Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Potted History of UK Bike Training

Compiled quickly for a forum post, but may be of interest to you.

RAC [as in the club with a breakdown organisation], operated with the ACU [as in the UK's m/c racing 'body'] ran the RAC/ACU training scheme.

As said, voluntary both for instructors and trainees, but also for examiners who conducted test far in excess of the 'L' test then, including H Code, maintenance, slow riding, and road ride (sound familiar, kiddies?)

Can't recall exact start date, but at its close had over 350 centres across the UK.

Despite the RAC/ACU's existance, scope, and success, the Government put money into starting STEP - the Schools Traffic Education Programme.

This evolved into Star Rider, with course at Bronze (one-day [or half?]) novice, silver (6? session learner), and Gold (Theory, riding, and test) at advanced level.

In 1981 the 'Part One Test' legislation was passed.

RAC/ACU said they couldn't afford to fund the massive investment needed to continue with training & testing, so announced their intention to bale out.

Both BMF & RoSPA announced 'umbrella' plans to look after disenfranchised centres, although some went 'solo'.

Realising what they'd achieved in the name of road safety, Government announced £100,000 to subsidise the new training regime. In an uncanny parallel to the STEP funding, they gave it all to RoSPA. BMF kicked up a fuss, got £10,000 . . .

BMF grew to, at its height, C. 185 centres across the UK, including taking on several Star Rider centres, when Star Rider's parent company went bust.

RoSPA folded its scheme along the way.

When CBT was introduced it heralded financial independance for many instructors as 'compulsory' training was necessary, a business case continued when Direct Access appeared - but that also sounded the death knell for voluntary centres who couldn't afford the time and costs involved.

The biggest UK training organisation was CSM. They went bust, but many indie centres have continued from their CSM roots.

More recently, the RAC have got back in to training again. How the wheel turns . . .

No comments: