…because it’s a jungle out there!
No, extra-ordinary training” (Barbara Alam)
Since 1997, Kevin Williams MSc and Survival Skills Rider Training have led the way in making high quality rider training courses and advanced motorcycling skills accessible to all riders. The goal of Survival Skills has always been to help motorcyclists at all levels – newly-qualified, intermediate, and advanced – to develop skills and ride with more confidence and enjoyment, not just by offering practical training courses but by offering books, online advice and even working on numerous rider safety projects – often for free!.
After spending a decade and a half as a courier, Kevin Williams switched to working as a motorcycle instructor, gaining a BTEC in post-test motorcycle instruction. As well as holding a higher degree in science and an NVQ in distance learning, Kevin is a proven communicator, presenter and writer.
The long-time writer of the safety column for the Motorcycle Action Group, Kevin also researched and wrote the ‘Lucky 13’ cartoon series for the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association, ACEM, in the mid-2000s.
Kevin has worked on safety projects on behalf of Buckinghamshire Council (‘Be a Better Biker’) and Somerset Road Safety Partnership (‘Rider Performance’ at Castle Coombe circuit). Currently, Kevin works with Kent Fire and Rescue Service on the ‘Ride Skills’ rider safety initiative at Brands Hatch and with the ACC and Ride Forever in New Zealand.
With a Masters degree in the biological sciences, Kevin researched and then delivered the first ‘Science Of Being Seen’ (SOBS) presentation in 2011. SOBS is a world first – a fully-researched yet accessible investigation into the world visual perception and the conspicuity issues behind the ‘Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You’ SMIDSY collision between a bike and car. Kevin continues to deliver the SOBS module on the international award-winning ‘Biker Down’ course on behalf of KFRS.
In February 2018 and 2019, Kevin was invited to take part as a keynote speaker on the month-long Ride Forever / ACC initiative ‘Shiny Side Up Tour’, delivering SOBS at venues all round New Zealand. Find out more about SOBS on the sister site.
The best bolt-on accessory for any motorcycle is the rider, but before choosing which route to go for post test training, it’s worth asking yourself two questions:
Kevin is a professional, full-time, independently-qualified, rider coach with a long history of training at all levels from CBT to expert. As a BTEC-certificated advanced instructor, Kevin’s science background and experience as a former professional motorcycle courier ensures he is uniquely qualified to deliver post-test rider training.
Offering advanced rider training since 1997, Survival Skills was one of the first motorcycle training schools to use a fully structured yet flexible approach to training. Survival Skills courses move beyond Roadcraft-based training by studying driver and rider error. Regardless of our own level of skill, what matters is understanding how errors occurs, being able to recognise when things are about to go wrong, and having a strategy ready to deal with the error.
This risk-based approach is introduced using proven ‘building-block’ education practices such as task analysis and goal-setting. The approach is motivational, ensures nothing is overlooked and that the training moves at the pace you are comfortable with – you’re never set a task you’re not ready for. With no push to ‘make progress’ when riding, the challenge is simple – be the best rider you can possibly be.
From the very first, Survival Skills courses have been client-centred (an approach only just adopted by the DVSA), tailored to the differing needs of experienced, newly qualified and returning riders. Twenty years ago I wrote:
“A good course doesn’t deliver a fixed syllabus nor force you to change style to fit, but should show you how new skills fit in around your existing style of riding.”
It’s still true today, Survival Skills courses have never been ‘one size fits all’ and I never turn out ‘clone riders’. Before you book, we’ll discuss your needs and if you can’t choose from one of the range of courses, I’ll offer bespoke training. In particular, if you have a specific riding problem, Kevin has the experience to identify, then the flexibility and expertise to fix, the issue.
In short, gaining Survival Skills is a great way to enhance your enjoyment of two wheels and with Kevin’s educational and technical know-how, you can be sure you’re getting top-quality training from a top-notch instructor.
Survival Skills courses run seven days a week from March to November from convenient locations near the M25 in Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Essex and Kent. We also go ‘On Tour’ several times a year to locations such as mid-Wales and Devon. It is also possible to offer bespoke training by arrangement.
Training might be the quickest and most effective way to improve your riding, but many of us can learn from books. Three complimentary books make up the Survival Skills trilogy, offering insights in three different areas.
Survival SKILLS is the latest book in the series of three written by Kevin Williams of Survival Skills Rider Training. Completely rewritten from the first edition (which was on a CDROM) and laid out as a ‘do it yourself’ guide, this is a highly practical book which shows you how to improve machine control techniques, risk assessment and risk management, and the planning skills that we need to ride well in all environments from filtering in city centre to cornering on rural roads. Whatever your standard, wherever you are taking training, the easy-to-follow practical exercises will help you master advanced motorcycle riding technique.
MIND over MOTORCYCLE explores the often-ignored area of human factors – how our brains interpret the environment around us and allow us to interact with it on a motorcycle that’s capable of travelling far more quickly than the human body was designed for. The book explains the major flaw in road safety, that humans are essentially prone to error, and how a riding strategy that predicts error can help us avoid making them or falling into the traps created by other road users’ unwitting errors.
Tarmac Tactics is the courier rider’s equivalent of the taxi driver’s ‘knowledge’. Drawing on his vast experience of riding, Kevin helps you broaden your knowledge of the road and how to deal with the hazards posed by different riding environments from city centres to mountain tops, from bright sun to snow. Explore the problems we encounter as we ride and discover solutions to deal them. Covering the commonplace – junction collisions for example – and more unusual issues – riding abroad – you can use this book to gain knowledge of situations you’ve not yet encountered and still have solutions ready to deal with them.
and JUST PUBLISHED – December 2018
Science Of Being Seen – the book of the presentation
I know that for every person who wants to read something online, another prefers paperback format – so the SOBS presentation is now available as an inexpensive paperback, available direct from my author page.
Over the years Kevin has contributed hundreds of articles to newspapers and magazines, better-riding blogs, biker forums and advanced club websites. Kevin continues to publish brand-new content on a weekly basis on his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/survivalskills. You don’t need to join FB to read the articles, just follow the link.
Look out for the all-new Rider Skills packs – inexpensive collections of downloadable PDFs that focus on related issues.
Whatever your standard of riding from learner to highly experienced, Kevin’s insights from years of working as a courier and a full-time instructor are bound to help you deal with the 21st century roads. Learn Survival Skills!
If you want understand why Survival Skills is different, look no further than the ‘No Surprise? No Accident!’ safety initiative. No Surprise changes the way we think about training by promoting what’s known as ‘insight training’. Increasingly used in airline pilot training, insight training eschews the conventional ‘more and better skills’ approach, and instead promotes the need for knowledge and understanding to work alongside the technical skills. An important insight is that a key risk factor in motorcycle crashes is surprise. When we’re surprised, whatever our level of technical skill, our training is derailed and we act in unpredictable ways. Kevin is a founder of No Surprise and the Survival Skills challenge is to improve our ability to predict what happens next and prevent surprises.