Kevin's first experience of advanced training was in the early 1990s but
after many years as a courier, the experience left something to be desired. How can a courier be too slow?
Kevin then ran advanced training on behalf of Cinque Ports Motorcycle Training
in 1996, but quickly realised that a proper risk-based syllabus was needed to replace
the ad-hoc methods in use at the time.
So in 1997, Survival Skills was launched with a syllabus that took the best bits from 'Motorcycle Roadcraft' but didn't follow it slavishly. There are important contibutions to be made to better riding from outside the UK too. So our courses have taken inspiration from Keith Code and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the US, and the 'Ride On' safety video from Australia, as well as US authors including Pat Hahn, Nick Ienatsch and David Hough.
Over the years, we've continued to look beyond UK police practice to find the best training methods from around the world. In particular, Survival Skills was one of the first training schools to question the relevance of 'progress' as a goal of advanced riding.
Pioneering the use of modern training aids like bike- to-bike radios,
portable video presentations, and on-bike cams, we were early adopters
of 'best practice' such as flexible lesson planning and risk-assessed training
"Although I was already using informal lesson plans", Kevin explains, " my BTEC course emphasised the importance of a more formal approach to designing training. They don't make for rigid lessons but they help immensely with preparation and planning."
Kevin has trained getting on for 3000 riders at CBT, 125, Direct Access and post-test level, with around one third of those taking advanced training . With experience training everyone from 16 to 70, male and female, brain surgeon (really!) and tree surgeon, of all levels and abilities from complete beginners to TT racers (yes, really!), grasstrack riders, British trials champions and even police riders, you’re in good hands if you book a course.
From 2002-12, Kevin wrote the ‘Staying Alive’ column in ‘The Road” and
for the last year has had a column in the 'Riders Digest' magazine. Kevin's
work, has featured in the Daily Telegraph, and he has contributed to safety
features in ‘Bike’, ‘Superbike’, 'RiDE' and 'Two Wheels Only' magazines.
Kevin says: "I'm immensely proud of the 'Lucky 13' cartoons that were published a few years ago. I was commissioned by the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (ACEM) to research and storyboard a series of cartoons featuring the hazards posed by the roadway and road design itself. My stories were illustrated by a Belgian graphic studio and the resulting cartoons have been translated into almost a dozen different languages. Sadly, they're recently been taken down from the ACEM website. That's a shame because I think they are a valuable resource, particularly for younger riders.
The value of the Survival Skills approach has been recognised by official
organisations. Kevin was first approached by Buckinghamshire County Council
in 2004 and worked on their 'Be a Better Biker' scheme, offering approved
training courses as well as coaching on their training days. Subsequently,
in between 2008 and 2010, he worked with Somerset Road Safety Partnership
on their pioneering 'Rider Skills' days at Castle Coombe circuit where
he presented a roadcraft module. Their innovative approach was to call
in expert instructors like myself and Mike Hopp to deliver a workshop with
a mix of classroom and practical training, together with track sessions
on the circuit.
Most recently, Kevin has worked with Kent Fire and Rescue Service on the Prince Michael of Kent international road safety award-winning 'Biker Down' first aid and accident management course where he presents a collision avoidance module. Kevin also works with KFRS on their 'Ride Skills' days at Brands Hatch.
Some of my bikes and a few of the places I've ridden them
The incomparable Joey Dunlop at the Isle of Man - his smooth style had a huge effect on my own riding