Motorcycle Roadcraft: Episode 2 Safety Stability View

In this episode Paul identifies a number of the every day hazards that bikers face. Paul talks through and explains the general concept of Safety Stability View and how it begins at learner rider level and goes on to advanced. It all looks very easy but the numbers of biker casualties say this isn’t the case. He rides every day in the highest risk areas for casualties identified by DfT and teaches on a full time basis as a qualified professional coach and trainer.

So what’s going wrong? With the numbers of biker fatalities and serious injuries rising in the UK, Paul questions the values and ethics of an industry that allows amateurs to ‘pass on their knowledge’ (assumed of course), just because they have an advanced riding badge or can provide a course for the price of an evening out.

Video commentary… Welcome to this episode of Safety Stability View: What does it all mean?

Comments made by some in the industry is that I’m a professional only because I get paid to do this work. This has been said to me on a number of occasions. I’ve noticed it’s said by those who want to pass on the knowledge they assume they have, maybe on a part time basis and charge for their fuel or a sandwich. That they think I just landed in this place as a professional by chance is extraordinary and they deeply misunderstand what it takes.

Think if you will for a moment of the skills of the concert musician versus those that just play for fun. It is then hugely important as a biker that you get the opportunity to fully understand what is available to your skills when coached by a professional. The difference is like night and day as one student told me recently. Why would you trust an amateur with your life.

So why do I say this in this short lesson. Well, to believe that something is right because it’s dressed up in such a way to be convincing is okay until it all goes horribly wrong. To be advised wrongly as a biker is just simply dangerous for you. There is way too much flag and badge waving and not enough skill, it really is as simple as that. Too many riders are being killed and too many are being seriously injured. I’m passionate about making change in this industry.

Safety Stability View in this clip is about giving myself adequate clearance from the parked vehicles and oncoming traffic, thinking about what actions other road users may make, watching out for activity around parked vehicles and junctions or vehicles emerging from their parked positions, keeping in mind my clearance from the tram lines and watching out for the changing traffic lights. Staying legal with the lane markings and keeping adequate clearance from the fixed hazard of the bollards also.

On the way be prepared as well for those pedestrians that think they’ve been seen, forgetting that riders and drivers have lots to think about other than them crossing the roads. In this next scenario it looks as though there’s a big gap. Look into the distance though, I mean really see, weigh up the speeds, have you seen everything that’s moving, recognise quickly that the oncoming driver will overtake the oncoming cyclist and hold on for a moment or two. If you don’t you’ll probably get through with a squirt of the throttle but it will look and be very untidy. You won’t pass a test of any kind or at least won’t deserve to and if it’s habitual then one day you might just have a head on.

Safety Stability View isn’t some mythical process. In fact we teach it a lot at CBT and Direct Access test levels. It’s just that we don’t flag it as SSV in those teaching classes. Instead we describe all the underlying content of SSV to new riders with phrases such as judge the oncoming traffic, find a safe place to stop, give yourself adequate clearance, concentrate on the moving and fixed hazards and so on, through 50 yes 50 areas of rider development. At an advanced level we just shorten the whole thing to Safety Stability View because at this stage we hope that you’ve grasped most of the concepts.

Anyone who hasn’t taught CBT and Direct Access is short of knowledge and experience I’m afraid. I would only exclude police riders and instructors from this statement. Replay the video, think about what you saw at full speed and how you would have dealt with things. Then take a look at the slow motion and work through the planning that was going in to deal with the different circumstances that arose. We have to compromise quite a lot on the roads. Managing those compromises is vital to your long term safety if you ride a lot and you really must take professional training.

Thank you for taking the time to watch and listen in with me today.

Click here to watch Episode 2

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