Fleet News

Safer doesn’t necessarily mean slower, says IAM

Advanced Training & Rider Performance, a new report launched by the IAM, has shown that the organisation’s advanced system of riding really does deliver sustainable benefits in anticipation, better road positioning and swift but safe progress in a wide range of road environments.

One of the first systematic motorcycle simulator studies into rider behaviour, the research was undertaken by the Centre for Motorcycle Ergonomics & Rider Human Factors at the University of Nottingham. The study was designed to ascertain whether or not riders who have passed the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) Advanced Riding Test, ride differently to those that haven’t taken this further training. The findings demonstrated clearly that IAM riders took up safer road positions and kept to urban speed limits, but actually made better progress through bends than non IAM-trained riders and beginners.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “We work to promote safer riding, and we educate riders to maintain momentum and progress where possible. So we were pleased to learn that IAM-trained riders adopted the safest road position to deal with hazards while still managing to achieve the quickest time through tight and medium bends. The evidence shows that it was due to their approach and positioning up to and through the bends. Non IAM-trained riders tended to approach faster but then had to overcompensate for the error, slowing while in the bend itself, where the machine is at its least stable.

“The IAM riders also rode closer to the centre line on the left hand bend than the other two groups, and further away from the centre line on right hand bends. This positioning extends the riders’ line of vision as far as possible around the bend, giving earlier awareness of hazards that could be lurking around the corner, as well as making them more visible to oncoming traffic.”

‘Road-side furniture’ near to the side of the road on bends caused a big psychological effect. The average speed of all riders reduced when barriers or trees were in close proximity to the road. When there was road-side furniture adjacent to the right side of the road on a left-hand bend all rider groups rode further away from the centre line, thus moving away from the perceived danger. Even so, IAM-trained riders positioned themselves significantly closer to the centre line. This demonstrates that they didn’t give up too much of their position to the apparent threat of a solid object, but maintained a good riding style to tackle the bend.
IAM riders again appeared to have the greatest awareness of the risks in a more urban environment. In the 40mph zone their riding style was more defensive than the other groups; they rode closer to the centre line when approaching a side road on the left than the Novice riders, and more slowly than the Experienced riders. This placed them as far from potential hazards as possible and better prepared them to stop if necessary. IAM riders also tended to display lower speeds and applied greater brake pressure than the other groups.

Greig continued: “IAM riders also appear to have a more responsible attitude towards their riding. Participants in the study took a hazard perception task, and the IAM riders were quicker to identify hazards and were more likely to blame poor rider behaviour for the situation than non-IAM riders, strongly suggesting that their riding attitude is more defensive.”

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