A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
The RIDE scheme is available to riders throughout the UK.
During the evolutions of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme it became apparent that the courses offered did not properly address the bespoke needs of the motorcycling community. The RiDE scheme was designed as specific intervention for those motorcyclists whose behaviour has brought them to the attention of the Police. It is designed to address the behaviour of those motorcyclists whose riding could be defined as anti-social or careless, thereby attracting a criminal prosecution. It can also be used for those motorcyclists who have demonstrated careless riding, leading to a collision. When correctly applied, the course will invite the riders to question their own assumptions regarding their own abilities and competencies to ride a motorcycle and is intended to alert them to the vulnerabilities that reckless, careless or anti-social riding can attract and also prevent them from re-offending, or worse, becoming a casualty.
Many post-test training opportunities exist; however, despite this most riders do not choose to take further training after passing their test. Having said that, many schemes are available but there is one area of rider development that is usually overlooked by such courses; rider attitude is key, for example why do some riders decide to ignore the road traffic law?
Riders of powered two-wheelers (PTWs) are motivated by very different influencers and experience a very different road environment when compared with other road-users. Research suggests that riders of PTWs have a distinctive relationship with risk, characterised by over-confidence in their abilities to manage the hazards of the riding environment. In order to address inappropriate riding behaviour, it is necessary to provide a therapeutic framework, a treatment intervention rather than a simple exercise in information exchange.
Rider behaviour psychologists will point out that improving skills without changing attitudes could lead to more of the behaviour that we are trying to reduce. This is why the RiDE course, which is offered as alternative to prosecution does not have any on-road training attached to it.
The RiDE course is an excellent opportunity to not only alter attitudes of riders but is probably the best opportunity we have of educating several thousand riders a year and making a real difference to motorcycle and scooter safety. Not only are the courses effective in altering attitudes but they are seeing the cohort of riders who generally do not voluntarily come forward for post-test training. They come to a RiDE course to avoid penalty points and leave generally having enjoyed the day and with a greater understanding of the consequences of their actions.
NPCC and MCIA recognise that National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) courses offer great potential in terms of reaching a large number of riders nationally. The courses offered relate to information about the unique characteristics of motorcycles or scooters. Other driver courses could explain some of the behaviours of riders that can confuse drivers. As an example many drivers believe that filtering is illegal and riders who do it are reckless. Other drivers may wonder why motorcyclists change position within a lane so often.
These alternatives to endorsement schemes are self-funding as long as police officers and traffic bureaus make the referrals, so this is effectively a no-cost way to educate many more motorcycle riders and encourage safer riding amongst those who have already passed a motorcycle test.
There needs to be clear definition between RiDE and BikeSafe. BikeSafe is about ‘bridging the gap’ into further training with the aim being to encourage post-test training and to improve rider attitude and behaviour. It is important that BikeSafe is not seen as a scheme to address offending behaviour.
It is the intention of the RiDE scheme to remove from the criminal justice system those riders whom, by the manner of their riding, have intentionally or erroneously carried out low level offences. Through education they could see their skills, abilities and awareness improve, a reduction in their re-offending and make themselves safer on the roads. The scheme is not intended to usurp the Court’s authority, but is intended to broach a rider’s attitude and behaviour towards inappropriate riding. If the client is involved in another road traffic incident of a similar type within three years of the date of the original offence, a course cannot be offered.
The RiDE scheme is available to all police forces to offer to riders throughout the country. Currently the use of the scheme is still sporadic and riders are often not given the opportunity to attend the course. National Driver Offending Retraining Scheme (NDORS) data shows around 1000 year-on-year courses are undertaken nationally. This is compared to around 1.4 million driver courses in the same period across different schemes.
The RiDE scheme is a useful method for disposing of offences and more effective in shaping future behaviour than enforcement activity.
Information suggests that the reason for the low numbers is two-fold – firstly that police forces are failing to offer and use the scheme as part of their prosecution process and secondly that there is limited availability in terms of geographical areas that are covered by the RIDE scheme. This limited availability is influenced by the fact that the numbers are not high enough to increase course numbers and places, indeed some courses run at a significant loss to the provider, with less than optimum numbers of offenders attending. Most regions do have a choice of venues to undertake the training, however, this inevitably means some offenders travelling significant distances to attend the course.
The first area to address is the number of courses being offered by police forces. When this number increases, this will allow for a greater number of course providers for the course as it will be a more worthwhile investment for them to provide more locations for the training. This then removes the second issue as many training providers have indicated that if demand was there, they could increase the number and location of courses.
It is suggested that there is a lack of knowledge from front-line staff and Prosecution Teams around RiDE and its benefits. This needs to be addressed in order to tackle the issue.
The increasing use of Road Traffic Offence Reports (RTOR) by officers dealing with any kind of road traffic offence which are then submitted into the Prosecution Bureau for a decision to be made on the most appropriate course of action could increase the referral rate to the scheme however despite repeated efforts it does not appear to be influencing referral numbers. Communication needs to be for front-line staff as well as Prosecution Teams as there could be a general knowledge gap regarding the scheme or hostility towards it.
- There are three areas that will continue to be addressed with Police Forces – firstly, the staff dealing with the riders face to face at the front-line. Secondly, the staff involved in the automated services, eg safety camera van operatives who are capturing other offences (not speeding) for which the RiDE scheme may be appropriate and thirdly, Criminal Justice and Prosecution Teams
- Officers need to have better knowledge about RIDE and its benefits so that they are thinking about it as a first option, (when appropriate) rather than the first option being a Fixed Penalty Notice. Similarly, teams working within the Prosecution Units need to have full knowledge of RiDE and clear referral pathways and instruction on its operation so again, they are seeing it as a primary option
- NPCC to continue to spread the RiDE scheme message through contacts with other Chief Officers
- Further scoping work to be carried out in respect of funding from the RiDE scheme potentially being utilised towards BikeSafe in order to fund the more educational side. This could only become an option if the number of RiDE courses being undertaken increases
- Develop stronger links with RiDE course providers to ensure that they point riders in the direction of on-road training after their course has been completed. Partners will task the motorcycle working group to identify and understand the reasons for low RiDE referrals.
- Develop more incentives to improve compliance through engagement
UPDATE – Action 9 – To Make Best Use of The Rider Intervention Developing Experience Scheme (RiDE)
We have been working closely with the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) in order to raise awareness of issues relevant to motorcyclists. The Rider Intervention Developing Experience Scheme (RiDE) has been included within the motorcycle safety plan that has been disseminated to all Police force areas. Clear guidance and directives have been given to forces with regard to the use of the RiDE scheme as an alternative to prosecution for relevant offences. Regular liaison with prosecution teams, safety camera operatives and front line officers is being conducted on an ongoing basis in order to keep RiDE at the forefront of any decision making processes.