Managing safety

Are you fit to teach?

You need to be fit to ride if you’re going to be teaching other people, see our advice about health on the road. But as an instructor you need to be even more aware of your surroundings, looking well ahead and able to react quickly if a hazard arises. You need to be able to ride safely and monitor your learners – not easy to do if you’re struggling with a headache.

Is the learner fit to ride?

Make sure that learners are fit to ride. Even minor ailments, such as a cold, can affect people’s ability to concentrate. Emotions can also have an effect. If you’re unsure, explore the subject with your learner(s). Such a discussion can be a learning process in itself, preparing them for when they have to make these decisions by themselves.

Managing safety on the road

Before you get out on the road the responsibility for keeping the learner(s), other road users and yourself safe should be agreed. As the instructor, much of the responsibility rests with you. But the learner needs to know when and how you might intervene, so that they do not panic.

Agreeing how you are going to communicate is important. Set some ground rules with your learner(s). Think about what will happen if your radio link stops working.

Once you’re moving, make sure that your instructions are clear, so that the learner does not get confused. Look well ahead so that you can anticipate hazards and be ready to point them out if the learner does not spot them. Think about your own positioning.

Choose a route that is at the right level for the learner. If it’s too simple they will not learn anything new; if it’s too complicated then they will be overwhelmed.

If you do have to step in to deal with a hazard, make sure that the learner understands what happened. You can turn this into a learning experience – but do it as soon as possible. In any case, you should build in breaks so that you can discuss progress.

Other safety risks

Be aware of any other safety issues that could arise when you’re on the road, such as road rage from other road users or even aggression from your learner if things are not going their way. Think about how to reduce the risks of this happening.

Riding for long periods of time can be tiring, especially if your pupils are new to it. Make sure that you build in regular refreshment breaks to your training sessions.

If you’re delivering any training in a classroom, you need to make sure you follow health and safety requirements.

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