Station Remains BikeSafe

RAF High Wycombe recently hosted the Metropolitan Police BikeSafe Team, who delivered an interactive workshop to help improve the skills of 20 RAF motorcyclists.

The 10 advanced police riders who facilitated the day are trained to be amongst the safest drivers on the road, and the RAF High Wycombe BikeSafe Day on 25th August allowed them to provide detailed briefings on hazard awareness and how to make motorcycling safer.

Road accidents remain the biggest single cause of fatalities within the Service, and in the past 5 years 7 RAF personnel have been killed whilst riding motorcycles.

Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Parker, Air Officer Commanding 2 Group, took part in the event, and said “motorcycles are great fun but the statistics are very worrying. We must do all that we can to increase everyone’s awareness of bike safety.”

He continued “The BikeSafe course is an excellent way to raise awareness. The Police specialists provide the best guidance available, pitching at exactly the right level for each rider’s experience. Above all it offers the opportunity for a great day out, is classed as duty, and is paid for by 38 Group – what a great initiative! I would recommend it to all riders within the whole force.”

A morning of roadcraft theory in the European Air Group Conference Room was followed by an on-road assessed ride where an experienced BikeSafe assessor provided participants with detailed one-to-one feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their riding. ESS once again supported the event by providing free catering for the riders and police instructors.

The organiser of High Wycombe’s BikeSafe, Sqn Ldr Stephen Sharpe, said “personally, as a keen motorcyclist for a considerable number of years, I am all too aware of instances where riders, irrespective of their level of experience find themselves involved in serious crashes.”

He continued “the fact is that the majority of these crashes are avoidable and all too often involve basic errors of judgement with things as simple as road positioning, defensive riding, hazard awareness and excess speed. The aim of BikeSafe is simply to reduce the unacceptably high rate of powered two-wheeler casualties on the roads of the UK.”

This initiative is just one element of the RAF’s overall road safety strategy. Presently the RAF is engaged with ‘The Honest Truth’ road safety partnership, a new initiative aimed at addressing the main dangers affecting the whole force. This, together with the monthly road safety programme undertaken by stations, as well as the Rose Bowl road safety award which was recently won by RAF Benson, demonstrates the huge importance the RAF places on the safety of its personnel.

The Met Police BikeSafe team are tasked with providing information rather than a qualification, which is why this was an awareness event and not a training scheme. The goal is to provide an enjoyable and informative day for the riders who will hopefully go on to participate in further advanced training with either the Institute of Advanced Motoring or The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.