Welcome to Survival Skills


I'm often asked:

"just what is it that makes Survival Skills different from any other training?"

Well, here are two comments that really sum up the difference:

"The observation stuff you do really made me think. I thought [well-known advanced school run by ex-police] covered it all but that was like a 5 on the scale where what you do is a 10. I never realised you could get so much information as you ride!"

"I swear that Kevin is the most sensible talking, straight-up, common sense biker I've ever seen in 20 years”

That's just two of the nice things that's been said about Survival Skills and our training since 1997. There's far more to roadcraft than 'Motorcycle Roadcraft' and learning 'observation, anticipation and concentration', and 'information - position - speed - gear - acceleration' by rote!

Insight training: uniquely, Survival Skills Rider Training courses follow a very new approaching in rider and driver training. INSIGHT TRAINING seeks to create an understanding of the relationship between a specific cause and effect within a particular context - in this case riding a motorcycle and why it sometimes goes wrong, rather than right.

It's a type of learning that revolves around problem-solving through understanding the relationships between our own technical abilities and knowledge, the self-awareness with which we apply our riding skills, and the 'system' of the roads on which we're operating.  Kevin is at the forefront of the 'No Surprise? No Accident' rider safety initiative whilst takes new 'Safety Two' thinking on human error and applies it to motorcycling. Instead of simply covering the knowledge and skills needed for 'good' cornering technique, the Survival Skills approach offers the rider new insights into riding  based on hazard awareness, risk assessment and risk management techniques.

Survival Skills are all about knowing what goes wrong, then why and how it goes wrong. Only when we know that can we start to really look for the clues that alert us to surprises lurking ahead. So Survival Skills is not about being able to put on the best 'police system of motorcycle control' demo ride that you can, it's about understanding that in real life however carefully we plan for things to go right, it's recognising and dealing with the situations that are GOING WRONG that's the key to staying out of trouble on the bike.

    “at the Warren doing BikeSafe today I was told I was the ‘best rider this year’”... 
    "I've done some other training. I like the Survival Skills approach”...
    "you've given me a good sense of what I can do to improve, rather than just hoping I will”... 
    "I certainly feel that you have made a significant difference to my ability to observe, anticipate and respond during my riding”... 
    "I've done BikeSafe and dabbled with the IAM, but Survival Skills was the most practical and genuinely lifesaving training experience I've had...the course was short and intense but implanted deep subliminal awareness"... 
    "I'd highly recommend the course"...
    "a pleasure to cover the material with someone who clearly knows it so well, and who also cares about the subject”...
    "I'm more than happy to endorse the course - everyone should do one”....
    I am totally exhausted and it was worth every penny"
    My first experience of advanced riding was in the early 1990s but after many years as a courier, I was rather surprised to be told I was "too slow". I then devised an advanced training course for Cinque Ports Motorcycle Training in 1996, but having quickly realised that a proper risk-based syllabus was needed to replace the ad-hoc methods in use at the time I launched Survival Skills in 1997, My courses took the best bits from 'Motorcycle Roadcraft' but didn't (and still don't) follow it slavishly but looked outside the UK too. You'll find elements inspired by Keith Code and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the US, the 'Ride On' safety video from Australia, and ideas based on work by US authors including Pat Hahn, Nick Ienatsch and David Hough.

    I've trained over 3000 riders at CBT, 125, Direct Access and post-test level - around one third of those have taken a Survival Skills advanced rider training course. I've trained riders of all ages from 16 to 70+, male and female, brain surgeon (really!) and tree surgeon, at of all levels from complete beginners to TT racers, commuters to police riders. You’re in good hands when you book a course. 
    Start by asking yourself
    "what kind of training do I need?" If you're looking for a riding qualification or a certificate that nets an insurance discount, or a club atmosphere, then by all means look at the national organisations.

    But if you want professional, full-time, and independently-qualified rider coach to develop your skills in a specific area or to fix a need in a particular aspect of riding, then ask yourself -
    "is a national 'one-size-fits-all'  organisation appropriate".

    Since no two riders are the same nor have the same needs, so Survival Skills Rider Training created 'client-centred' advanced training right from the off, all the way back in 1997 and long before it became fashionable. I designed different courses with different content at varying levels of competence - the 'Confidence: BUILDER' aimed at new and returning riders, the 'Performance' courses designed for recreational riders, and the 'Urban' courses for commuters. All courses cover core skills AND your own particular needs. And if you can't find a suitable course, I'll create bespoke training for you. 

    Before you book, we'll talk about what you want from training, and help you choose a course. If nothing fits we'll offer bespoke training. I won't force your style to change to match fit your style to suit mine but work with you to meet your needs.

    Based on a flexible building-block approach, training is based on the latest education practice including goal setting and task analysis. Lesson plans aid preparation and delivery, and every course is followed up with a comprehensive debrief and a plan for future development. All training routes are risk-assessed and graded according to the course. Survival Skills pioneered the use of modern training aids like bike- to-bike radios, video presentations, and on-bike cams.

    With no test at the end of the course, the challenge is to be the best rider you can possibly be.
    The course always moves at your pace and you are never asked to do anything you're not ready to do. Specifically, there is no push to 'make progress' on these courses. 

    From my very first course, I went out on a limb and questioned the relevance of 'progress' to civvie riding, even at advanced level. Rather than being a 'goal' to be aspired to and chased, it's far more important to know where and why we might need to slow down and even stop. When we've eliminated all those places, then we can make a choice about riding more quickly. If you've found yourself being pushed too hard to ride too fast on previous courses, it's time to try a Survival Skills advanced rider training course instead.
    The value of the Survival Skills approach has been recognised by official organisations. I was an approved instructor on the Buckinghamshire County Council 'Be a Better Biker' scheme, offering approved training courses and coaching on their training days. Between 2008 and 2010, I worked with Somerset Road Safety Partnership on their pioneering 'Rider Skills' days at Castle Coombe circuit, presenting a roadcraft workshop on the day which mixed classroom and practical training with track sessions.

    Most recently, I created the 'Science Of Being Seen' (SOBS) collision avoidance module on behalf of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, for the Prince Michael of Kent international road safety award-winning 'Biker Down' first aid and accident management course. Between 2013 and 2019, I also worked with KFRS on their 'Ride Skills' days at Brands Hatch. In 2018 and 2019, I travelled to New Zealand to work for the New Zealand Transport Agency on the multi-venue 'Shiny Side Up' rider safety initiatives, travelling extensively round the country. I was a virtual presenter in 2021. I have also acted as a consultant to the Transport Research Laboratory.
    With a short break, I have written the ‘Staying Alive’ column for the Motorcycle Action Group since 2002. As well as numerous club magazines in several countries, Kevin's work has featured in the Daily Telegraph plus ‘Bike’, ‘Superbike’, 'RiDE' and 'Two Wheels Only' .

    In the mid-2000s, I researched and storyboarded the 'Lucky 13' cartoons for the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (ACEM) to illustrate 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 and run in bike magazines all over Europe... except the UK. They have recently vanished from the ACEM website, but as I think they are a valuable resource, particularly for younger riders you'll still find them here on the Survival Skills Rider Training website - you can find them by following the link at the bottom of the page.

    And I have also published my own range of better biking paperbacks, available direct from my publisher     
  7. FOR AN INTRODUCTORY PERIOD - get on ONLINE COACHING from just £30 per hour and ON-ROAD TRAINING from just £195 per day.  

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“I have passed IAM and RoSPA tests, but the Survival Skills experience opens up another perspective on the whole ‘bike skill enhancement’ arena providing both practical help and ideas to reflect upon. Keep up the good work!” John Challis

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I went on a BikeSafe course after I got back into riding following a lay off of at least 6 years. Although it was useful, it was fairly immediately after that that I realised I hadn't got from it what I'd hoped I would, and so very shortly after that I booked a two-day course with you Kevin. And from your course, I learned a heck of a lot, including stuff I'd never really been acquainted with in the first place!
- John Cochrane

Had a fantastic couple of days with Kevin. Having ridden sports bikes for more years thank I care to remember I added an adventure bike to the garage. A blast but a completely different ride. Kevin is a very knowledgeable, patient, skilled & all round good egg. I have to thank him for giving me my biking mojo back. 
- Denise Woofinden

Really fantastic couple of days! I met Kevin for the first day's training in September, learned a huge amount then spent six weeks or so practicing and today was the second training day. Kevin has a pretty unique way of training, he is able to explain very technical things in a way I could understand (I'm not techy) and his knowledge is astounding! And the patience of a saint :) His approach of 'risk minimisation'' is a concept that I could really understand. I think when I first went to Survival Skills I was looking for faster cornering but Kevin has taught me much more than that! I wouldn't have a moment's hesitation recommending Survival Skills to anyone!! Thank you!
- Cheryl Carlisle

I first meet Kevin on the Biker Down course run by the Kent Fire and Rescue service where Kevin gives the module 3 presentation, I thought that he talked a lot of sense so bought his books and followed his news feed on Facebook, after almost a year I decided to take up the ride assessment that Kevin offers, I was so impressed with the way it was delivered and what I learnt I wish I hadn't of waited so long, so I've just been back for the Performance: SPORT two day bends course, and what a two days it was, highly recommended. Kevin is the font of all knowledge for all things motorbike related. 
- Andy Barnes

The course was very informative, enjoyable and well-structured. The period of training was ideal and was interspaced with valuable input from you at just the right time. I would recommend your training course(s) to anyone out there who genuinely wishes to improve their biking skills.
- David Bates

"I had a great ride home. The concept of using the middle third of the road [on a wide road, where the limits were relatively low and we were riding within a busy stream of traffic] worked really well, central positioning [at a safe distance using the middle third of the lane] behind cars worked a treat instead of hovering on the right when waiting for an overtake [where there was no opportunity], and looking at the braking surface is a great improvement. All in all, I got a lot of value from the session and felt it improved my riding significantly. I noticed my standard of observation was back up to a high standard too. Job done! thank you."
- Greg Southey

I am a Cardington-qualified CBT/DAS instructor but had a day with Kevin to get a check up on my own riding - well worth the money and had a good day out to boot!
- Andy Taylor ADI

Have just done a Confidence: Builder as I struggled with tight corners, roundabouts and cornering. What a great few of hours, I went away feeling confident on the tight turns and the cornering and roundabouts. I would highly recommend Kevin, he was very patient and explained things clearly and demonstrated so it was easy to follow. Would definitely book with again for another course. Thank you, Kevin. 
- Joanna Ridgeway

Confidence: BUILDER did exactly that. Kevin's safe pair of hands enabled me to relax, to enjoy and most importantly to learn. The radio link and clear instructions made the directions transparent so I could concentrate fully on the riding, and now I know some great roads and how to ride them properly. When I want some more advanced training Kevin will be my first stop.
- Andi Farhall

I have taken extra training as I had some bad experiences during my DAS that have knocked my confidence to the point I felt I wasn't getting any better in certain aspects of my riding even after 8 years. Kevin was brilliant. I felt under no pressure from him and just did my best. I came away happier and more confident with lots to practice and improve. I would recommend it to everyone!
- Debbie Watson

Thank you very much for your course observations and constructive comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days and really felt it has been of great benefit in confirming those things I was doing right and reminding / informing me of ways I could improve my riding in both technique and personal survival. I would certainly recommend the course to anyone looking to brush up their riding and survival techniques. Thanks again for a very enjoyable 2 days both from a course point of view but also for two days pleasant riding in the Kent countryside.
- Mick Warling

I took a 'Bends' course with Kevin to try to give my confidence a bit of a boost as I had been doing a lot of commuting and hadn't been on the 'twisties' for a while. I met Kevin and found he listened carefully to my riding history and then he explained how the course would run. We set off and Kevin started by giving me a commentated ride, although there were a few problems with the radio link I was able to glean the gist of what was being said. We then set out onto some lovely roads in Kent where I was able to put the theory into practice. Kevin was available on the radio to give me a breakdown of my riding throughout the route. However this was not constant or annoying, for a lot of the time the radio remained silent and we just enjoyed the roads. Kevin stopped the ride regularly and he was able to give a detailed breakdown of the ride. In short Kevin has a wealth of knowledge, information and techniques he is only too willing to share and I found a few of his little gems extremely useful. All in all a great trying day with a thoroughly nice bloke. Hope to see you for the second day soon Kevin.
- Ian Pattie

...and many, MANY more!


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