Chair’s Chatter – March 2015

Two motorbikes and a police officer. One motorbike has fallen over

The importance of lowering your side stand before getting off your bike

I’m sure like me, you have been looking forward to the Spring/Summer. Our Chairman couldn’t wait and booked a biking holiday in New Zealand, hence my chance to write this months Chatter. The winter was not as harsh as last year but still very cold and opportunities to get out on the bike were rare. Nevertheless at LAM we managed to have a full programme for February with both Group meetings and the “SSI”on the 8th Feb, to “the Britannia” at Dungeness, by all accounts also well attended. Thanks to Huw Pritchard for stepping in at short notice to lead the “Associates Only Ride” also to Dungeness.

Our Training Team, led by Mark Jaffe and our Observers have also been active. Putting in time to acquaint themselves with new Radio equipment, supplied by “Intaride”. These bike to bike intercoms will enable our Observers when trained to the required levels, to give directions, give a commentary of their ride and also provide guidance on the move from behind. This is an exciting new development in association with the IAM. Associates, Full members and Trainee Observers will all benefit in the new season if on an Observed Ride. The use of Radios is not mandatory and the sets are offered to Observers who are prepared to use them. Results have shown that their use can lower the amount of OR,s required for each Associate on their way to test and so maximise our potential. With an ever increasing demand on Observers time and Group membership at record levels, efficiency and quality Observed Rides must go hand in hand.

National Observer, Chris Dyson was asked by the IAM to prepare the framework for using bike to bike radios. Chris, with others, including our Training Co-ordinator, is now being invited to deliver briefing sessions on Radio usage by Groups around the country.

Motorcycle Roadcraft Book Cover 1965

Motorcycle Roadcraft Book Cover 1965

Roadcraft Book Cover

Roadcraft Book Cover

Recently I was pleased to receive a copy of “Roadcraft” 1965 edition, from a LAM friend who was sorting through his Late Fathers belongings. His Father had been a Traffic Officer at that time. “Roadcraft” then, was written for the Police rider. The front cover features a Police officer in black uniform astride a black Triumph, resplendent with white gauntlets. Inside the publication there are m any complicated sketches and road scenarios to help the reader understand the principals of Advanced riding. The 2015 edition of “Roadcraft” has photographs and is now written for the civilian rider as well as the Police but the message remains the same. To be a thinking rider and formulate a riding plan.

The “System of Motorcycle” control, pre IPSGA, features in chapter two of the 1965 edition.In those days it was defined as a System or Drill, each feature of which was to be considered in sequence, by the rider at the approach to any hazard. The features of the system were listed as follow:


  • Course selected.
  • Rear observation, signals and brakes.
  • Gear (if necessary)
  • Rear observation and signal.
  • Horn. (if necessary)
  • Rear Observation (lifesaver)
  • Acceleration.

One can see why it was updated to “IPSGA”. In 1965 the “Information phase” wasn’t listed but the emphasis was on observation. The use of the horn was given to two pages, and was a feature of the System. An Audible signal, used to attract the attention of other road users, particular emphasis was placed on the note of the horn. One note, either short or long, according to the traffic conditions and the type of road user for whom it was intended. A cyclist or pedestrian was deserving of a “light tap” on the horn button. A little louder for a motor car driver, and if it is intended to pass a heavy lorry, a much louder and longer note was necessary. It continues on this theme, Great care should be taken when there are animals in the vicinity. If it is absolutely necessary to give warning to persons in charge of animals a very light note should be used. Great stuff…. I was interested in Chapter one which is devoted to the “Ten commandments of Motorcycling”. I have written them below using the exact wording listed.

  1. Page listing the ten commandments of motorcycling from an old version of Road Craft

    Ten Commandments of Motorcycling

    Know the Highway Code by heart and put it into practice.

  2. Concentrate all the time and you will avoid accidents.
  3. Think before Acting.
  4. Exercise restraint and hang back when necessary.
  5. Ride with deliberation and overtake as quickly as possible.
  6. Use speed intelligently and ride fast only in the right places.
  7. Develop your motorcycle sense and reduce wear and tear to a minimum.
  8. Use your horn thoughtfully, give proper signals, never black out your headlight.
  9. Be sure your motorcycle is roadworthy and know its capabilities.
  10. Perfect your road craft and acknowledge courtesies extended to you by other road users.

This seems like a good starting point and covers it all quite nicely. However, I can see why some of the wording was amended.

Well done to all those Associates that have signed up to the Norfolk Training weekend. A weekend that is already fully sold out. Thanks to all the Observers who are also attending that event. If you are an Associate who has missed out, please consider later in July the Kent Training weekend and in September, the Wales Training weekend. A big thanks once again to Pat McNulty who is Organising Norfolk. If you are attending you wont be disappointed.

Priority booking for Norfolk was given to Associate members and as such all the places were quickly taken. Full members may feel disappointed at being left out but you may find accommodation at nearby B and Bs. We would certainly like to see some of you there. Going forward, as this event is proving more popular we may have to seek alternative venues in the future.

We look forward to seeing Full members at Group meetings at Banstead and Tatsfield. You enhance the experience and add to the quality we provide.

Finally on behalf of Norton our Chairman and the LAM committee I would like to welcome all our new members in February and good luck on your way to the IAM test.

Next month Norton returns to this column following a well earned break.

Ride Safe.

Nigel Green
Vice Chairman

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