Australian riders are desperately short of road craft advanced riding courses after the closure of a subsidised course on the Gold Coast five years ago.
Rider Tod Parkes asked us if there were any road craft courses available to teach advanced survival skills to licensed riders in the real world of riding.
SMART road craft course
One of the best dedicated motorcycle road craft courses held on public roads was the Safe Motorcycle Advanced Rider Training course.
It was established and subsidised by the Gold Coast City Council in 2007 and endorsed by Mick Doohan.
Funding was cancelled in 2012 because councillors believed it was subsidising riders who were not ratepayers.
It was a very shortsighted decision considering the course was held in the Gold Coast hinterland where riders from all over Australia were coming to ride and spend their dollar.
Any crashes in the area actually became a burden on the Gold Coast local emergency services and health infrastructure.
Gold Coast police traffic branch officer in charge Snr Sgt Bradyn Murphy has said the course contributed to reducing the region’s motorcycle rider toll from 25 in 2007 to four in 2012.
It has since increased into the double digits again.
“If it’s a matter of money for council, I’m sure people wouldn’t mind paying at least $100 when you consider what other courses cost,” he said.
“What price do you put on your life? It’s like an insurance policy.”
Councillor Dawn Crichlow, who chaired the relevant committee when SMART was operating, had hoped to reinstate the award-winning training course.
However, it now seems a dead issue.
“There are no plans to reinstate the rider training courses,” she now says.
“We are working with Police and Transport and Main Roads as part of our joint road safety taskforce, around motorcycle driver behaviours and education – we are promoting a number of private providers of motorcycle safety education.”
One of their initiatives is this safety brochure as part of their 2015-2020 road safety plan.
Tod says that since SMART closed, he has been searching for a similar course that “doesn’t just focus on track skills as the end point”.
“It is really frustrating trying to find a course to do when I have already done an intermediate with Stay Upright and all the alternatives are based on the presumption I want to go faster at the track,” he says.
“I want to improve my road craft, to improve my feet-up turning, to iron out those bad habits, etc.
“There seems to be a huge gap in the market that doesn’t satisfy this.”
All learner motorcycle courses include a section on road craft, but most advanced rider courses are track oriented or mainly held in off-road areas such as carparks.
Tod suggests riders be able to do a modified version of the police motorcycle training courses, but they are also based in off-road areas.
Apart from the courses mentioned at the start of this article, rider trainer James Canny, of Melbourne, says he offers one-on-one road craft training on the road.
Perhaps the reason for the scarcity of road-based road craft courses for advanced riders is that riders are not interested.
We have to do a course to get a licence so there are a plenty of learner trainers available.
However, advanced riding courses are not mandatory and perhaps many licensed riders believe they already have enough road craft skills.
- Have you done a road-based road craft advanced course for licensed riders? We’d like to hear about your experiences and recommendations.