The first thing to say is that there is no such thing as a perfect ride or rider.
We all make mistakes and so the IAM test is not about producing a faultless
ride, although that would be nice if you can manage it. It’s about being able to
demonstrate your skills and awareness as a motorcyclist ensuring that safety
is the overriding factor in any situation. Minor mistakes are not only allowed
but also expected and as long as they do not compromise your safety or that
of another road user you won’t fail for a being slightly out of position or making
a late gear change.
The test itself lasts for around an hour and takes in all the roads and road
conditions available in the county over about 35 miles. Your examiner will
meet you at a comfortable location and over a cuppa explain the test, the
route and what will happen. The test is not a navigation exercise and you
won’t be expected to remember the route given. The examiner will
communicate the route via his indicators signalling well before any change of
direction as to where he wants you to turn. This is purely telling you where to
go and you will be expected to apply signals as part of your own planned
Examiners are looking for something that sets your ride above the norm. The
advanced rider should be aware of what’s going on around them and deal
with all situations in a calm and professional manner. They should be
travelling in the right position at the right speed with the right gear engaged at
the right time. When faced with traffic or slower moving vehicles they should
look to make safe progress and exploit the advantages of speed and flexibility
they have as bikers. They should not be surprised by what is happening in
front of them, rather look to react early and use advanced observations to
formulate a riding plan. Plan the ride then ride the plan.
The IAM is a safety organisation and as such cannot condone any speeding
or contraventions of road traffic laws. Riders will be expected to not only
know what all signs and road markings mean but comply with them fully.
They will also be expected to overtake traffic where it is safe and possible
within the set limits as this is a key riding skill and allows the advanced rider to
Finally there will be a slow riding element to the ride either out on the route if
traffic and circumstances allow, or back in the car park in the form of a simple
figure of 8 manoeuvre.
Above all try and relax. Its impossible to really enjoy a test, but the mark of the
advanced rider is that they are not fazed by circumstances and can ride to an
advanced level regardless of time, weather and traffic. If it rains, we will still
go ahead. And don’t forget your licence and bike documents that need to be
checked along with your eyesight before we set off on the test route.
The IAM badge is not easily won, and nor should it be. It stands for riding at
a level most people can only aspire to and marks the successful candidate as
a rider of above average ability and skill. If you earn it you can wear it with