The ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ team are Alf Gasparro, Duncan McKillop and Kevin Williams.
Alf says about himself: “In my day job as an air ambulance pilot in the UK, for many years, I have responded to hundreds of motorcycle accidents. Those involving both off road and on public roads, with all levels of experience and all motorcycle & scooter/moped types… in every situation & type of location…repeatedly!”Having started riding motorcycles as a boy on tracks and muddy fields, now thirty five years later still riding and my passion for them has not diminished and I continue to always want to ride & learn more. Over the years I’ve ridden on most terrains in numerous countries, in all types of weather on all sorts of bikes and never stopped learning, in fact I try to seek out new learning opportunities whenever I can and have undergone various forms of further training in multiple disciplines too.
“In my aviation career I have been heavily involved in training and developing new systems & training models and that element of my working life continues still with my colleagues in the emergency services.
“From a very early stage it was evident that the motorcycle accidents that we and the other emergency services were attending were largely and completely avoidable and with my relationship with riding I could quite clearly deconstruct the accident scene into causation factors and with my training & aviation background, I could see where improvements could be made to prevent these incidents repeating themselves.
“So with continued attendance of these incidents and more research, I eventually & officially, launched the ‘HELI BIKES – Motorcycle Safety Initiative’ in which the goal was to raise rider awareness and improve biking safety by highlighting the causes of motorcycle accidents and all the factors involved in the collisions and resulting injuries.
“I also used aviation models in terms of promoting open dissemination of information and accident analysis and used many environmental & human factors elements and applied them to the motorcycle accident problem.
“One of the main concerns in all road accidents, but more so involving motorcyclists because of the greater injury potential, is the apparent repetition of causes and a training, testing, design & information system that largely fails to address the common causes. With this in mind I wanted to help to find solutions to these issues or improve current models to successfully address them.
“Through like minded associations from both within and outside of the motorcycle world, I was extremely enthusiastic to help develop and promote a strategy that can yield a high success rate in accident avoidance and indirectly impact on reducing injury occurrence and it is my sincere wish that the motorcycle world and community will join together in this common endeavour.
RIDE AWARE!/RIDE SAFE!
Let’s introduce Duncan and his ‘Notable Career Highlights’.
“Apprentice at Land Rover Solihull.
“10 years in the motorcycle industry, working from 1972 to 1979 in retail then 1979 to 1982 in advertising sales at Motorcycle News.
“Went on to form first home computer hire company. Portable computer pioneer founding operation based on The Ericsson Portable PC. First to use Epson touch-screen portable computers for industrial quality control applications. Pioneered touch-screen applications for tourist information systems.
“Startup company Freepages was the first to advertise on the London Underground map. Renamed http://Scoot.com, was first internet company to use computer/telephony integration to monetise texts on mobile phones, first to geo-locate all UK businesses, designed concept of individual centred search through creation of ‘find nearest’ function, pioneered ‘roughly right’ search algorithm.
“Founded software company developing super-smart smart cards.
“Post retirement in 1999, back into Back to bikes. ROSPA diploma in advanced motorcycle instruction, CSS level IV, coach for road racer Charley Oakland. Started and ran Total Control Advanced Riding Clinics in UK. On-road instructor.
Commenced research on human factors in accident causation particularly the “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You” SMIDSY collision, devising the ‘SIAM’ or ‘SMIDSY Identification and Avoidance Manoeuvre’. Co-wrote “How close is too close?” explaining the causes and solutions to the SMIDSY problem. Consulted with DSA on (but failed to influence) modifications to the CBT.
Extensive studies of Japanese riding and rider training techniques, introduced the sport of Moto Gymkhana in UK, chief coach on Moto-Gym training courses.
Continuing research on the application of aviation safety techniques to motorcycle riding. Developed smartphone apps for graphical representation of emergency braking performance. Continues to work on motorcycle safety projects based on the principals of human factors that featured so strongly in the working career.
Ridden extensively throughout UK and Europe.
Holds Yachtmaster certificate and has both fixed wing and helicopter Pilot’s licences.
“At eighteen I passed the old “round-the-block” motorcycle test first time whilst at university in London. A decent degree in biological sciences didn’t help get a job so I started working as a courier to pay the bills – a school of very hard knocks. After an unsuccessful foray into teaching via a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (I discovered I hated schools!) that temporary courier job lasted 16 years! However, it helped me ride extensively in the UK, Europe and North America in all conditions on a wide variety of machines, and funded me through a Masters degree too.
“Whilst despatching, I created a courier training scheme long before anyone else. Unfortunately, it was also long before riders thought more training was a good idea and take-up was miserable.
“My first experience of learner training involved helping friends to pass the test. Discovering I enjoyed teaching adults in a non-school environment, I qualified as a CBT instructor in 1995 and by 1997 I was one of the first DoT-approved Direct Access instructors. In 2002 I was awarded a BTEC in advanced and improver training and soon after gained an NVQ in Distance Learning. In 2003 I qualified as a member of the National Motorcycle Escort Group.
I worked in basic training until 2007 when I focused full-time on post-test and advanced training via my school, ‘Survival Skills’ which I’d set up in 1997. As a basic trainer, I know a newly qualified motorcycle licence holder has a good grounding in core riding skills. But my background as a courier led me to think that too much conventional post-test training was just more of the same, albeit to a higher level, with a focus on polish rather than pragmatism.
Everyone – myself and other riders included – make mistakes. I firmly believe that by learning where, how and why we and others foul up, riders would have a better understanding of how to avoid getting into those situations, and so ride with a lower exposure to risk where identified, which in turns frees us up to have fun where it’s safe to do so, and that’s what Survival Skills was set up to do.
I was also one of the first trainers to address the differing needs of newly qualified, returning and experienced riders, and was first offer e-learning courses. I’ve run courses from Kent to Cumbria, in the Isle of Man, regularly visit France and even run a course in Portugal. Survival Skills also attracts riders from all from over the UK as well as from further afield – notably Canada and Senegal. I’ve worked with Buckinghamshire county council and Somerset Road Safety Partnership on rider safety schemes and since 2011, I’ve collaborated with Kent Fire and Rescue Service on the award-winning ‘Biker Down’ initiative.
“Other interests? For several years I was a volunteer for SERV, a group who deliver blood to hospitals around Kent and East Sussex. I’ve done track days and always fancied doing some endurance racing, but a couple of seasons in ‘Moped Mayhem’ (a best of 4th place for ‘Team Fiendish’) convinced me I was neither rich nor competitive enough, plus it hurt too much when I crashed!
When I’m not riding bikes, I’m writing about riding. Since 1995 I’ve had a website online, more recently moving onto blogs and social media – my Facebook page has become a lively online community. I spent ten years moderating the ‘Survival Skills’ section on the Visordown, forum, was a regular contributor on the old Compuserve motorcycle forum and still get online regularly on local forums. From 2002 to 2014, I had a safety column in ‘The Road’, had articles published in club magazine all over the world, and have self-published several books on riding technique including ‘Tarmac Tactics’ (a digest of my many years riding experience) and the unique ‘MIND over MOTORCYCLE’ which draws on my science background to explain how our brains work, allowing us to do things on a motorcycle it was never designed for.
It hardly seems possible but I’ve clocked up 35 years of professional and recreational riding, and not far short of a million miles.
…because it’s a jungle out there!