Diverse speakers address motorcycle safety seminar

12.00 | 18 November 2014 | | 6 comments

A diverse range of speakers addressed delegates at the 2015 National Motorcycle Safety Seminar which was hosted by Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Fire Bike Team in Stevenage on 11 November.

The seminar, designed to bring road safety professionals together to share best practice, was well attended by representatives from a wide range of organisations from around the UK with an interest in motorcycle safety.

The seminar facilitator Tony Smith, from Hertfordshire’s Fire Bike Team, said: “We had overwhelming interest (in the seminar) and are particularly pleased at the wide range of organisations represented.

“It was great to see fire and police officers sitting beside the DfT, the IAM, RoSPA, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and a number of charity and business organisations all working to reduce the numbers of motorcyclists involved in serious accidents on our roads.”

Presentations included: an overview of the Biker Down initiative by Kent Fire & Rescue Service; Vikkie Judd from the DfT spoke about recent and future THINK! campaign work; Alex Stedmon from Coventry University gave a presentation on the work he has carried out around ‘Rider Human Factors’; Kevin Williams from Survival Skills Advanced Training gave a history of motorcycle safety with a look at the likely direction of future campaigns; and Matt Staton finished the day with an overview of Cambridgeshire County Council’s current ‘Twist’ campaign.

Simon Brown, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue’s lead officer for citizen safety, said: “The road safety landscape is complex with many different stakeholders. 

“The seminar allowed many of these national and local, public, private, academic and third sector stakeholders to come together and share experiences and good practice.

“The seminar also presented opportunities for discussion on how to achieve even better collaboration between agencies despite continuing pressure on budgets and resources.”

Tony Smith concluded: “The seminar has allowed us to make several new contacts and learn a much wider range of skills for both targeting motorcyclists and getting our key messages across.

“As a result we will be working much closely with our police colleagues, particularly those in the road collision investigation unit who came along and gained a lot from the day.”

Contact Tony Smith for more information about the National Motorcycle Safety Seminar.



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    Dave Finney – there is a Biker Down scheme in the Thames Valley, in Bucks. Please see our Facebook page – ‘Biker Down Bucks & Milton Keynes’ – for dates. To date, we have trained over 700 people.

    Keith, Bucks
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    I am glad that you agree that some form of co ordinated national enterprise should arise at this time in order that a cohesive policy can be established to create and build on a new incentivised training programme. One that will become a benchmark for the future. One that will bring in all interested parties not just the paid professional. The scientists, the psychologists, the charities, the voluntary sector and the individual. One due to its size (that) will be able to raise awareness and capital funding through central government or other means, maybe Lottery monies.

    Finally your point about local authority officers. I believe that many have done and still do as splendid a job as possible given their limitations and restraints placed upon them. Because of that they cannot be criticised but I believe there is an understanding now taking place (in some degree brought to the fore by this website) that that is not enough and from now and we must see a greater integration and a more sustainable collective way forwards. This is the positive change in attitudes that I saw at the Motorcycle Safety Seminar and what I took away with me.

    bob craven Lancs
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    I have to agree with you Bob, but is “trying their best” good enough? You are certainly correct when you ask for a collective national event because at the moment we have a great many different agencies all milling around without any clearly defined purpose. Getting the whole lot in the same place at the same time would give everybody the opportunity to thrash out a coherent strategy which would be extremely beneficial for all concerned.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Duncan, that’s not very generous of you to be so critical of the establishment. Not very generous at all. In the light of what they do, they try their best with limited budgets to bring in new interventions or initiatives, some work and some do not work as well. Some sterling work has done to either encourage the training of motorcyclists and on the other hand also to bring to mind to other road users the dangers that motorcyclists face. So a two pronged attack.

    They dont have the resources or mandate to include road engineering and maintenance or siting of road furnishings etc. That’s not in their brief and (they) have to rely on education.

    I would admit as would they that many are not twv orientated as was shown at the seminar but they do try their best to understand the problems that we twv travellers face every time we ride out onto the road. Some of the best initiatives actually come with riders of experience and that’s where I believe our duty and way forward lies to enable riders of experience to teach younger ones that experience of what to look out for and why. So there are, as Kevin says, no surprises.

    I also believe that it’s time we had a collective national event or push towards training in greater numbers and include all manner of riders, be they learners or experienced, encompassing all the interested parties working in unison.

    If the cycle fraternity can do it then why can’t we?

    bob craven Lancs
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    The Biker Down seminar was an excellent event and I was impressed with all the speakers. I definitely want to get to a Biker Down training session when I get time although there isn’t one in the Thames Valley. It was also great to finally meet some of the contributors to Road Safety GB!

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    This was a very interesting seminar as it showed that the majority of agencies have little idea of how to solve the problem of motorcycle accidents. For sure we had presentations on what each of them thought was a possible solution, but you couldn’t escape the feeling that you were listening to a wish list of hopes and aspirations rather than any real solutions.

    Notable exceptions however were the presentations from Jim Sanderson on Biker Down, Kevin Williams on the psychology of riding and Alex Stedmon on human factors. Jim demonstrated that correctly structured courses do not have to be complex and expensive for them to be valuable, Kevin showed why we have ended up in the position we now find ourselves in and how we can get out of it and Alex showed that proper research generates valuable understanding of problems. It seemed to me that the science based presenters had a much better grasp of the problems and their solutions than did the people from the educational end of the spectrum. Maybe the seminar demonstrated that it is the science and what we can learn from it which we should be focussing on from hereon in.

    Duncaan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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