Advice from an Examiner

Below are a few words of advice from PC Gary Haynes: Police Class 1 Advanced Motorcyclist & one of the IAM Examiners for Northamptonshire and surrounding areas. This information is targeted towards Associates who are preparing for their IAM Advanced Assessment.

PC Haynes writes -

Candidates Assessment briefing.
Document check and eyesight test. This involves checking the driving licence (both parts) and the following for the motorcycle; Insurance, MOT certificate and Vehicle Excise Licence (Road TAX). Ed. The changes in the issue of these documents has changed Gary's requirements  - tax discs not being issued etc. The signed declaration also now takes the place of these checks although please bring your license and insurance with you (both parts if you have them) plus MOT if applicable as some testers will still want to see them. Please note that failure to bring them will result in the test finishing there and then. The eyesight test is to read a vehicles registration plate at 20m. Again failure to read the figures means the assessment ends right there.
The assessment will be on a variety of roads and riding time will be around an hour. I will try to incorporate everything from motorways to country lanes, this includes dual carriageways, A class single carriageway roads, B roads and town riding. The majority of the riding will be in the country on bendy roads, the type of road that is challenging but fun at the same time. At the end of the assessment there will be a slow riding assessment in a car park area that will involve at least a walking pace straight ride, a U turn or possibly a figure of 8.
You are responsible for your riding, I am responsible for mine. Just because I am on a certain part of the road it should not indicate that this is the correct part of the road for you. I could be positioned on the left to look at the gear selector for example or just to the right just to increase the length of clear road ahead.
What am I looking for?
Please refer to the Examiners Checklists that are at the end of each chapter in “How to be a Better Rider”. This is the publication that you get when you purchased a Skills for Life package and should be your main resource away from the group.
In a nutshell it can be put in the following terms;
Legal
Safe
System
Smooth
Progress & Restraint
Legal. The ride must be conducted at legal speeds and obeying all the rules set out in the Highway Code. Lights, signs and lines are the clues! If you don’t stop at a stop line this will be an automatic failure!
Safe. One of the main reasons riders put themselves forward to the IAM is to make their riding safer. This means you are keeping out of danger and not presenting it to other road users. The way to do this is to use the....
System. IPSGA. In that order. Don’t forget to consider rearward observation.
Information. Taking, using and giving information. Using your senses to assess what is around you, process and prioritise it into a riding plan and then if necessary let others know what you are about to do.        
Position. Putting your motorcycle onto the most appropriate piece of the road for the given situation and upcoming manoeuvre.
Speed. Adjusting the machines speed for the manoeuvre by using acceleration sense or brakes.
Gear. One that gives flexibility with regard to control, acceleration, performance and engine braking. Can be taken just as braking is finishing. Do not use the gears as a method of slowing down.
Acceleration. Once the hazard is negotiated and because the machine is in the right gear we can accelerate away from it.
Smooth. Dexterity in the use of the controls, efficient lines and good riding plans.
Progress and Restraint.
Progress. Maximising your performance according to the road and conditions, the capabilities of the bike and limited by your ability. I do not expect people to be riding at 100 percent of their ability, ride comfortably within yourself. Achieve the limit if safe to do so. Make progress by good riding plans, use smooth efficient lines and take opportunities that a motorcycle can such as filtering and overtaking.
Restraint is recognising when it is not safe to make progress, taking time to make a plan and keeping out of harm’s way.
All of the above must be demonstrated in a consistent manner throughout the assessment. It will not be a perfect ride but one which you should enjoy.You will be nervous but will soon settle down. Minor mistakes will occur but may not mean an automatic failure. Because I am riding too I may have missed it. Put mistakes behind you and keep on with the assessment, thinking about errors can make things worse. If you need a little time to gather yourself find somewhere safe for two bikes to stop and indicate that you need to pull in.
Directions and indicating.
Always assume that the route is straight ahead of you. Check behind for my indication on the approach to any junction or roundabout. We will not be riding down any dirt tracks or driveways! I will give as much warning of a deviation as I can safely do so. This will be by my indicators or I may back it up with an arm signal. A nod of the head is sufficient for me to recognise you have seen my signal. If you need to signal to the benefit of another road user other than me give a signal.
Motorway riding. Only ride from one junction to the next. I do not want to go to Milton Keynes or Birmingham.
Any questions?

If you have any Question regarding Gary's information regarding your IAM Assessment, please contact one of the group Observers for clarity.