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An analysis of Survival Skills training

From Paul:

“The only training I’ve done before was the CBT/DAS last year, followed by the IAM stuff later in the year (passed test in November). Done a couple of slow control days with the local IAM group, and did Bikesafe recently.

“IAM & Bikesafe were a “civilianised” version of Roadcraft and as such were fairly inflexible in promoting the concepts therein, particularly positioning/cornering lines.

Kevin’s approach was based around giving us more “tools in the toolbox” and getting us to understand the pro’s & con’s of any course of action. He was also more “real world”. An example of this was on a LH bend (country road) – I’m positioned just inside the white line a la Roadcraft. Kevin asks me later what do I actually lose if I sit a couple of feet inside the line – my answer; I lose very little in terms of view and gain in terms of safety margin re someone coming the other way on/over the white lines. I’ve been working out for myself for a little while that taking “extreme” positions doesn’t necessarily confer advantage, but it was really good to have someone with Kevin’ knowledge/experience to give me “permission” to do it.

Conceptually, Kevin’s training seems to be based on the practical/what works best approach that not only allows for mistakes from yourself and others but shows you what to do to avoid them or cope with them if it happens. It also (very importantly!) looks at machine control skills which in Roadcraft, as far as I can see, are noticeable mainly by their absence.”

Paul’s done a good job of encapsulating the Survival Skills approach to riding. Look for the benefit of any particular manoeuvre, and temper your decision whether to make it by the potential for it going wrong.

Extended positions in bends can give great extra views – but in many cases, they give no worthwhile extra view but put the rider at far greater risk.

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