Hit the nail on the head TC, I remember from my first blue light training run in an ambulance keeping to much slower speeds covering a pre determined route at not much over the speed limits and thinking how quick it felt despite it not, it was just the ability to plan and not have to slow much that made it feel smooth and quick.

Also makes me laugh when the local yoofs see the work bike and go what’s the fastest you can go on that bike and my usual response is 50mph, too built up in the city to get upto that speed a lot of the time, unless on the few dual carriageways that run through my patch then yes will open the bike up a bit


Can only speak for myself as a IAM Observer - with a 100% record of my associates getting a first** :slight_smile: (Yeah baby!)

**Before you get too excited - that is 1 associate - as I only started observing 4 months ago. So clearly not the TC level of insight!

My (very limited) take it on it is thus: IAM or Rospa - way more depends on your observer. Some are knobs, some are brill - who knows which will you will get? When I did an intro session I liked the guy - so insisted on getting him. Didn’t want a knob.

As for speed - my take on it as an observer is simple. You will ride as fast or slow as you want / choose. I am not going to worry - that’s your business / your life / you decide how fast you wish to ride. But as an observer - I would like to help you ride as safely as I can. So if you do ride fast, I’d like for you to do that with safe lines / anticipation / judgement etc. If you ride slow, I’d like for you to do that with safe lines / anticipation / judgement etc.

If / when we are out - if you are giving it plenty in the 30s, for sure, I’ll sit back and let you go. In the nationals, am going to be way less worried about it.

But if you are significantly over the limits, I’ll point out that you risk your license but in itself I wouldn’t go over board if I didn’t think it dangerous. We are all adults and make our own decisions. That said, if I think your riding (note I didn’t say speed) is genuinely dangerous, I’d not hesitate in saying so.

I’d also point out that on test, you are expected to ride within the law at all times. Though there is defo some flexibility given that an examiner (TC?) would not fail you for doing 61mph - rather he’d assess you as if he was on the road and give you some leeway (as I understand). That said, on test doing three figures in a 60 probably would lead you to fail.


@TimR whilst the IAM do have their own book, everything still evolves around Roadcraft, and so decent groups and schools encourage the reading of Roadcraft rather than anything else.

Totally agree as group i did my test with no issues using Roadcraft as an aid however tge group i began observing with I was not allowed to encourage the use of Roadcraft, and to relate everything to their book .
I hasten to add that my time as an observer with them lasted until the day after my associate passed his test due to conflicts with the group leaders

I am an IAM member and have the RoSPA cert as well. In terms of differences between the two organisations I think they are pretty much the same. The main difference however is that RoSPA require a re-test every three years whereas IAM issue your pass and then you need do no more. I’m a courier and I like the re-test idea as it is a useful way to identify and eliminate any bad riding habits that creep in unnoticed.


@jjmurphy The retest requirements also now apply to the IAM for all but the basic pass which is back to the old system.

The IAM retest requirement was brought in with the introduction of the IAM first several years ago, which is why the Institute testing requirement is now considered on a par at least with the RoSPA gold.

The IAM first might even be considered a step above a Gold now, but sorry to contradict you, the re-test requirement most certainly applies to the IAM now.

Not for ordinary members though TC. You can pass your IAM test, never retest and still be a full member. Indeed in the group I observe for, there is ongoing discussion around existing members whose riding has slipped back and how to encourage them to retest and/or for an observed ride.

On that part - I think Rospa is ahead of the game.

The IAM retest scheme is their ‘IAM Fellow’ thing:
Similar to RoSPA, you’ll need to retest every 3 years, and the membership is £49 a year to cover that retest cost.

Been discussed in our group a bit, but been little take up or interest in it from our membership, I suspect due to extra cost and effort required by members. Our impression is that it’s an offering more suited for someone riding commercially where the maintenance of skills is crucial, or something employers wish to verify. TBH Blood Biking could be considered to fit this, but it’s perhaps not something for someone just riding socially.

The other interesting new-ish IAM offering is their Masters scheme. A much higher level grade, highest civilian motoring/riding qualification in the UK from what I understand.

I’ve just signed up with IAM on the weekend and have been allocated to LAM. Does that mean all observed rides can only be with them and do they do the test? There isn’t that much clear information on the IAM website or I might just be missing it!
I’m hoping to pass my IAM test ASAP to then become a volunteer with SERV.

Great thing to do.

You can join SERV without the IAM or ROSPA qualification but must agree to pass it in the first year.

They’ve changed the rules unfortunately! It was like that a few years ago but now insists on the qualification up front!

Unfortunately that is no longer the case, I’ve been doing it for 4yrs, no one told me the deadline was 1st Jan 2020 so even with ally experience I can no longer work for them hence having to now do mine.

Shaun, did you pick Banstead or tatsfield?


So you will be allocated an observer by LAM. Your observer will do a series of rides with you and when he is confident you are ready for a test, you will be told. **(see below) The test assessor is usually plod and is kind of independent of the IAM group. He may test more than 1 group, maybe a ROSPA one too.

If you want to get a move on, be clear with your observer that is the case. And practice whatever you are being asked to work on. It may not be a lot given your experience…

But setting a regular time with your observer - say Saturday mornings - will help get it along. And riding in all weathers will too :slight_smile:

**All of the above applies to the Suffolk lot. We also have what we call a “Cross check” which is a mock test done by a national observer - a final check before you go for test. (I failed mine - London filtering not welcome in Suffolk lol) - Put an asterix as I don’t know if other IAM groups do cross checks too.

We also had a load of SERV riders after the observing. Most flew through, one or two didn’t. Good luck.

1 Like

^ “he or she” - I would hope at least
Thanks all, I’ve been reading this thread and hadn’t really ever thought about doing SERV myself, but have reached out to them

ELAM often do a ‘test check’ mock test type thing too. Often with a different observer to the one you were allocated - i.e. a second opinion.

Note it will be yourself who ultimately books the test with IAM direct, and theoretically there’s nowt stopping you booking it early. However, we’ve seen a number in our group booking early despite observers informing them they weren’t quite ready and then they’ve failed… Wastes time all round, wastes your money (retests will cost you) and tarnishes a group’s pass rate. If you’re decent, you’ll whizz through the course, but do take on board what the observer say, they’ll have been volunteering their time for years, passing countless folk through the test and they’ll know their stuff.

1 Like


That’s interesting. My lot in Suffolk - an associate doesn’t book the test - we do it for them.

Funnily enough (or not) every single observer in the SAM is male. We have about 25 in total. Ridiculous that not 1 female observes.

welcome to LAM Shaun … I’m a LAM member but spend more time on their (private) forum than I do riding on roads these days (off road and on track these days)

A good group and can recommend Wookie (Andrew Longshaw) as a really interesting and progressive observer …he wont fanny about with you.

1 Like

Ah, we can beat you there in ELAM, we’ve 3 female observers, out of 21 total. Over the years we’ve had a number of women on the committee too, though that number has dropped a bit recently.


Yeah, things are sometimes a bit backward in Suffolk.

Their idea of diversity up here, is to shag both sisters :slight_smile:


agreed LAM did a check test with a senior obs with me and I booked my own test (this was in 2005 tho so things might have changed !)




Yeah, things are sometimes a bit backward in Suffolk.

Their idea of diversity up here, is to shag both sisters :slight_smile:

Bwahahaha :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: