Advanced motorcycle training

Details of the main advanced riding courses, how they might cut your motorbike insurance premiums, plus their other potential benefits.

Key points

  • Courses can have huge benefits with regard to riding skills and road safety
  • Some courses can lead to insurance premium reductions - but this shouldn't be your primary motivation in taking them
  • Premium savings will not necessarily outweigh the cost of the course
  • Insurers will rate different courses in different ways

No matter how confident we are on our motorbikes, we could all benefit from additional post-test insight and advice from professional riders.

As well as helping to reduce fuel consumption and wear and tear to our motorcycles, advanced riding courses can prepare us for adverse road conditions and help riders to identify a potential danger on the road with enough time to avoid it.

Perhaps most importantly, advanced training can help motorcyclists maintain a strong visible presence on the road.

As revealed by the AA in their 2014 Think Bikes campaign - an initiative to raise drivers' awareness of both motor and pedal cycles - 85% of drivers say that motorcyclists are often hard to see and 40% believe riders are inconsiderate.[1]

Through courses such as the police-run BikeSafe and the government's Enhanced Rider Scheme, bikers can help to reduce those statistics and ensure everyone on the road is safer.

Advanced motorcycle training and your insurance premium

As well as the safety benefits, post-test courses also have the potential to help reduce your motorbike insurance premium.

On 3 November, 2014, Gocompare.com examined 31 motorcycle policies listed on the matrix of independent financial researcher Defaqto and found that 74% of those policies gave an advanced rider discount.

Bear in mind that potential savings may not outweigh the cost of the course - a reduction in your premium shouldn't really be your primary motivation for taking one, though.

If you enter Gocompare.com's quote process to search for a policy you'll have the chance to tell potential insurers of riding qualifications you've achieved

However, in May 2014 insurers Bikesure claimed that, in certain circumstances, they would offer premium reductions of up to 15% for those who had completed a course, while Bennetts said their reductions could be up to 10%.[2]

As with all premium calculations, every policy is rated individually and all insurers have their own underwriting procedures.

"Discounts should only ever be seen as an added bonus," said Robert Balls of Bikesure.

"I don't think riders take courses to get discounts as motorcycle premiums are significantly lower in comparison to private cars.

"This is because exposure to risk is a lot lower - bikes have a lower frequency of accidents, they cost less than cars and they're not typically driven so frequently.

"They tend to be secondary vehicles and most young riders can't take passengers."

If you enter Gocompare.com's quote process to search for a policy you'll have the chance to tell potential insurers of riding qualifications you've achieved and whether you're a member of a biking organisation.

Advanced riding courses

There are many advanced riding courses available in the UK, but not all are recognised by insurers - if a premium reduction is your primary reason for doing a course, contact your insurer beforehand to see whether you'll gain any benefit.Motorbike

In May 2014 the courses detailed below were all recognised by Bikesure and Bennetts, but remember that each insurer is likely to evaluate each course according to their own criteria.

If you complete a course and want to know if you qualify for a premium reduction, contact your insurer and have the full details of the course to hand.

The scope and targeted ability level of each course varies significantly - some last for a day, others will take months of training.

All should be conducted by highly skilled trainers - often serving or retired police riders - whose goal is to ensure you leave understanding your bike, the road and other road users more than you did before. Happy riding!

DVSA Certificate of Competence (Enhanced Rider Bonus)

A government-led initiative, this certificate can be achieved through the Enhanced Rider Scheme.

It begins with a one-to-two-hour ride to assess your skills - a tailored course will be designed for you based on this initial assessment.

As this is such a personalised course, costs vary hugely. Find your local Enhanced Rider Scheme tutor.

Did you know...?

  • Each insurer is likely to evaluate each course according to their own criteria

IAM Motorcycle Test

A five-phase training course and examination held by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM).

As of May 2014, the IAM Motorcycle Test cost £139 and included a better rider handbook plus full IAM membership for 12 months.

RoSPA Gold

RoSPA Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are achieved through a comprehensive 90-minute exam held by serving or retired police officers.

As of May 2014, the cost of the exam itself was £47 for riders 25 or younger and £57 for all other riders. Prior training is essential. Find your local RoSPA-approved training group.

British Motorcyclists Federation Blue Riband

The UK's largest motorcycling organisation, the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), has built up a nationwide training network to offer this advanced rider course.

As of May 2014, final assessment was conducted after a 150-mile course that could either be done in one concentrated day or held over staggered sessions.Scooter

The Blue Riband certificate is valid for three years before requiring a reassessment. The course itself costs approximately £250 and the assessment costs £75.

For details on your nearest trainer visit the BMF website.

Motag Advanced Rider

An independent training school with centres based across England, Motag offer a range of post-test riding courses.

As of May 2014, Motag's Advanced Rider Improvement Course was recognised by many insurers, was planned and arranged to fit your requirements and abilities, was conducted over two days and cost £295.

BikeSafe

BikeSafe workshops are held by regional police forces around the country. Each course is run independently and lasts either one or two days.

Through its combination of practical and theory-based training, BikeSafe claims to bridge the gap between basic test knowledge and more advanced courses.

If you carry a regular pillion passenger they are recommended to join you too, often at no cost or for a minimal fee.

Discounts should only ever be seen as an added bonus
Robert Balls, Bikesure

Costs differ from force to force, but as of May 2014 you could expect to pay roughly £50. Find your local BikeSafe workshop.

Older courses

In addition to the above list there are other courses and riding certificates that no longer exist but that, as of May 2014, are still recognised by some insurers.

These include the Edge initiative, Vision Advanced Gold, National Motorcycle Training Award and MAC Rider Training.

Riders on the Post Test Training Register and all police riders could also see benefits in the form of reduced premiums.

By Dave Jenkins