IPSGA – information, position, speed, gear & acceleration (advanced tips)

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The system of motorcycle control

Advanced riding progression requires a conscious decision to improve, plus a commitment to take consistent and sustained action. This requires a complete shift in riding style to one that embraces an advanced method of riding called the system of motorcycle control (the system). This ‘system’ is the same approach as used by police riders in training and applied at this professional level, results in very high standards of advanced riding.

There is a requirement to think differently and to see the road differently. Riders must significantly and consistently improve their use of effective vision, awareness and planning. These skills take time to develop and to progress, participants must fully understand each phase of ‘the system of motorcycle control. Core to this system is the mnemonic – IPSGA, which stands for Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration.

This system helps riders to safely deal with any prevailing hazard. It is a methodical way of planning and it’s mastery requires riders to change their perception’ of the road and of hazards. Ongoing risk assessment is key to developing riding skills to a higher level and advanced riding ‘candidates’ will need to consistently practice to become competent.

Information phase (I)

The Information Phase is the first action in a methodical approach of dealing with static or developing hazards ahead. It requires good forward vision and riders are encouraged to use the mnemonic – TUG (take, use and give) to ensure maximum information phase effectiveness.

Take: take on board the information ahead
Use: use the information gathered to make a flexible riding plan
Give: give information to other road users (if necessary)

Position phase (P)

During the Position Phase, riders should always position for maximum view but must always move away from danger to reduce risk. They must always position for safety whilst looking for best available road grip and also taking into consideration any hidden dangers.

Speed phase (S)

With the Speed Phase, advanced riding requires the speed to be adjusted well in advance – to levels of speed that are appropriate to a riders ability, the prevailing road conditions and legal speed limits. Being in the correct gear, riders should use ‘throttle sense’ by rolling off the power to achieve the desired speed and if necessary by using the brakes to reduce speed or to give information to vehicles behind that speed is being reduced.

Gear phase (G)

During the Gear phase of IPSGA, riders should select the correct gear to be able to negotiate the hazard safely, this should be done before reaching an identified hazard.

Acceleration phase (A)

With the Acceleration Phase – in simple terms, once a hazard has been cleared or dealt with, advanced riding involves appropriate acceleration, using the correct throttle control. The acceleration phase can require reducing, maintaining and/or increasing speed. It does not relate to riding fast or the excessive use of speed. 

IPSGA learning points

  • Progression requires changes in thinking and how a rider ‘sees’ the road
  • Change takes time, effort and persistence
  • Improved levels of skill, safety and enjoyment lie firmly in the hands of the rider
  • Adopting ‘the system of motorcycle control’ can quickly result in noticeable improvement
  • Professional instructor-led coaching is key to developing a motorcyclists advanced riding skills to their true potential
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