At the end of May, Canada hosted the ERTS (European Rider Training Symposium). This was staged and implemented by the FIM recognised CMA (Canadian Motorcycle Association) and the CSC –Canada Safety Council. A few instructors were selected, myself included, to present specific modules during the event aimed at assisting the attendees. The delegates were my peers, motorcycle instructors from around the world who looked forward to new training experiences, and viewing the levels of instruction riders receive in Canada.
As North America is the home of the great cruiser- Indian, and Harley-Davidson, there was indeed a cruiser module offered. Also an impressive police demo module using Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. We also presented a scooter module sponsored by KYMCO; dirt bike course (with an additional focus on training youth) and my module, advanced rider training using BMW Motorrad Canada’s fleet of motorcycles.
It was a stellar event with an added bonus for me due to the attendance of the KNMV (Royal Dutch Motorcycle Association) instructors from the Netherlands! These were old friends I knew and had worked with in The Netherlands. It was a reunion for me and you can imagine how I enjoyed being able to speak my Dutch with the “jonges”!
My only negative about the event, was the fact that while I was occupied giving the lessons with the continuous rotation of groups, I missed my chance to experience the other modules. I would have enjoyed the police bike challenge, you know, small turns on a huge wide motorcycle! But I did manage to grab a few rounds on the race track (Toronto Motorsport Park) Friday after completion on the Can Am Spyder by BRP. And later a quick ride through the off road module given by my old friend Clinton Smout.
Teaching to your peers also required a cross over in method from training learners and intermediates. Coaching to rather well trained motorcycle instructors requires bumped up level techniques which fell easily into place from my side what with teaching race licensing in Europe.
The attendees financed the trip it’s fees / costs including travel which included places throughout USA, Europe, even Guatemala! The symposium is highly reputed and it’s a must for those in the motorcycle training profession.
Like anything else, you’ve got to ensure your skills don’t expire and are up-to-date with training methods.
Furthermore as an authority, one needs to be well versed with up and coming trends in motorcycle safety and instruction. As an example, ABS (Anti Lock Braking Systems) will be by 2017, mandatory on all motorcycles. ABS has existed for a number of years yet many instructors in North America have not yet tried ABS on a motorcycle. Quite the opposite when comparing to Europe where most have it on their motorcycles already! North America has a long way to go regarding training basics in most categories. And as my Dutch colleague Frits Lindeman, an expert in motorcycle accident causes stated- a decade ago the focus [in The Netherlands] was on skills. Now there’s a higher importance placed on risk assessment. It is recognised that most riders only ride as fast as their skill level permits. When these skills are improved upon, it was discovered that this simply created faster riders. By evaluating riding techniques an instructor is now able to coach and teach the rider how to recognise the potential dangers surrounding them.
As a motorcycle instructor for over 25 years, I can assure you, those who are serious about the task are eternally evaluating, advancing and bringing to you better motorcycle management concepts. Better tactics and methods to ensure skill and security while you motor along and enjoy motorcycling!