After about 21 years, I have decided to re do my IAM test, and found myself meeting with one of the senior observers for my area, Simon Rawlins. Simon’s tyres showed his Bandit had been ridden a bit, with no chicken strips anywhere on his tyres. They were not cooked like trackday tyres but lets just say he gets use out of all of his tyre.
Having done my test years ago I was glad to see that a lot of the b*llsh*t had gone. I asked Simon whether the test required covering off the back brake at junctions – answer – No! I also remember having to do lifesavers about every 30 seconds, again, this is all gone. As Simon explained the purpose is to turn me into a thinking rider. It transpired Simon and I years ago had been working on the despatch circuit and though our paths never crossed, I was happy to have an ex DR as my observer because I cannot sit in traffic. Simon asked me to ride my normal style, which I did, and at our first pulling over, after about an hours riding, Simon had a few observations for me. Most were pretty complimentary, and Simon said I had clearly done a lot of bike miles and was very comfortable in the saddle. My machine control was comfortable and fluid. So far, so good. Then the areas where I needed improvement, which were observing speed limits, where I was a bit too relaxed, and he gave me a few good tips for smooth overtaking. I had been pulled up before on a Bikesafe course for slightly threatening overtakes, so I was not suprised by this. Because I don’t ride much at the weekends, I was horrified at the standard of weekend drivers. In 3 hours of riding, I had one car go for an overtake just as I was ready to accelerate past it and the lead vehicle. Luckily my sixth sense and a “head bob” by the driver alerted me, so I could stop the manoeuvre. More worryingly a car got bored in the oncoming traffic and went for an overtake forcing me right to the edge of my carriageway with a closing speed of about 120mph. Luckily, I still ride to the “system”, or at least try to, so both of these incidents passed without any casualties, but how the hell a driver can miss my bike with 4 headlights will never cease to bemuse me. It ws a good experience and already I have tidied up my overtakes, and have dropped 2 gears when in town to keep better to 30s and 40’s which I have always tried to observe, but it is a lot easier to observe them in 3rd rather than 4th or 5th. Out on the open road, Simon and I rode pretty enthusiastically, and Simon took me down some roads which really challenged me for speed, positioning and braking. And nobody made me wear any dayglow.
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a GSX1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
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