National BikerDown booking website
Today I was honoured to be invited to speak at the National Fire Bike Conference – held at the West Midlands Fire Service HQ in Birmingham. This saw firefighters who are involved in running Fire Bikes & BikerDown courses gathering from all over the country to shape the way forward and hear about what developments have been going on in the background; one major one of which was of course the DocBike!
Since talking at the National Fire Chief’s Road Safety Conference in Kent last year, DocBike has worked hard with VideoBiker to develop a National BikerDown booking website. This was revealed today, giving fire services running BikerDown all over the country the ability in the future to book and manage attendees for their courses for free. This is a major development and (for example) when big National events occur, such as the British Motorcycle Championships occurring at Silverstone this April, DocBike & BikerDown staff will be able to direct 100’s of thousands of bikers to one place to book their BikerDown course. A big thank-you to VideoBiker for making this happen.
DVSA partner with BikerDown
I was also able to talk about the symbiotic partnership that we’ve been able to develop with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA – the body that sets the driving/riding tests and is also continuing to promote the importance of post-test motorcycle training via the Enhanced Rider Scheme). Where riders who are undertaking an Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) want to undertake an optional module on managing the scene of a collision, they will be directed to their local BikerDown course, helping to increase attendance at BikerDown and ensuring a minimum standard for this important ERS module.
With a large proportion of firefighters from across the country involved in Fire Bikes & BikerDown in one room, it was a great opportunity to be able to say ‘thank-you’ for all the work they do in engaging with motorcyclists. What the DocBike looks to do through working with Bournemouth University, the Trauma Audit & Research Network (TARN) and BikeSafe – is through our research, help the fire service nationally to identify those motorcyclists who are most at risk of being involved in a serious collision and not only offer them a place on a BikerDown course, but during the process, help riders to become more aware of the things that most commonly lead to death or serious injury and encourage BikerDown attendees to take up further rider awareness training through BikeSafe and advanced rider courses offered by the Enhanced Rider Scheme, IAM RoadSmart and RoSPA.
Motorcycle injury prevention
Research underpins everything that the DocBike does. By working with industry, we have been able to secure the £25,000 required to match fund a PhD student with Bournemouth University, to specifically look at motorcycle injury prevention and whether our engagement with ‘at risk’ motorcyclists is beneficial. If yes, we can share this across the world! If not, we can look at how we can change our strategies to become more successful. Lester Aldridge (solicitors) have not only donated the money to the DocBike charity to pay for the PhD student, but will also be funding an inflatable display tent, which will help to draw in the crowds at major events such as the National Motorcycle Championships.
A national DocBike
The DocBike is currently talking to a number of air ambulance charities across the UK in an attempt to roll the DocBike out Nationally. These discussions are ongoing, but are looking promising in more than one location, so keep tuned for more info.
All in all a very productive day and a great opportunity to bring dedicated and passionate firefighters engaged in motorcycle injury prevention up to speed with National advances and our aspirations for the near future.