Wheel alignment

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Rewarding safe riding

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a New Zealand Crown entity responsible for administering the country's universal no-fault accidental injury scheme.  Due to the scheme's no-fault basis, litigation is avoided apart from claims for exemplary damages.  ACC works with partners and communities on initiatives to prevent injuries.

As far as motorcycling goes because of the higher rate of serious harm and medical costs compared with cars etc, ACC introduced a training scheme called Ride Forever. (website HERE).  It covers written resources but the most visible initiative is a highly subsidised tiered on-road training programme which progressively increases rider skills in a structured manner.  Details can be found HERE .  Private contractors who have acknowledged high delivery skills are used to deliver the training and must meet auditable standards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Silver and Gold levels are based on elements of the UK Police Roadcraft system which IAM uses as the basis of its advanced rider training.

A number of insurers give discounts in addition to no-claims bonuses for having attended these courses and statistics indicate that those who attend are currently 23% less likely to submit an injury claim.  Interestingly, upskilling or re-skilling for riders used to be viewed as "not macho" among a sizeable percentage of the NZ motorcycling population but judging from recent comments on bike forums and other media, this attitude seems to be softening which is great news.  Post-licence training is still regarded as uncool by a minority but that minority seems to be shrinking.

In addition to this proactive stance by ACC, they are in the process of introducing a pilot scheme whereby targeted riders will receive $100 off their annual bike registration fee for attending Ride Forever.  Early days but kudos to a government department that's attempting to address the root cause of accidents as opposed to the normal "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" approach of punitive legislative measures.  This is the link to the proposals HERE .

One requirement of the pilot scheme is that the riders must have held a full license for at least 10 years.  This is quite deliberate as "mature" returning riders are over-represented in accident statistics.  Who knows, if it's a success, it may well spread.  Younger riders are safer than they used to be because in the last few years, getting a licence is far more stringent than previously.

Looking at the responses on the ACC website, there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the initiative.  I guess it's inevitable that there will be detractors for a whole load of reasons but the important point is that ACC are offering tangible rewards for completing one of their subsidised courses which has demonstrated its effectiveness.  If someone doesn't want to attend, it's their choice.  Wishing ACC every success for taking a proactive stance.

As a final comment, an increasing number of riders who have completed the Ride Forever programme clearly see the value of on-going training in improving their safety and enjoyment and are now choosing to join IAM to continue raising their skills.  That "learning for life" mindset shift has got to be good for everyone, hasn't it?  

The photo below was taken last week when one of the IAM Trainee Observers (mentors) had just passed his demanding full theory and practical tests to become a fully qualified Observer.  The chap on the left is Neil, who is an Examiner.  Chris, in the centre, is our newly-qualified Observer.  Pete, on the right, is the "newbie" who is in the process of joining IAM and whom Chris was assessing as part of his test.  The interesting thing is that Pete is the chief highway patrol cop for our province and a social rider.  If a highly trained cop believes there is value in on-going upskilling, that speaks volumes!

Neil, Chris and Pete - IAM Central North Island region


  1. Hi Geoff, I had my say a few days ago. Like the idea but I got stuck on the "only applies to 1 motorcycles registration". Tough titty for those that have more than 1 bike and already paying double or more than they should be...

    See you on Saturday ;)

  2. Hi Andrew. If you have more than one bike, you can afford it ;-) . Seriously, far too complex to administer and after all, it's only a pilot scheme. Ironically, I fit into their demographic but don't get a rebate because my qualifications are higher than Ride Forever!

    However, cost is missing the point - it's all about reward for participating in a safety programme which raises the skills of many riders in that demographic. It costs me $60 annually to belong to IAM. I'd say that's a fantastic return on expenditure :-).

    Ah, that time of the year! All the very best and be safe mate. I'm well past 1600 km in under 24 hours these days! Turn 71 in a couple of weeks.

    1. Yeah, I get that and approve of it but just hate the system...

      Happy birthday (I'll get in early).

    2. Yeah, it is tough on multiple vehicle ownership. Maybe if we had less accidents, it would be a sight less expensive (I know you're a careful rider).

      Thanks! Just received my present from Jennie - a custom Nitron shock for the GSX-S. Won't be fitting it for a few days, too busy riding! Got a mid-week ride round the southern Coro Loop tomorrow with some of the IAM team. Doing it tough......

  3. That is great news Geoff. You Kiwis seem so far ahead of us dullards on this side of the ditch. I feel our beaurecrats are too conservative and seemingly not well travelled. They don’t seem to understand what happens in the rest of the world and eventually they just try to reinvent the wheel - about 10 years later.
    Can a foreigner join the IAM program? Maybe fly across the dutch, hire a bike and do some learning? And wash and repeat? ;)

    1. Very pleasing Dave. I guess it helps that the head of the ACC motorcycle programme is an enthusiastic rider (and an IAM member) and the president of IAM is the ex-chief traffic cop in NZ. Having common sense people at that level helps enormously.

      Yep, in theory, that would work fine. The only fly in the ointment is demand from Kiwis. Never say never though:-)

  4. Hi Geoff
    What a wonderful idea, it's great to see NZ has a proactive government that is doing something positive for the community by offering these training courses plus discounts. Lets hope they don't follow the Aussie government's approach of solving all of life's problems by putting in thousands of speed cameras and Highway patrol cars.

    Happy birthday my friend.

    1. Sure is Steve! It's taken time but as I said,to Dave, having genuine bikers in high places rather than busy career public servants has made the world of difference.

  5. Hi Geoff

    This is a very pleasing idea - Albeit it doesn't help me with more than one bike... Still, it's a proactive stance which is always welcome. Happy belated birthday too.

    1. Hi Lee, it's a great initiative because it deals directly with upskilling and safety. Registration of multiple ownership of bikes is another issue entirely although you have my sympathy!

      Thanks for the good wishes - not until a bit after mid-month!


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