Survival Skills Rider Training is one of the longest-established post-test training schools in the UK. Survival Skills was established by Kevin Williams in 1997 and has been offering advanced and development training to qualified riders ever since.
ABOUT KEVIN WILLIAMS
“A good advanced course won’t just deliver a fixed syllabus. As well as fixing what you thought you were weak in, it will show you what you didn’t know you needed to know! Rather than change your style, wherever possible the new skills should fit in around your existing style of riding.”
Kevin Williams MSc: BTEC QUALIFIED ADVANCED INSTRUCTOR – sixteen years as a courier, two decades in rider training
After working as a courier for 16 years, I’ve been working in motorcycle training full time since 1995. I am one of the very few BTEC-qualified instructors which means I’m independently assessed (via Edexel) to carry out advanced and improver training. In that time I’ve taught around one thousand riders at advanced level, and around a thousand more to DSA test standard – I was a CBT and DAS instructor from 1995 to 2007. I was provisionally accepted onto the DVSA’s Register of Post-test Motorcycle Trainers (RPMT) but as registration depends on sending them a very large cheque, I’m in no hurry to take that up. I’m also an NVQ-qualified e-tutor and so uniquely, Survival Skills can offer an online e-course covering all aspects of advanced riding. And finally I hold a Masters degree in the biological sciences which gives me an unparalleled ability to look at the physiology and psychology of riding and road safety. As a former member of the National Motorcycle Escort Group, my own riding has been assessed at the highest standard and I’ve marshalled UK championship cycle races.
I also write extensively. From 2002 to 2014, I wrote the safety column for the Motorcycle Action Group published in their journal ‘The Road” – the articles are now published as a pair of paperbacks; ‘The MAG Columns’ and ‘The MAG Columns 2 – the end of the road’. I’ve written two other books on riding, the latest is ‘Tarmac Tactics’ which looks at ‘the knowledge’ you need to ride on the road and deal safely with hazards, the other is an in-depth look at the psychology of riding, called ‘MIND over MOTORCYCLE’. I’m currently working on the third book that will make up the set of three called ‘Survival Skills’ which looks at the techniques required to ride the bike, as well as a handbook for all motorcycle trainers.
Survival Skills riding tips have featured in the Daily Telegraph motorcycle column and the mainstream motorcycle press, including ‘The little RiDE book of Emergencies, ‘Superbike’, and ‘Two Wheels Only’. Our articles have been published by a number of advanced riding group magazines including ‘Riders’ (Kent Advanced Motorcyclists group), ‘Slipstream’ (Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists), ‘Martlett’ (Sussex) and many others.
SURVIVAL SKILLS IN PARTNERSHIP
Survival Skills Rider Training has been chosen to work on rider safety initiatives by a number of different organisation. I was contracted to research and produce the text for a series of rider safety aids, currently being published by the European Motorcycle Manufacturers’ Association, ACEM as the “Lucky 13” series of cartoons. I currently deliver a safer riding module on behalf of Kent Fire and Rescue as part of their ‘Biker Down’ accident management and first aid course and also work with them on their ‘Ride Skills’ days at Brands Hatch. Previously I worked with Somerset Road Safety Partnership for three years assisting on their ‘Better Biking’ days delivering an innovative rider safety module. I was formally an approved assessor for Buckinghamshire County Council for the ‘Be a Better Biker Scheme’.
ABOUT OUR TRAINING COURSES
The intent of the Survival Skills post-test rider training courses is to bridge the gap from the basic riding skills taught by training schools to pass CBT and the standard DfT/DVSA riding test to a level of riding on a par with or even beyond the standards required to pass the UK advanced riding tests offered by organisations like the IAM, RoSPA and the DIA.
Survival Skills courses are, by deliberate intent, highly relevant to real-life riding. We take a pragmatic view of riding. Everyone on the road, including bikers, makes mistakes so we aim to help you understand why riders and drivers make errors, how to avoid them, and how to get out of trouble when things do go wrong. Rather than teach ‘perfect skills’, we believe that the correct approach to rider training is in fact to understand why we get into trouble on two wheels, to learn to stay out of trouble whenever possible, but to have the knowledge and the technique to get out of trouble when we find ourselves in it.
It is our training to deal with the ‘worst case scenario’ that sets Survival Skills apart from other training courses. To this end, our courses are designed:
1) to make riders fully awareness of the risks of powered two wheeler use
2) to encourage riders develop a full and frank understanding of the mistakes that all riders make
3) to help riders develop the correct responses to mistakes by themselves and others
4) to assist riders in developing a riding skills and adopting a personal riding strategy that is enjoyable and avoids riding errors and high risk behaviour
Survival Skills may emphasise how to reduce risk but we don’t think that makes riding dull. Motorcycling is an enjoyable activity, but it’s a lot more enjoyable if we don’t scare ourselves every time we ride. By staying out of trouble, riding is a lot more fun! And with our ‘Basics’ courses costing just £60 for two hours tuition, no-one can say advanced training is too expensive!
Our ‘base’ course is the two day ‘Survival: SKILLS’ course’ which covers core advanced riding skills in rural and urban environments, but because we recognise all riders are different and by addressing your own skills and weaknesses as well as your own riding needs, we also offer a wide range of courses specifically designed to meet the differing needs of riders at different stages of personal development.
Our development Confidence: BUILDER course is a very flexible day aimed at anyone from newly qualified riders to returning riders, to anyone needing to deal with a riding issue, including riders who’ve taken post-test training elsewhere and are struggling to put the concepts into practice. Our Performance: BENDS and Performance: SPORT courses look at the skills needed for successful rural roads riding and cornering crash avoidance, whilst our one day Survival: URBAN course is a one day session majoring on urban riding and collision avoidance. We even offer courses in France to get used to riding on the right-hand side of the road and different traffic rules.
This means that rather than feed everyone into a ‘standard’ course with a standard syllabus, we can offer courses for individual needs. We don’t require progress-oriented riding on our courses, and because we’re not tied to a particular riding test you don’t need to conform to a particular style just to pass it either. Rather, we give you the skills and knowledge to make your own decisions and pick your own pace. Our goal is to help you develop your own style.
Accordingly all our courses are carefully structured thus avoiding ad hoc delivery. Course content has been researched in depth, is exhaustively tested and subject to continual review and improvement. As an independent school we are free to draw content from a wide variety of sources. For example, we draw on “Motorcycle Roadcraft” from the UK, Keith Code’s “A Twist of the Wrist” and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s training programmes from the USA, and the “Ride On” scheme from Australia. We’ve looked at numerous books on better riding such as Pat Hahn’s “Ride Hard, Ride Smart” and Nick Ienatsch’s “Sport Riding Techniques”. We’ve read hundreds of research papers on motorcycling and accident studies from the 1970s “Hurt Report” to the more recent MAIDS Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study.
Courses are structured and employ proven teaching techniques. Using the “learning loop” of explanation, demonstration, practice and correction, you are set clearly understandable and achievable goals at all times. ‘Best Practice’ as laid out for the RPMT has long been in place, with flexible lesson planning and risk-assessed training routes, and learning goals individually tailored and learning outcomes assessed. Survival Skills was an early adopter of training aids such as radios, video presentations and on-bike cameras.
Finally, we can call on my own practical experience of over 30 years as a professional rider. Many of the lessons covered have been personally learned the hard way during my time in the despatch industry!
WHO TRAINS WITH US
We’ve had trainees travel from Namibia, Canada and New Zealand, as well as from all over the UK to take a Survival Skills course, and we’ve trained everyone from newly qualified riders to police motorcycle riders.
ON THE DAY
Your course begins before you start. We’ll offer advice on which course to choose to suit you via email or telephone, and provide comprehensive briefing notes about what’s to come. One and two day courses usually start at 10am with a briefing over a coffee and last about 5 hours per day, with a short break for a bite to eat mid-course. Unless you opt for training with a friend or partner (when we add an extra hour) they are 1:1. Courses are short and intensive, typically covering around 75-85 miles per session. We avoid long days and lots of miles because training is tiring and we know you need to ride to get to us and then have to get home again, a journey which can be dangerous if you are exhausted. We’ll follow up the course with a comprehensive debrief and suggested plan for further development. Finally and uniquely, full post course support is provided by email and via our Facebook page.