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