Do you own a motorbike? Are you passionate about road safety? Do you have the riding skills to pass onto other fellow bikers?
If so then North Wales Police are interested in hearing from you.
BikeSafe is a police-led motorcycle safety initiative which is supported by the six local authorities across North Wales. The BikeSafe workshops offer practical advice about road safety and educate riders by passing on knowledge and skills to try and help motorcyclists become safer riders.
For years North Wales Police have been supported by BikeSafe volunteers, whose civilian advanced riding skills enhance the efforts of police motorcyclists.
The volunteers are not just used for their riding ability, but for the way they can engage with the motorcycle community.
Changing attitudes and encouraging better road management is all about getting into hearts and minds and the volunteers ensure that the workshops can be delivered on a weekly basis but also to provide support at events.
One of the volunteer BikeSafe Observers, Ian Mason who lives on the Wirral, is supporting North Wales Police’ efforts to recruit further volunteers to join the team, he said: “I’ve been involved with BikeSafe since 2002. I retired a few years ago after working in IT, driving an LGV and finally as a bus driver for Cheshire Council and I just wanted to be able to give something back to the community.
“I’m extremely passionate about road safety as I’m also an IAM Observer (Institute of Advanced Motorists). I enjoy passing on the knowledge and skill that I’ve acquired over the years to fellow bikers.
“I started with the IAM 20 years ago and after passing the car and bike advanced tests I became an Observer for both. Eventually, 13 years ago I did a BikeSafe course as it was something slightly different. I haven’t looked back since.
“I would highly recommend bikers to think about their riding and would encourage them to take the RoSPA, IAM or Enhanced Rider Scheme advanced tests. Firstly though I would recommend they register on a BikeSafe workshop as a taster where they will sit alongside like-minded biking enthusiasts with a wide range of experience, skills and different machines.
“My involvement with BikeSafe sees me attend workshops throughout the year at various locations – including at Airbus, which they kindly allow us to use, Rhyl, St Asaph and Colwyn Bay. I still like to attend the classroom session periodically as I always pick up additional information from Paul Cheshire, the BikeSafe Coordinator, when he delivers the sessions.
“I then get out onto the road with two delegates and we are out for around three hours where I assess their riding. We stop every now and again and have a chat about their riding. I also advise on any further courses they could attend with organisations such as the IAM.
“If you have an advanced rider qualification and enjoy going out and talking to people, the BikeSafe Observer post may be perfect for you.
“There are two reasons why I got involved – the first was to hopefully try and keep bikers safe on the road by passing on my knowledge and skills and the second is it helps keep my standards of riding up to scratch. Over time bad habits can creep back but being so involved with BikeSafe and the regular assessments means that I have to keep my standards high. I thoroughly enjoy my role and I hope to be still involved with the scheme for many years to come.”
Another volunteer who is an avid supporter of BikeSafe is 22-year-old Rachel Lloyd from Flintshire, who got involved with the scheme around four years ago after completing her BikeSafe workshop.
She said: “I was one of the minority when I did my BikeSafe workshop as I was only 17 at the time. I really enjoyed it so I was asked if I wanted to get involved by volunteering.
“I try and support as many events as I can, but I also spend time at various ‘biker’ locations – engaging with bikers and talking to them about the benefits of BikeSafe. I try and target the younger generation of bikers and try and get them to sign up to a workshop. I’ve been to track days, attended various events such as the Police Open Day and regularly visit the Ponderosa where I talk to other like-minded people.
“I would recommend any biker to get involved – you meet interesting individuals who have the same interests as you. You learn new skills and hopefully leave a lasting impression by promoting the work of BikeSafe.”
North Wales Police BikeSafe Co-ordinator Paul Cheshire said: “Police resources are limited and although serving police officers do assist BikeSafe operations the Volunteer Observers are a dedicated and vital team of people from all walks of life with one common interest – improving riding skills. They are passionate and experienced riders and all possess advanced riding qualifications and their training ensures that BikeSafe is delivered to a high standard in a consistent manner to the rest of the country.
“Every year BikeSafe makes inroads to engage with the vulnerable motorcycle community. Delivering these workshops and providing assessments to promote training is core business. However, to accommodate this takes resources. This is where our motorcycle community step up to the plate.
“Especially qualified, experienced bikers offer their support to become BikeSafe volunteers but are handpicked to ensure the delivery of such education is of a high standard. The route to become and provide this vital service is long and demanding. However, seeing the results and hearing the feedback from riders is reward enough.
“The North Wales example of using volunteers has been taken on board by many more police forces who deliver BikeSafe. Therefore it’s not surprising that North Wales can boast to be one of the areas that accommodate this educational initiative the most outside the Metropolitan Police Service area that does not use volunteers.
He added: “The volunteers are passionate about their involvement and personally I would like to thank each and every one of them for their drive and commitment. I look forward to welcoming even more join the North Wales Police BikeSafe family.”
If you are interested in applying to become a BikeSafe Observer, please visit this website http://www.north-wales.police.
To book a place on a *free BikeSafe workshop in North Wales please visit www.bikesafe.co.uk or call 08444 151206
*subject to booking fee