Having agreed to write something as Deputy Chief Observer, the first challenge was the title. Charon does “From the Chair”, Andy does “From the Saddle”, so this is going to be “From the Pillion”. A few months ago I accepted the role of Deputy Chief Observer, and will shadow Andy until the AGM next year. I will then stand for election and, if elected, will become the next Chief Observer. Under the club rules Andy has to step down after five years and he deserves a break!
I have attended several TVAM Committee meetings, and am starting to get a feel for what is involved in running this great club of ours. When I joined TVAM back in 1998 as an Associate, I never imagined that I would still be involved today, and am both honoured and awed at the prospect of becoming Chief Observer.
Over that sixteen year period there have been four CO’s, all different and each a hard act to follow. I have been reflecting on TVAM’s success and how we might build on that for the future. If you asked our 900 plus members to define what we are, I suspect you would get at least 900 different answers, and they would all be correct, and would include:
- A Bike Club
- A Road Safety Charity
- A Training Organisation affiliated to the IAM
- A Limited Company
The aims of all of these are broadly in line, although there are many differing opinions about how those aims are best achieved, as demonstrated by our current debate over our relationship with the IAM. The questions raised by Andy Slater at the AGM, and debated at the Observer Weekend, have now been distributed to the Team Leaders, who will hopefully give some focus on this. If you have not had a chance to voice your opinion, please try to attend your local team meeting.
Road Safety is becoming the subject of increasing government and media attention, and we motorcyclists are often portrayed negatively. In a time of improving road safety statistics, motorcycle fatalities remain stubbornly high, and TVAM has an opportunity to contribute in changing this, but we will achieve little in isolation.
The IAM in turn are subject to changes introduced by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is the body the IAM have chosen to help maintain and improve their own standards. The introduction of the National and Local Observer qualification is as a result of this. There will be changes and challenges for us all over the coming year, but is that a bad thing?
Finally, I have been asked about how I see the role of Chief Observer, and what it means to me. I have a simple answer – it’s about the Riding Standard. I believe that TVAM’s success has encouraged us to become a little complacent. We are good, but are we as good as we could be?
Deputy Chief Observer