"Learning Points 1..."

Reasons for "not recommended"
Recent Test Pointers

I have conducted Advanced Motorcycle tests for the IAM since May 1986.  Since that time many riders have been recommended for Full Membership of the IAM and some have not.  In this time there have been some common areas, which have led to the "not recommended" result and there are some common areas where advice has been sought by Observers preparing associates for the test.

To give some assistance to associates and Observers alike I intend to share this information here.

Main Reasons for "not recommended"

Exceeding the Speed Limit in the Built Up Area.
Strange as it may seem and despite the very clear warning I give every candidate about town speed limits and the proliferation of Speed Detection devices, this is probable the main reason for failures.  Like the DSA learner tests, some faults can be minor and a certain number are permissible and others are potentially serious or actually serious (for serious read dangerous or illegal) and one such fault is a failure.  Well driving at 38 - 40 mph in a 30 mph area in most police Force areas in the UK would get you stopped or result in a "brown envelope" in your mail in a few days time.  So consequently, irrespective of how good the rest of the ride... you are not being Recommended on this occasion.

Failure to position for bends/corners.
One of the benefits a motorcyclist has is the ability to move about the road to gain the best advantage from position so they are always on the right place on the road, travelling at the right speed with the right gear engaged.  I recall one test where I was given a text book DSA test run.  This was a "clean sheet" in DSA terms with the road positioning 1 metre from the kerb around left and right hand bends with no change in position to maximise view approaching or through the hazard.  A candidate for the Advanced Test must position correctly for bends.

Failure to use the system.
Advanced riding is based on the "system" so that the rider is always aiming to be on the right place on the road, travelling at the right speed with the right gear engaged, before applying the right degree of throttle to carry them through the hazard.  All of this is complemented by the taking, using and giving of information i.e. All round Observations with rear observations using mirrors and "blind spot checks" where required and the giving of signals where others would benefit.

Failure to take adequate/appropriate rear observation.
Sadly some candidates just do not use their mirrors!  Other use the mirrors, but too late to allow them to make use of anything they might see and incorporate the information into their riding plan.  Rear Observation is required before any change of course or speed and should be taken as part of the information phase during the application of the system.

Recent Test Pointers

Return to the top
Rear Ob's when leaving the 30's
Rear Ob's at Roundabouts
Brakes for Slowing, Gears for Going

Leaving the 30 mph limit
As one drives out of the town we are effectively entering another type of hazard... the open road. Therefore using the system we should be checking what is behind us and what might be liable to be overtaking us so, if it is safe to do so, we can accelerate away from the speed restricted area.

Generally I see mirror checks and the odd glance to the side from my candidates, at or around the NSL signs. However if we use the "system" we should have our rear observation done in advance of the hazard so when we pass the imaginary line between the two NSL signs, we can apply the throttle.

Some candidates are conducting rear obs after the NSL signs, before accelerating. Think system and you will see the benefit of conducting the rear obs on the approach to the hazard, not well into it... if you see what I mean.

Recent Test Pointers

Rear Ob's at Roundabouts
No matter which exit we take, we are effectively turning left when we exit a roundabout. Consequently I am looking for mirrors and if appropriate, a "blind spot check" to the nearside before leaving any roundabout (full size or mini). Naturally a breakaway signal should be given if there is anyone to benefit from it.

Recent Test Pointers

Brakes for Slowing, Gears for Going
Remember the system... I. P. S. G. A.
I heard a rumour that "the Examiner does not like to see candidates using the brakes"  This is not true. There is a time and place for braking and the time and place is at "S" in the system, if the speed reduction required cannot be achieved by deceleration alone in the time and distance available to the rider.

Generally good acceleration sense negates the use of brakes for say the approach to a 30 mph limit, but depending on the gear we are in, the time/distance available AND the available engine braking the machine has, we might have to use the brakes.
I would far rather see the system applied correctly and the brakes used on the approach to hazards (even though acceleration sense could have been better), than pick up the fact that gears were being deliberately used to slow the machine... unless we are in treacherous conditions and I would not be conducting a test if conditions were such that we required to use only engine braking.

Recent Test Pointers


{short description of image} Learning Points 1 - You are HERE
{short description of image} Learning Points 2 - Click Here. FAQ's
{short description of image} Learning Points 3 - Click Here.


{short description of image}What the Examiner Expects. Extracts from the IAM's own web site.
{short description of image}Return to Rennie's biking Index.

{short description of image}Return to Rennie's home page Index.