On Sunday I attended the Pro Rider training course in Albany. This course is run by Pro rider who is the designated provider of subsidized training here in Auckland. This is done through ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) and Auckland Transport. The cost to me personally was $50 with the remaining amount of $200 being subsidised.
Although I have done a lot of training over the last few years and have become an Observer for IAM, I am always open to learn more and improve my skills.
I registered for the course a couple of weeks before the day and the returning email told me I would be sent an email out the week before confirming venue etc. I did end up chasing up the information and eventually got it five days before. I was surprised to see that even though I put done my level as "Experienced"..this course catered to all levels. I really wondered how they were going to manage this.
When I arrived on Sunday I was again surprised to see just 4 instructors for 16 riders. I had expected a better ratio of instructors to riders .
The debrief consisted of a brief discussion on shoulder checks and road rules, before we were shown pictures of where to position our bike on corners. There was no mention of the widely accepted I.P.S.G.A system of motorcycle roadcraft and control (Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration). This surprised me as it is one of the fundamentals of road-craft training. TUG was only briefly mentioned. (TUG is Take (information), Use (information), Give (information).
The five learners went off by themselves with another instructor and someone else to assist who had no qualifications to be teaching. (I know the person and skill level) This now left three instructors and 11 riders.
We initially rode out west where we would complete several circuits of the same road during the course of the day. My previous doubts as to the level and skill of the instructors began to be raised when I witnessed one of them continually fail to indicate through three roundabouts then ride through roadworks with a designated 30 km/hr speed limit at 70 km/hr . I questioned him and he said that he was doing 50 kms per hour...moot point really. Speed signs at road works are there for a reason.... didn't appreciate my bike getting showered with new gravel either.
I was beginning to get the impression that the level of training I have been getting and was expecting was not going to happen today. In fact, it appeared that the more numbers that were being pushed through the better, with no real consideration of the training quality provided. Important topics were ignored or simple brushed over.Braking was covered with a three minute video at lunch as well as counter steering. No demonstration was given.
The day dragged on with very little feed back to riders. Roadside debriefs consisted of short videos and more pictures to look at. It was one thing to talk about stuff, it is another thing to be taught it, showed it, and given time to put it into practise.
I was further alarmed when being overtaken buy a guy on a 250cc motorbike through the same 30 km/hr work zone I have just mentioned, showering my bike with stones and showing a blatant disregard for other road users. To rub salt in to the wound, none of the instructors mentioned it to him or confronted him about it.