A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
We seek to improve the uptake of post-test training, creating both safer riders and drivers backed up by incentives to promote this proactive behaviour, and encourage skills development.
There is definitely an appetite from some riders to improve their skills regularly, either by taking an assessment such as the police led BikeSafe workshops (Action 15), or by taking training with organisations such as IAM RoadSmart, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) or the Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) (Action 16 Improving Standards of Post-Test Rider Instruction).
However, the overall number of riders who come forward for assessment on a regular basis is very low. We would like to see all riders volunteering to check their skills regularly. However we recognise that this is unlikely.
There is a requirement to change the image of post-test training from something that is taken by ‘boring riders’ or as a punitive measure (such as speed awareness courses) to something that is desirable, giving a sense or reward and achievement in order to get people voluntarily to seek out post-test training. There are training days such as the ‘IAM RoadSmart Skills Days’ held on race circuits, designed to attract those who regard post-test training as ‘boring’.
The ERS has had a disappointing take up from riders. The trainers do not have to provide feedback to the DVSA regarding the number of ERS candidates. In 2011, the reported number of riders taking ERS was just 395 and no further statistics have been provided.
BikeSafe seem to have been the most successful in encouraging riders of all types of machines, with many aspiring to become as skilled as the police riders themselves. BikeSafe has strong links with IAM RoadSmart, RoSPA and ERS providers and all BikeSafe customers are encouraged to take further training with one of these providers.
Pass Plus is a voluntary scheme aimed at car drivers. The direct.gov.uk website states the following: “Pass Plus is a practical training course that takes at least 6 hours and is for drivers to improve their skills and drive more safely. It can be taken at any time although it should be most useful to new drivers in the year after passing their test.”
Pass plus is largely seen as a programme to help new drivers get cheaper insurance. Even with this incentive the take up was not as high as had been expected. Voluntary post-test training or assessment is a tough nut to crack.
There are of course other schemes running where drivers can be reached, although there is no central resource for these. Several of these schemes have developed into more specialised offerings such as grey fleet driving courses or driving with young children in the car, or driving in later years which are becoming more popular.
In addition to these suggestions it would also be fair to point out the role that the media could play in ensuring road users are aware of the vulnerabilities of certain modes and the reasons why continuous improvement is a good idea.
The Department for Transports THINK! campaign does reinforce these messages and this should be continued and increased. There would be benefit in running the motorcycle campaigns for the duration of the motorcycle season and ensuring that the television campaigns are aired during prime time viewing.
The ‘Named Rider’ and ‘Perfect Day’ THINK! campaigns were two of the best produced in the view of the MCIA. Other PR efforts such as this would be welcomed.
While all the above suggestions offer some potential to pass these crucial road safety messages to drivers, their reach and effect on drivers and riders is generally unknown.
It can only be a benefit to all for road users to update their skills on a regular basis. This can make a positive contribution to road safety. Improving your skills throughout your driving/ riding life should be the norm rather than the exception. Many initiatives have been tried to encourage the take-up of post-test training for drivers and riders but to date most have not generated the interest that had been hoped for.
It is desirable for all road users to voluntarily sign up for reassessment every five years, but it is recognised this is a challenging objective.
An incentive package should be considered which will encourage people to take voluntary reassessment. There may well be different requirements from different road users. For example a DfT working group which was tasked with improving take up of ERS found that the insurance benefit offered was not sufficient, with many riders stating that the discounts were not genuine and you could get better premiums with other insurers. Genuine insurance discounts (generally in excess of 10%), road tax refunds and discounted products have all been mentioned but a definitive list of the most useful/relevant benefits has not been produced.
- Work with stakeholders for all transport modes to establish what benefits would be an appropriate incentive to encourage drivers to take regular re-assessments
- Review ERS research to see what can be learned
- Carry out research with riders and drivers to confirm findings from stakeholders
- Develop an appropriate incentives package once requirements are established using ongoing work with the Motorcycle Working Group, utilising results from the recent Customer Survey and socio-demographic data.
UPDATE – Action 17 – Encouraging Continuous Improvement of Drivers and Riders
There has been no progress on this action since the MSTP framework was launched. Until we can make progress with re-launching ERS (see action 16) there is little point in developing this action point.