVSA approved.
- Begin the process to change legislation to ensure implementation of a robust Quality Assurance regime for all types of pre-test training that routinely includes the intelligent use of customer feedback.
UPDATE – Action 11 – Improving the Current Pre-Test Training Regime
Please note: This action originally contained suggestions to improve pre and post-test training; for the purposes of this rewrite these 2 areas have been separated.
There has been some progress made in the pre-test area although it is expected that the DVSA consultation due in autumn 2016 will include the possibility of giving DVSA powers to quality assure all forms of pre-test training. Whilst this is a welcome improvement it falls well short of the type of robust quality assurance that this strategy promotes.\
The same Consultation is also likely to include separating the requirement for DAS approved Instructors to be assessed and approved to down train other Instructors. This is a very welcome improvement.