I often hear from riders who feel they have been pressured into both riding faster than they felt comfortable and/or performing unnecessary overtakes in the name of ‘Making Progress’ whilst working toward an advanced qualification.
It matters not whether the pressure is real or percieved it pushes riders to put themselves at risk by riding beyond their own capabilities.
Lets clear up the myth that is ‘Making Progress‘
- First take the meaning of the word ‘Progress’ “forward or onward movement towards a destination’
- Second lets look at RoSPA’ s use of the word “using the road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively”
- Lastly the I.A.M. Who say their training will “encourage you to make good progress”
Civilian advanced riding’s origins are drawn from The Police System of Motorcycle Control aka Roadcraft, as civilians we do not need to ride with urgency or be required to respond to an emergency so there are parts of Roadcraft that do not apply.
Making progress is best achieved through good observation, anticipation and planning as opposed to speed. Due to the nature of our roads sustaining high speed for any length of time is rarely possible resulting in any high speed only coming in short bursts which have little or no effect on your overal journey time because those bursts do little to raise your overal average speed for that journey.
A good video that demonstrates quite nicely ‘Making Progress’
- Its 30 mins long but you quickly see how the car gets from Heathrow to New Scotland Yard in under 25 mins. a journey which would probably take over an hour, notable is the convoys lack of speed.
Also notable is despite the outriders pace at times they don’t arrive at their destination any sooner.
Hopefully by now you are clear that speed doesn’t equal progress.
Making progress is, not being unnecessarily delayed, maintain a good average speed over a whole journey by using good observation, anticipation and planning some examples are;
- Arriving at a roundabout when there’s a gap.
- Reaching a set of traffic lights as they turn to green.
- Utilising all lanes to gain advantage in congestion.
All of the above prevent you from having to come to a complete stop as this will impact on your journey time (progress) as time continues but you are not covering any distance.
Road craft and any other riding manual will tell you that riding within your own limits, the limits of your machine and all within the confines of any given circumstances is an essential ingredient to being a good (or even better than good) rider.
If you are feeling pressured into doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable then don’t do it.
Do ask yourself why it made you feel uncomfortable and if a similar situation arose how you could deal with it within your own limits and comfort zone.
If the discomfort is the result of pressure from someone who is supposed to be helping you improve your riding then tell them, make them explain to you why the ability to complete a particular manoeuvre will make you a better rider and add to your safety.
If you are not convinced it may be time to look for a different trainer/organisation as there are some really good ones out there.
The ability to overtake in a safe and timely manner is an essential part of being a good rider, even more essential is restraint and the ability to assess ones own ability and confidence levels so making someone feel uncomfortable or pressurising riders into overtakes which return little or no advantage does nothing for their riding ability or safety.
Should a rider struggle with or be reluctant to overtake instead of hiding behind the old ‘making progress’ line try working with them constructively to improve their skillset, pressure and discomfort aren’t great teaching tools.