Education, education, education

Rob Kirman, a Superintendent, and biker from North Wales Police goes on to say, ‘Wales is a great place to ride and we want more of you to come and explore just how good it is’.

Describing his love of the roads in his native north, Rob goes on to talk about some of his favourite routes. ‘One of the best routes and one that I rode during my advanced training is the A4212 from Bala to Trawsfynydd. The scenery is really spectacular and the road itself has some great sweeping bends and one or two tighter corners so you have to be alert, as always on a motorbike’.

Rob really is passionate about riding in Wales, and regularly attends meetings on his police BMW RT 1200. ‘I’m the Chair of the All Wales Motorcycle Safety Steering Group, not the catchiest of titles I know!’ The group meets to further biker safety in Wales and has representatives from Welsh Govt, local authorities, MAG, volunteer services, emergency services and RoSPA. Rob continues, ‘It meets in Llandrindod Wells or Builth Wells as they are about middle for everyone attending and as such I have an opportunity to ride on some of Wales’ best roads, such as the A483, A489 and the A470. These take me from North to Mid-Wales in a couple of hours or so and provide me with some excellent riding in beautiful countryside’.

They also provide Rob with first-hand experience of the dangers faced and taken by riders. ‘I’m well aware of the pleasure, thrill and adrenalin rush that riding a motorbike can give. That’s one of the main draws to riding and the roads in Wales are great for it’. However, as Head of Operations in North Wales Rob is also in charge of the Roads Policing Unit and sees first-hand the devastation caused when loved ones are seriously injured and killed on the roads of the Principality.

Acknowledging that the vast majority of riders on the roads ride within the law and their own capability Rob talks openly about the role the police play in dealing with the minority who treat the public highway as their personal race track. ‘We have a small number of hard-core riders who believe that the open road is there for them to race along, regardless of other users. It is my job and that of officers throughout Wales to target this minority and make sure that they are prevented from posing a threat to other road users and themselves and also from giving the rest of us a bad name’.

Asked what would be the one thing he’d recommend to riders Rob is very clear, ‘education, education, education. Get more training in whatever guise suits you best and put into practice what you learn’. As a police officer Rob recommends attending BikeSafe as the first step towards enhancing your skills as a rider. Run by most forces in the country BikeSafe aims to reduce the number of bikers injured on the roads. Based in the classroom and out on the road the course specifically explores the main riding hazards a biker faces and gives an understanding of current riding levels and guidance on where to go to further improve your skills. ‘The cost is minimal but the benefits are priceless’, according to Rob who attended a course himself when he first started riding.

So in short, Rob and the rest of the group welcome you to Wales By Bike and hope you enjoy it so much, and so safely that you come back, time and time again.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016