What is IAM? IAM stands for ‘Institute of Advanced Motorists’ though in the UK and now NZ.
It’s NOT about being a ‘better’ or faster rider, though most of us find ourselves making far better progress with more confidence. Nor is it a training or instructor-based system. Instead the IAM RoadSmart is a registered charity dedicated to promoting better driving and riding. Think of it as a self-taught programme that you’re mentored through with your Observer.
A rider starts as an Associate learning a planned system of riding based on the UK Police riders’ system and adapted for us. Think of it as an advanced defensive riding system where you’re constantly identifying and planning for potential and real hazards. You’re learning to be in right place, at the right time, with the ability to act in the best way, whether that’s to make a quick decisive overtake or avoid a car parked on the verge half way around a tight corner.
Note: this isn’t for new riders. It’s for experienced riders or newer riders who have been through all the Ride Forever courses first.
The first step for any aspiring rider is to fill out a form online and be taken on an assessment ride. That will form a baseline to work from.
If you and the assessor agree it’s a good idea then you join up as an Associate, come on our social rides, and (when one is free) get allocated an Observer. Around once per month you’ll go on an Observed Ride. After several Observed rides, and lots of practice, you can sit the Advanced Rider Test to become a full member. Note that part of the final test is on the NZ Motorcycle Road Code.
We love it, and now ride differently, with more confidence, and enjoyment. It’s about making good safe progress and in doing so adds another level to our bike enjoyment. The only cost is the membership fee; we are all volunteers (though we have a great practice whereby an associate buys the coffee on an Observed Ride!).
You’re welcome to talk to any IAM RoadSmart full member that you know. Current full members within Ulysses Nelson, who have passed the Advanced Test are: Barry Ward, Tim Monck-Mason, Bob Griffith, Derek O’Beirne, John McDonald, Boyd Croucher. Tim, Barry and Bob are full Observers, Derek, Boyd and John Trainee Observers.
Like all good things it takes time – and going through the system takes time as you lose some old habits and make some new ones. But we’re are never too old to learn.
If you’re interested in coming on a social ride please contact one of us first – it’s not a fully open ride but we do love inviting riders to come along. Riders can learn a lot from just watching others on our social rides whilst they wait for an observer. Plus, it’s fun! Contact Barry at the Saturday Coffee mornings for more information.