Talk - lasts approx 45 mins
Element D is a classroom session about the dangers
of riding on the road. This element must be completed satisfactorily
before any road riding is undertaken. At the end of the session
you should understand the need to
The Highway Code is not a legal document but will
be refered to in a court of law by the police in proceedings.
It's described as the road users bible and it's important that
you learn it. Riding on the roads without knowing the Highway
Code would be like playing a board game without knowing the rules.
You can buy the Highway Code HERE or read it online HERE.
Defensive riding can be defined as the ability
to identify zones of danger well in advance.
It relies on total concentration and observation
and your ability to predict what is likely to happen.
It allows you time to react in any situation.
It gives you the space to position yourself on
to the safest part of the road.
For example, if people start to stand up on a bus
in front of you while it is still moving, that's a pretty good
hint that the bus will shortly be pulling in to a bus stop. So
hold back and maintain a good view of the road ahead and behind.
Observation is a combination of what you can
see, what you can't see and, most of all, what you might
reasonably expect to happen.
This is what's known as road sense and it comes
Always ride at a speed that allows you to absorb
all the information available. Always be on the look out for clues
as to what might happen next - busses stopping, ice-cream vans
This refers to a combination of mirror checks and
looking behind you which ensures you are always aware of what
is happening behind you.
Before you signal, change direction or speed you
must know how your actions will affect the traffic behind you.
You also have to know when traffic is likely to overtake or come
Not all motorcycles are fitted with mirrors, and
mirrors don't always give a clear view behind. Looking behind
is important because the view through the mirrors on some motorcycles
is restricted, leaving significant blind spots. There will be
times when you need to look round to see the full picture. Looking
behind also warns other drivers that you may be about to signal
or alter course.
At high speed or in congested moving traffic your
attention needs to be focused ahead so you must time your rear
mirror checks carefully.
Before changing course you should also use the
The 'lifesaver' glance
This is a last check over the shoulder into the
blind spot to make sure nothing unexpected is happening just behind
In heavy traffic it's usually essential, especially
when turning right into a minor road, but during high speed overtaking,
when you are certain what is happening behind, it's often safer
to concentrate on what is happening ahead.
Always keep in mind your position in the road -
not too close to the kerb nor in the centre of the road. Keep
roughly to the middle of your lane, making slight changes to avoid
potholes, manhole covers, metal studs etc.
In other words allow a safe space all round and
place yourself where you can be seen.
In good conditions this is the distance, in time,
that you should be behind the vehicle in front. If that vehicle
is passing a lampost, for example, you should reach it not less
than 2 seconds later.
In bad weather, at least double this gap.
Many people fail to appreciate the motorcyclist's
vulnerability to the weather. We all know that rain, sleet, snow
and ice make roads slippery, but we can be affected by other weather
||Bright sunshine can affect our
observation and the observation of others
||Shadows can cause uncertainty
||Cold and heat can reduce concentration
||The chill factor of the wind
caused by our speed can affect us
||High winds are a danger to all
||Mist and fog can be very deceptive.
Use dipped headlights and slow down
The state of the road surface is very important
to motorcyclists. Only a small part of the motorcycle tyre makes
contact with the road. Any change in the surface can therefore
affect the stability of your motorcycle.
Be on the lookout for poor road surfaces such
||Loose surfaces e.g. chippings,
gravel, mud and leaves
||Pot holes and uneven surfaces
||Inspection covers, especially
||Oil patches, especially at
roundabouts, bus stops and filling stations
||Tar banding around road repairs
||Painted road markings
||Tram or train rails set into
the road. These can affect your steering and present a
hazard when braking
||Any shiny road surface. At
junctions, frequent braking and acceleration can polish
If you can safely avoid riding on slippery sufaces
then do so. If you have to ride on a slippery surface slow down
well in advance. Don't swerve suddenly to avoid a poor surface.
If you find yourself on a slippery surface check
the traffic, then gradually slow down.
BE CONSPICUOUS - BE SEEN
This will include topics such as
||The difference between florescent (day)
and reflective (night)
||Clean reflectors and number plates
||Your position on the road
||Changes in road surface
In element A your trainer will check that you
have all the legal requirements such as a driving
licence and a roadworthy bike with road tax and MOT (if
the bike is over 3 years old). If you're hiring a bike from
the training centre then all you'll need is a licence.
If you are using your own bike you must also
have insurance and L plates front and rear (non-cut near vertical).
Most training centres will rent you a bike with insurance
You must also have a helmet with a green or
blue BSI kitemark and BSI approved visor (non-tinted). All
helmets sold in the UK must carry a BSI kitemark and comply
with British Standard BS 6658 or the newer UN ECE 22.05 mark
of approval. Again, most training centres will rent or lend
In Element D you will be you will be given
further information regarding your legal requirements. Please
see our Law page.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than cars
etc. for a number of reasons
||They are smaller and therefore harder
||The natural instability of the machine
and the steering
||Little protection from impact or weather
You can reduce the risk of injury by careful
choice of clothing. Not only can it give physical protection
and warmth, but if it's bright it can also help you be seen
Always ask yourself the following three questions
||Can I stop in time if the
vehicle in front braked sharply?
||Am I going too fast? You
must take road and traffic and weather conditions into
account at all times.
||Am I going too slow? This
can impede the normal traffic flow and create hazards.
Slow down as you approach a hazard. Make
sure that you don't leave it too late. Always be ready to
Try not to over-react if another road user
does something wrong. Control your desire to retaliate (road
rage). Anyone can make a mistake and it's not up to you
to teach a bad driver a lesson.
Showing good manners is the hallmark of a
skilful rider. Most people will appreciate your courtesy
and good riding.
Set out in good time to avoid a rush. Always
remember it's better to get there late than never.
Be courteous whenever you can and always
acknowledge the courtesy of others.
Never wave pedestrians to cross or other
vehicles to pull out. Just stop and wait patiently for others
to make up their own minds as to whether it is safe or not.
Make sure you do the same.
Hazard perception is the ability of a driver
to make an early identification of situations where some
form of avoidance action might be necessary, such as changing
speed or direction. It involves techniques such as
||selecting a safe separation distance
||using an appropriate speed
||planning well ahead
||having good anticipation
Research has shown that the more experienced
riders and drivers scan the road better and recognise much
earlier the clues that show a hazardous situation is developing
and therefore start to take action before the danger occurs.
The DSA have extended the Theory Test by
adding a Hazard Perception Test.
It's in the form of videos of hazards to
which you must respond quickly and correctly.
For more on hazard perception (with pictures)
take a look at the In-Gear Training School's Hazard
DRINK DRUGS AND ILLNESS
Drink, drugs, illness and medicines all affect
you to some degree. Loss of balance, slow reactions, lack
of concentration. If you're affected in any way then don't
A lot of accidents are caused by lack of
concentration. Your survival may depend on it.
Many things can disrupt your concentration
||Feeling tired or unwell
- a bad cold, for example, can distract your mind
and slow your reactions. If you feel tired or unwell
||Cold and wet -
these will reduce your ability to concentrate and
slow your your reactions. Always wear proper clothing
||Worries - if you're
worried about something you won't be able to concentrate
properly. Consider another means of transport
||Alcohol - this
is a killer. The law sets the limit at 80 milligrams
of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. It's an offense
to ride a motorcycle if you're over this level and
penalties these days are harsh - and quite rightly
||Drugs - another
killer. If your doctor prescribes drugs for you ask
if they'll affect your ability to ride safely. Even
some non-prescription medicines can affect you. Read
the label and if in doubt ask the chemist or your
Element D will then be formally closed.
On to Element E