Rider safety – back to basics

Published: February 7, 2014

As a Riding Instructor it never fails to surprise me how many riders have such little knowledge of basic safety. I was one of them back in 2004. I rode bikes and did not fall of or have accidents so I must have been safe. Besides that I was a bloke and riding a bike is natural to blokes.

How wrong I was! Macho nonsense. I had been lucky!

We don’t like to hear it but the reality is that we bikers are over 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured whilst riding a bike than if we were driving a car. It is a fact that we deny at our own risk.

When did you last have a proper look at the Highway Code? If it was more than 2 years ago get yourself the latest edition £2.50 from good bookshops or on line. Less than a can of beer but it could save your life.

There are some other good books such as DSA guide to Learning to Ride, DSA Better Biking DVD and Motorcycle Roadcraft (The Police Rider’s Handbook).

Better still why not take further training from a qualified instructor?

Waste of money?

Look at it this way:

  • How much did you pay for your bike? £5 grand?
  • How much did you pay for your riding gear? Best part of another grand.
  • How much is your excess? £300
  • How much will you lose if you are off work? Quite a bit.

So how much will it cost you if you have a minor accident that results in a broken leg? A couple of thousand at least.

How much would a day’s training cost? About £150 for Enhanced Rider although in some counties there is a subsidy of £80 available from the County Road Safety Team.

Where can you go for additional training?





Why not have a free assessment ride with your local police with BikeSafe?

It makes sense so why don’t you do it before the new riding season gets under way?

 About the author – Bill Whitelaw

I have been riding bikes on the highway since I was 16 when I first rode my Dad’s BSA Bantam. Having passed my test, I progressed to a BSA C15 and by the time I was 19 I had a Rocket Gold Star. My test had been a couple of circuits of a block of offices and as I did not run over the examiner during an Emergency Stop, I passed. I wore a helmet by choice not because we had to.

Many years later and I now have a Honda 750 VFR with 120,000 miles on the clock and a CBF1000. In the meantime we have owned all sorts including 250LC, ZX9, Blackbird, VFR800s etc.

For most of my life riding was low mileage leisure but in 2004 I took early retirement from my proper job and turned my passion into a business when I became a Riding Instructor. After an intensive training course I went to DSA Cardington and gained my CBT and DAS Instructor Certificates and then opened my own ATB (Training School).

In 2004 I was under the typical Biker opinion that I was an expert rider. What a rude awakening I received! My riding was poor despite my track days etc and having managed to avoid an accident in all those years. When I look back I realise just how lucky I had been.

At 70 years of age I have sold my ATB but continue to train as I now hold a full set of licences and certificates including IAM, RoSPA Gold and ERS Trainer. I think that it is fair to say that I am now a competent rider but am still developing my skills as road conditions and bike sophistication change.

For the last 4 years I have been a Stakeholder with DSA (DVSA) involved with all aspects of motorcycling.

My objective is to share my knowledge with as many new and existing riders as possible so that you can enjoy many years of safe and happy biking.

Bill Whitelaw
Bill Whitelaw

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