This videos in the menu above are for demonstration purposes only and do not necessarily fully represent the skills required of the advanced rider. The clips, with timings shown, are HD mp4 files and may not be suitable to view on a slow internet connection.

EKAM and IAM RoadSmart take no responsibility for any incident or accident arising from attempting to emulate the techniques shown.

Viewers are advised that many of these techniques require training and practice and advice should be sought from your local IAM RoadSmart affiliated motorcycle group.

Behind everything that advanced riders do is a simple idea; it's called The System of Motorcycle Control and leads to the quiet efficiency of riding style which is the hallmark of the expert.

Every rider should be asking themselves three questions:

  • What can be seen?
  • What can't be seen?
  • What can reasonably be expected to happen next?

The System of Motorcycle Control helps you answer these questions, and more, and deal with the outcome.  It assists the rider in developing their riding plan; planning their future actions as early as possible so that they are always in the right place, at the right speed, in the right gear, at the right time whilst making safe progress.  This subject is covered in greater depth during the Introduction to Advanced Motorcycling (ITAM), the classroom session that is the start of an associate's progress towards becoming an advanced motorcyclist.

The System

These are the five phases of The System, commonly referred to by the acronym IPSGA, and the examiner will be looking to see that the prospective advanced motorcyclist is applying each and every one in a consistent manner throughout the advanced test.


This phase encapsulates the other four as it must be applied continuously in order for the other phases to be effective.  It is best described by dividing it into three sub-phases as follows:

Take:  Observation is paramount to the advanced rider and doesn't just entail looking where you're going. The rider needs to take in as much information about his surroundings as possible and will be looking as far ahead as he can see, constantly scanning for changes in his environment. This would include use of the mirrors as well as shoulder and "life-saver" checks, giving the rider a full 360 degree safety bubble.

Use:  From his observations he is able to use the information gained to formulate a riding plan; adjusting his position, speed, gear and acceleration to maintain safe progress and deal with any hazards that may present themselves in a quiet and unflustered manner. Hazards, in this context, could be construed as anything that impinges on the safety of the rider or other road users.

Give:  The advanced rider, having taken and used the information from his observations is now in a good position to provide other road users with information. This may be in the form of using his indicators to warn other traffic of an impending change in direction, brake lights to warn following traffic that he is slowing down or might even include the use of the horn to warn people that he is there. His position on the road will also provide some idea of his intentions.


The correct position of the bike on the road is important in maintaining rider safety, bike stability and a good view of the road ahead to get early warning of possible hazards.  A rider should not adjust his road position to obtain a better view, only to mainitain the one they already have, adjusting it as the view ahead changes.  NEVER SACRIFICE SAFETY FOR POSITION.


Many riders equate "progress" with speed, but this is not necessarily the case. The correct speed is judged by many factors, including the prevailing legal limit for the class of road. The question the rider needs to be asking at this point in the System is whether this is a safe speed to negotiate a particular hazard bearing in mind that if the unexpected does happen that the rider can stop safely, on their side of the road, in the distance they can see to be clear.


This has nothing to do with what kit the rider is wearing. The correct gear for any given situation very much depends on the type of bike being ridden but is judged to be the gear that gives the greatest flexibility for the speed required, road and weather conditions. Too low a gear will result in over-revving the engine and rapid acceleration to clear a hazard situation may be curtailed by the machine's rev limiter. To high a gear may result in the engine stalling instead of accelerating and would not provide much in the way of engine braking. Being in the correct gear also shows that the rider has some sympathy for the machinery.


Some hazards or manoeuvres are best negotiated by slowing down rather than speeding up so it can be seen that acceleration, in this context, works in two directions. An overtaking manoeuvre would require acceleration to complete, whereas a bend in the road may require deceleration. Sensible use of acceleration allows the rider to achieve an appropriate speed for the prevailing conditions.

So there you have it. The "System" is intended to be flexible so if a planned manoeuvre cannot be completed at any stage then the rider can revert to a previous stage or even start all over again, bearing in mind that the Information phase should be a continuous function. Like everything else we do in life it requires thought and practice, and good coaching from a qualified and experienced observer - which is where East Kent Advanced Motorcyclists will be only too pleased to assist.

Here are some other acronyms you may come across from time to time: -


Illness/Injury, Medication, Sleep, Alcohol, Food, Emotion:  In a nutshell, are YOU safe to ride?  Do you have any injury or illness that might make it difficult or dangerous for you to ride? Does any medication you take warn you not to drive or use heavy machinery for a period of time?  Did you get enough sleep last night?  What did you have to drink last night and would you pass a breathalyser test?  Are you fed and watered? Dehydration can be very dangerous and can cause loss of concentration. Your emotions will effect the way you ride.


Petrol, Oil, Water, Drive/Damage, Electrics, Rubber:  These are items you should be checking before every ride so that you can be confident that your machine will not let you down.  These checks only take a few seconds.  Do you have enough petrol for the intended journey?  Is the oil level correct?  What about hydraulic oil for clutch and brakes?  Is the chain at the correct tension?  Is there any damage to the bike?  Do the lights, indicators and dashboard indications all work?  Are the tyres correctly inflated?  Are there any cuts or splits in the rubber?  Is the tread depth legal?


As above but adds Mirrors and Steering/Suspension:  Are the mirrors correctly adjusted?  Is there any play in the steering?  Is the suspension operating correctly?


Safety, Stability, View:  In any situation you should be looking at these points; am I safe, is the bike stable, do I have sufficent view to continue?


Safe, Legal, Appropriate/Advantagious, Perception:  All with considering SSV above, giving yourself a SLAP from time to time will improve your riding!  Is what you are about to do safe, is it legal and appropriate?  As important is how others will perceive your next move.  The advanced motorcyclist should make all manoeuvres look smooth and effortless while not giving any cause for concern to other road users.

The 4 Ss

Smoothness, Safety, Systematic, Speed:  Use this to analyse your ride or, perhaps, a fault.  Was your ride as smooth as it could have been?  Was it a safe ride?  Did you use The System (IPSGA) appropriately?  Was your speed appropriate to the situation at all times?  This is what an examiner will be asking too, so being able to analyse your own ride in the same way is beneficial.


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