28 July 2011

Motorcycle Instructors Need Training Too

At the end of May Canada hosted the ERTS- European Rider Training Symposium. This was staged and implemented by the FIM recognised CMA (Canadian Motorcycle Association) and the CSC–Canada Safety Council. A few instructors were selected, myself included, to present specific modules during the event aimed at assisting the attendees. The delegates were my peers, motorcycle instructors from around the world looking forward to new training experiences and viewing the levels of instruction riders receive in Canada.

As North America is the home of the great cruiser-  Indian, and Harley-Davidson, there was indeed a cruiser module offered. Also an impressive police demo module using Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. We also presented a scooter module sponsored by KYMCO; dirt bike course (with an additional focus on training kid/ youth) and my module, advanced rider training using BMW Motorrad Canada's fleet of motorcycles.
It was a stellar event with an added bonus for me due to the attendance of the KNMV (Royal Dutch Motorcycle Association) instructors! I knew and had worked with most of them in The Netherlands.  It was very much like a reunion for me and you can imagine how I enjoyed being able to use/speak Dutch with the fellas!
My only complaint about the event, was the fact that while busy teaching the continuous rotation of groups, I had no opportunity to experience the other modules. I would have enjoyed the police bike challenge, you know, small turns on a huge wide bike! But I did manage to grab a few rounds on the race track (Toronto Motorsport Park) Friday after completion on the Can Am Spyder by BRP. And also to ride through the off road module.
Teaching your peers also required a cross over in method from training learners and intermediates to coaching those rather well trained- and motorcycle instructors at that. Personally, I’m accustomed to this while teaching on the track.
Though these folks had to finance the trip (travel from EU, Guatemala, Germany, Belgium, etc.) and symposium fees themselves, you’ll likely agree with me, it’s important if you’re serious about your motorcycle training profession. Like anything else, you’ve got to ensure your skills don't expire and are up-to-date with training methods. Furthermore as an authority, one needs to be well versed with up and coming trends in motorcycle safety and instruction. As an example/reference - ABS (Anti Lock Braking Systems) will by 2017 be mandatory on all motorcycles. ABS has existed for a number of years yet many instructors in North America have not yet tried ABS on a motorcycle. Quite the opposite when comparing to Europe where most have it on their motorcycles already!

We’ve a long way to go regarding training basics in most categories. And as my Dutch colleague Frits Lindeman, an expert in motorcycle accident causes stated- a decade ago the focus [in The Netherlands] was on skills. Now there’s a higher importance placed on risk assessment. It is recognized that most riders only ride as fast as their skill level permits. When these skills are improved upon, it was discovered that this simply created faster riders. By evaluating riding techniques an instructor is now able to coach and teach the rider how to recognize the potential dangers surrounding them.

As instructors, you can rest assured we are eternally evaluating, advancing and bringing to you better concepts, tactics and methods to ensure security while you motor along enjoying motorcycling!

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