Welcome: A Journey of Motorcycle Roadcraft
Mar 15, 2021
The video commentary:
Welcome and thank you for taking the time to join me. I spend my life riding on the roads with students that have all different levels of experience and skills. It’s what I do all day and every day. I love it. But, it comes with high risks. If we choose to ride motorcycles on the roads we just have to take the personal responsibility because no-one else is going to do it for us. As motorcyclists, we have to know this and accept it.
In this series we’re going on a journey to explore Motorcycle Roadcraft and gather the understanding of what it takes to ride at a professional level on the roads and how to get you there. The more skills we have the more we can enjoy riding our bikes and keep ourselves safe. If you’re a professional instructor wanting to continue your development, or maybe you’re an observer with a group, this is the place to be.
Let’s begin our journey then because the world out there needs motorcycling and we need it. How good is it to ride out with friends, or to ride to a different country, experience different cultures, and know that you got there on your bike? Or, simply, just to immerse yourself in your own world on your bike, letting your senses touch every receptor in your heart and mind to experience the thrills of motorcycling.
My name is Paul Dickinson. I’ve been a professional trainer and riding coach for more than two decades. I’ve held riding classes for more than 40,000 hours on the roads in that time for riders of all different levels of experience. Part of my work today includes being an expert witness. This role requires me to give evidence to a court based on my interpretation of what went wrong, and right, in a set of circumstances involving serious and fatal motorcycle crashes. Yes, they happen, and none of us are so good that we can afford to think it won’t happen to us. It’s the case in fact that the more we do think it can happen to us, the better we will be.
You may have heard of Keith Code. Keith Code spotted nuances in riders’ skills that were holding them back from progressing on the track as racers. He ended up writing books about these nuances, small things, invisible to the untrained eye, and I can understand this. Andy Ibbott continued his work in the UK and Europe and today Andy writes his own books about riders’ nuances and techniques for the track.
Let me say by the way that my speciality is road riding. There are different specialists at the top of their fields in the world of biking so it isn’t my aim to make you a racer, motocross rider or a champion trials rider. For those skills the best advice I can give is to visit the experts in those areas of riding.
Picking up the wrong information, being directed to the wrong actions in the belief that they are somehow right is just dangerous. In the last twenty years, at least one motorcyclist in the UK has been killed on the roads, every day, In the same period of time at least 50 or more are seriously injured, every day. There is some misleading information out there about how to ride on the roads for certain.
Road riding carries the most enduring risks of all motorcycling disciplines. Like the other fields in biking, it is an art in itself. It is arguably the discipline that is most neglected as a consequence of too many opinions. After all, everyone rides on the roads, so they know, apparently. But, the real quirk in all of this is that the different situations that arise on the roads are absolutely endless.
The aim of these videos, in time, is to debunk the myths and the many unsafe opinions that exist about road riding and to work towards developing your skills even further. Even our government is persuaded by the myths and this holds us back as riders of these fantastic machines. Something has to change.
Our journey will take us along the roads in the UK, we’ll learn how to create space but to continue at a good and safe speed. We’ll learn how to apply positioning skills and we’ll be looking into those elusive cornering skills. We’ll look at overtaking skills and hazard awareness along with the taking using and giving of information. There’s a whole lot more to Motorcycle Roadcraft skills and we’ll be covering it all, in time. Always remembering that nothing is perfect.
We’ll be going to Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as the beautiful countryside of England. It will take us on to some wonderful roads as well as the hustle and bustle of city life. We’ll take a look at riding on the continent too. Thank you for coming along with me on this ride. I wish you lots of fun and safe riding.