Returned rider courses lack support

Returned rider road safety course

Returned rider numbers are growing and so is their representation in road crash statistics, yet two specialised road safety courses for returned riders are suffering from a lack of funding and promotion.

In 2014, the South Australian Government offered free courses to returned riders and 50cc scooter riders with a car licence.

However, it now costs $116 for a 3.5-hour course and Ulysses Club spokesman Neville Gray says the Returning to Riding Course is suffering from a lack of promotion and patronage.

“Unfortunately the course has not been well advertised by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) and it is really up to the various rider groups, mainly the Ulysses Club, to promote its existence,” he says.

Ulysses members have pointed out to Police & Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas that the annual rego comes with an insert selling customised number plates but nothing related to road safety, specifically the Returning Rider program.

“We have tackled them on this lack of promotion but we still see no increased activity on this front,” he says.

“To my knowledge, about five courses have been run this year meaning that the total uptake so far is around 50 students with 10 per course.”

A similar course in the ACT has now lost its subsidy.

Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT (MRA ACT) spokesperson Nicky Hussey says their Mature Age Skills Training for Experienced RiderS (MASTERS) course has been running since 2008.

“We’ve received partial funding in the past from the NRMA-ACT Road Safety Trust,” Nicky says.

“This had now been disbanded as CTP in the ACT has been opened up to competition.

“However the ACT Govt, has accepted the Inquiry into Vulnerable Road Users recommendation that they provide funding going forward.”

MotorbikeWriter and red-wine-drinking-partner Grant Roff on the Yamaha SR400 media launch in Melbourne returned

The course, delivered by Stay Upright, now costs $139. Nicky says they run only two or three courses a year but they are always fully subscribed, with positive feedback from participants.

Nev, who attended the SA trial course to establish the syllabus, says the course focusses on road craft, rider position on the machine, eye focus points, hazard perception techniques and most importantly, hazard avoidance techniques.

“The three experienced riders all got remedial attention and got pulled up for displaying bad habits and at the end of the day, all rusty riders got better and better during the course with noticeably greatly increased confidence levels,” he says.

“All agreed at the end of the day that it was well worth the time and effort and if we were paying for it, the money.”

MRA ACT spokesperson Jenny Woods says their course also receives a lot of positive feedback.

Returned rider joke road safety course
Just kidding, folks!

“Many comment on the value of having learnt and practised slow riding, braking and cornering, even basics are learned anew – head checks, scanning etc,” she says.

“The course was put in place because there were too many crashes of riders who hadn’t ridden for many years (many never having undertaken any training initially) and getting back on bikes which of course were quite different to what they had been used to back in the day.

We did a follow up feedback on a group and asked if they felt the course had long-term benefits and the response was positive.”


  1. Skill Master Motorcycle Services offers rider training similar courses and amazing one on one training – for anyone and everyone interested in riding……….returned riders, new riders, lady riders, fast riders…….. and at any time of the year. You can contact them via facebook or via the website I am not employed by the business in any way shape or form, but certainly would not be riding as well if it wasn’t for the training I received. Plus Paul, that runs Skill Master is a great advocate for rider training, is very skilled (being ex-paramedic motorcyclist) and trainer of VIC paramedic motorbike riders) and was also one of the sponsors for the Dubbo Women’s World Record Attempt.

  2. It is rather silly that many riders are happy to pay anything from $500 to $2000 for electronic rider aids but complain about spending a few hundred dollars on rider training. Rider aids are of limited value at best. For example, the only thing ABS does is help control the brakes, which is only of value if you aren’t good at doing it yourself, it doesn’t work well in all conditions, and skilled riders find that it interferes with good bike control. The money spent on rider aids is only of benefit for as long as you own the bike, or until the system fails (sooner or later all electronic devices fail). On the other hand, rider training teaches a wide range of skills including bike control skills and road craft. And you will have those skills for the rest of your life. Rider training should be far more extensive and compulsory for all new or returning riders.

  3. Recent research in one eastern state suggests that returning riders may represent between 10% and 40% of ALL post-licence course attendees (variable depending on the provider and course). That is, they appear to be attending training in good numbers, but are not necessarily choosing a so-called ‘Returning rider’ course. However, given that it is very difficult to define and identify how many riders are ‘returning’ or recently ‘returned’, it is also difficult to estimate how many or what proportion of them are seeking training. The extent to which they are likely to benefit depends on many factors, but there are no doubt many who won’t ever seek out voluntary training no matter how big the carrot.

  4. The reason rider or driver training courses are not promoted funded or supported by the powers that be is that accident numbers would drop and people would start to see that speed is not the enemy it’s made out to be so the support they think they have for speed cameras would evaporate and thus the revenue would drop. Sounds crazy but there are people who actually think like that and they often seek out jobs where can have some kind of power. If you don’t believe me just rent a copy of the Pelican brief the imagine if the king of people involved were low level bureaucrats,

  5. This sort of thing needs to be compulsory. As a returned rider I was shocked how much of my old skills had disappeared (if they were ever there in the first place!) It is amazing how much you learn from a good course, then practising the new concepts on a closed track. (Such as Marulan near Sydney). Have tried all the main trainers in and around Sydney. Although the most expensive, the California Superbike School seems to have got far more through my thick skull than the others put together. The theory lectures really seem to get the point across brilliantly, while on the track you get 1 tutor for every 3 riders and get seriously useful feedback each time you go out on the track. If you think it is all too expensive or you aren’t going to learn much or you can do it on a Harley (Insert excuse here) you are deluded!! Disclosure: – I don’t know any of the trainers and have no affiliation – just another mug punter who was shocked how much you can learn – even at 60 after a lifetime of riding and driving V8 Holdens at the max.

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