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Monday, 4 July 2011

Cubbie...and BikeSafe.

I've been trying to get on the BikeSafe course for years, but never got around to it, or remembered to apply in time and all that stuff. This year, after a talk from Grampian Police at the bike club, I pestered all the Grumpy members to go on BikeSafe with me. And some of them did. Not many, but enough to get a group together and make a good showing at Aberdeen police station when we turned up on Sunday for the course. I was pleased - no, amazed to find a total of 3 Triumphs belonging to 'students' and 1 Triumph belonging to the Advanced Motorcyclist who helps out, parked up outside the station, and Cubbie made 5. In case you don't know, there are no tests or exams on the BikeSafe course, it doesn't aim to make you a faster rider, or turn you into an 'advanced' rider, it is merely intended to help make riders more aware, and therefore safer, on the road.

Can't tell you too much, cos that would spoil your enjoyment of reading all about it in Old Bike Mart one day soon, but in brief, the day started with a DVD all about filtering, junctions, overtaking and the like, complete with some rather weird computer simulations of riders doing stupid things and being smashed to bits between cars - all based on real life scenarios, sorry, road traffic collisions. Then we were split into two groups, the one I was in went out on the road first for the observed rides, while the others partook of some up to date first aid advice. The riding was observed by either a police motorcyclist or the advanced rider, and frequent stops allowed for feedback and advice.

After returning to the station a couple of hours later we were most certainly ready for lunch. After that it was our turn for the first aid bit. That was rather good as the speaker demonstrated helmet removal and how to turn a casualty over should it be necessary. Turns out that if you stumble upon a casualty out on the roads, after making sure all is safe, if they're breathing you just leave them be (calling the emergency services goes without saying, I hope!) - no hauling them into the recovery position for risk of damaging the spine, but if they're not breathing, then you must roll them onto their back and 'make' them breath - we were shown the 'new' jaw thrust technique - no more of the tilting the head back to clear the airway, because, again, that would put the spine in danger should there be any injuries to the back or neck. Have to say, I'm not all that confident I could master the jaw thrust, it looked easy when he showed us (it's a bit sore when he demonstrates on your own jaw!), and it sounds easy enough, but in real life....anyway, here's how you do it -

Kneel at the top of the casualty's head.
Rest your elbows on the surface where casualty is lying.
Place one hand on each side of the casualty's lower jaw at the angle of the jaw, below the ears.
Stabilize the casualty's head with your forearms.
Use the index fingers to push the angles of the patient's lower jaw forward.

After that, a guy from a local bike shop who doubles as a Special Constable took us through a bit of bike maintenance, most of which didn't apply to such an ancient machine as Cubbie! Then it was time to go home.

So there it is, I've done it, and so has Cubbie. I'm not convinced that all of the techniques apply to slower machines / riders though. For example, taking a nice long sweeping right-hander, you should place yourself as close to the left hand verge as is safe, thus giving maximum view of the road ahead and any hazards, but with a max warp speed factor of 50mph on Cubbie, I felt that I was giving an open invitation to car drivers to overtake me. So with some more advice, I modified that positioning slightly, and will take such bends a little further in from the verge. And stick my elbows out to make my presence on the road 'greater'. I could have said bigger there but you'd only tell me to eat more chocolate!

All in all, a good day out, and not bad for £20. And besides, what harm can extra advice from professional riders do?


Bodger said...

Sounds like a good program, especially if they're teaching/showing lines of travel for bends etc.

Makes for safer riding except for the SMIDSYs out there who really need the help.

Anonymous said...

That sounds interesting and it's done down here in Dorset, but over 2 days.

The jaw thingy's new to me, but the leave them alone if at all possible, was what I was taught 10 or so years ago.

Setting up corners - I agree with the wide as possible, and I guess sticking your elbows out would be quite funny to see, but if it's what the 'sperts say, then ....

Do they still tell you to keep an eye on the apex - and if it's coming towards you - PANIC!


Darrell said...

Looks like it was a good experience and a good thing to do as well.
We don't have many programs like that here. The MSF has something similar.

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...


Are you (have you) planning on doing the course NG? Re the apex thingy, more or less, but by the end of the DVD session in the morning you're supposed to be reading the road well enough not to let the apex catch you out!

You're right Bodge, nothing can sort them out, sadly.

Hairy Larry said...

Sounds like a good program. Lately I've been seeing a lot of young "Squids" who could benefit from some instruction in safe riding. "Lane-splitting" is legal here in California...but so many people haven't a clue on how to do it safely, or when it's appropriate. It doesn't help that the law is very vague. I've read that it goes back to when most bikes were air-cooled, and it was originally allowed so you wouldn't overheat your motor. As done by a lot of yahoos here, it tends to overheat other drivers...

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about it in fits and starts, but as it's over 2 days I haven't managed to get organised enough.

One day, one day ....


Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Lane splitting to cool your bike? Sounds like a good idea! Guess thats the same as filtering in the UK. Cubbie loves filtering, and its very necessary to keep it cool and keep it running - no tick over ya see. A lot of bikers on the other forums I visit complain about car drivers blocking their path when they filter - well how many of them take a second to put a hand up and offer a thank-you wave after someone has let them pass? They gotta remember, it works both ways.

It took me years to 'organise' going on the 1 day course NG so by the sounds of it, you stand no chance!

Anonymous said...

"... well how many of them take a second to put a hand up and offer a thank-you wave after someone has let them pass? They gotta remember, it works both ways".

I couldn't agree more, a little common courtesy goes a long way.

"It took me years to 'organise' going on the 1 day course NG so by the sounds of it, you stand no chance!"

Um, so what you sayin' ........... ah, yeah, message coming thru'!

I'd just like to say to everyone out there on the whopping Weird Web that her most GBC ness and I have never met, but she knows me so well .......


Hairy Larry said...

No tick-over? Are ya running full-advance and an Amal GP on Cubbie?

Darrell said...

"MSF"= Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They run the majority of bike courses here and are recognized by basically every state for license and insurance issues.
They have an "Experienced Rider" course that sounds like the one you did, but its mainly on a range not the road.


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