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Circulation 450

no: 261

March 2013

newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists IAM Group no: 1009 Registered Charity No 289807 Run entirely by volunteers Affiliated to the IAM Sec. 22 Highfields Close, Stoke Gifford, BRISTOL BS34 8YB Tel: 0117 979 8061 e-mail: IAM Bristol Group:

IAM Chiswick (national):

The IAM and Bristol Group explained This LINK is the newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists, which is a local Group affiliated to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). The national IAM is the UK’s leading Road Safety charity, dedicated to increasing skills for all road users, improving standards and safety in driving and riding, and helping to save lives on our roads. It is financed by IAM Members and Associates, who pay an annual membership fee. The IAM also has a commercial arm which charges for training provided, including IAM Drive & Survive for company drivers who drive for work, and IAM Driver Retraining Academy Ltd for ‘offence retraining’ courses. The 200+ local IAM Groups are independent volunteer organisations, but they are officially Affiliated to the national IAM and work extremely closely with it. Local Groups are Membership Clubs, with two main functions: firstly, they offer a local focus for IAM Members to continue their interest in Advanced Driving, and secondly, an important activity of Groups today is to provide Advanced Driving Guidance to Members of the Public (Associates), preparing them for the IAM Advanced Driving Test. Details of how we do this in the Bristol area can be found on page 40. This newsletter is printed, collated and despatched by Group volunteers. It is also displayed for free access on our website:

Views expressed in this newsletter are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent those of the Editor, the Committee of Bristol Advanced Motorists, or IAM Chiswick. The Group reserves the right to edit or otherwise amend original materiel submitted for publication. Materiel submitted may also be published on the Group website and in other IAM Group newsletters. If you wish to reproduce any materiel, please credit the LINK, Bristol Advanced Motorists, as the source.


Paul Hunt 21 De Verose Court, Hanham, BRISTOL

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

0117 960 8494 BS15 3SW Page 1

March 2013

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Contents this Issue

Click on a title to go to the page

Bristol Group and the IAM explained Editorial items Recent IAM Advanced Driving Test Success / FAD cancelled 98 percent Test Success Rate in Bristol Group Young Driver IAM Test Success / Want a DriveCheck? Young Driver Refund Scheme - South Glos and Bristol City Cashback - Fundraising the Easy way Bristol Group News IAM Chiswick News Recommend Skill for Life to the public IAM track-based Skills Days Bristol City Council 20mph Implementation Working Party Thanks to Don Brown / Become a Meeting Reporter The AGM of the IAM Ltd at Chiswick Hughes Guide to Traffic Law From the News Forthcoming Group Monthly Meeting Speakers March Meeting / Advanced Driving Refresher Course CALENDAR – WHAT’S ON ? / Visit, Marshfield Ice Cream Three-in-a-Car - Your Invitation for 2013 Nathan Sale from Aardman – Monthly Meeting June 2012 Motorists’ Question Time – Monthly Meeting January 2013 National Groups Conference – October 2012 Could you be a Social Events Organiser? I’ve bought new Headlight Bulbs Advanced Motorcycling / New Facebook page / Twitter Group Contacts – Who Does What in the Bristol Group Advert: Rosie Leigh Tea Cups Advert: Steve G Photography / Place an Ad / More Associates What’s this course about? / Associate Course Dates The Cover of our hard copy version

page 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 26 30 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

All content compiled by the Editor unless otherwise credited.  Contributors this issue are:  Neill Barnaby, Pauline Barnes, Geoff Bevan,   Norman Dadd, Barnaby Ellis, Martin Evans,  Tony Gilbert, Steve Goodfellow,   Pam Hunt, Paul Hunt, Alex Merchant, Gary Nunn, Clare Reeves,   Caroline Rheubottom, Beryl Smith, Paul Woozley, IAM Chiswick and ‘The Archives’.   

We welcome items from our readers

Motoring topics, motoring experiences, a comment on Group matters – or indeed anything of interest. Send an e-mail, a letter – or even phone. 21 De Verose Court,

0117 960 8494 Hanham,


BS15 3Sw

DEADLINE DATE for receipt of materiel for the next (May 2013) issue: Saturday 27th April Page 2

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March 2013

Editorial WE ARE APPROACHING THE AGM - TUESDAY 23 APRIL Full Members will find enclosed a copy of Bristol Group’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2012. In a nutshell, the Group did not do too badly in the scheme of things, with a net loss of only 4 Members, and Associates holding at the same basic level as 2009/10/11. Coming to this AGM, we have had a greater loss of Members this January and the finances available to carry-on the same level of activity are “marginal”. The Committee hopes to see a good turn-out of Members at the AGM. Guest Speaker will be Pat Doughty, Operations Director with the IAM, who will have a wide range of IAM topics to talk about (see Calendar on page 21). NEW ASSOCIATE OR FULL MEMBER – OR EVEN A NON-MEMBER ? There is more to the Group than the Skill for Life course. We hold ‘club social’ Monthly Meetings on the 4th Tuesday (except December) at the BAWA Club, Filton. Entrance is free. See speaker details elsewhere. Hear the latest Group news, see Certificates awarded to people who have recently had success in the Test, FAD or Refresher, etc., Mix and Mingle, and maybe ask questions on driving and road safety. Whether you are a newcomer or an existing Member, meet and make friends in our Group. For the March Meeting, we are specifically inviting ALL ASSOCIATES to attend the meeting, and also to arrive early at 7:00 to have a discussion and advice session about their progress on the Skill for Life course. NEWSLETTER – in PAPER by Post, or on the WEBSITE ? No decision has yet been made about the Group newsletter – but it looks like cheap electronics are on the way out, and we may have been barking up the wrong tree. I have just had a renewal request from a professional organisation: £99, including 12 journals through the post. And I find my access to the website has been barred. If I want access to those journals on the website, with no paper copies – it will cost me £150.50. Yes, half as much again. Their reasoning – the website not only has the journal, but is also updated with interim news items, job vacancies, etc. – and that facility commands a premium price above standard membership. NATIONAL CONFERENCE This issue contains an interesting, though long, account by Gary Nunn about National Conference last October. It is an insight into what the IAM is doing nationally, rather than just looking at our Monthly Meetings and Associate Course here in Bristol. So several items have been deferred and will instead appear in our next (May) issue of the LINK. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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Recent IAM Test Successes

by Pam Hunt

We are very pleased to congratulate the following people, who have all recently passed the IAM Advanced Driving Test after taking part in the Bristol Group’s Skill for Life Associate Scheme.





above: Alexander Gostelow receiving his IAM Test Certificate from Bristol Group Vice-Chairman Marlene Baker at the Group’s January Monthly Meeting. photo:

No FAD / Observer Courses 2013

Paul Hunt

by Geoff Bevan

Unfortunately the Further Advanced Driving (FAD) and Observer Courses planned to start in February 2013 have had to be cancelled. Although 13 Members had previously expressed interest, none of them committed to the course. A couple of new people have since expressed interest, but it is not viable to run the FAD course with so few. Unless we can make some special arrangements for them, the next courses will run in 2014. Page 4

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98% pass rate!

March 2013

Bristol Group Test Results

Bristol Group Chief Observer Geoff Bevan writes: Members and Readers - Just to keep you up-to-date, the figure of 98% for the Bristol Group’s Test Success rate for January – December 2012 is way, way above the national average and I think we can all be rather proud of our Group and our Observers, and also thankful for the high quality of the local IAM Examiners who constantly drive us forward! Six candidates admittedly did not reach the necessary standard the first time round, but five of those six quickly re-took the Test and passed the second time, resulting effectively in just one failure for the year. The high pass rate is in part due to the procedure in place in Bristol Group whereby each Associate has a Pre-test Check Drive with one of our Observer Team Leaders to make absolutely certain that he is in fact Test-ready. Many Associates also have an intermediate Assessment Drive with another Observer if his main Observer considers a drive with another Observer would be beneficial to the particular Associate.


43 42 (98% passed) 16 (37% of passes) 1

MALE (74% of all candidates) PASSES of which, F1RST (pass with distinction)

32 (97% pass rate) 10 (31% of all males)

FEMALE (26% of all candidates) PASSES of which, F1RST (pass with distinction)

11 (100% pass rate) 6 (55% of all females)


BRISTOL GROUP Non-Members reading this - would YOU like to join a Skill for Life course, which culminates in taking the IAM Advanced Driving Test? Further details available from Bristol Group’s Pam Hunt, 0117 960 8494 or the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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March 2013

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Young Driver IAM Test Successes

by Pam Hunt

We congratulate Nick Smale, the latest Young Driver to have gained IAM Membership through a Skill for Life course run by Bristol Group. Being under 25 when he succeeded in the IAM Test, Nick qualified for a full refund of his Skill for Life fee under the scheme kindly sponsored by South Gloucestershire Council.

above: Nick Smale pictured at the Group’s January Monthly Meeting after being presented with his IAM Test Certificate and Refund Cheque. photo:

Paul Hunt

Bristol DriveCheck Assessment FOR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC



Members - Know anyone unsure whether to go for the full Skill for Life, but interested in having a one-off Driving Assessment? One of our Senior Observers will conduct a thorough 1.5 to 2 hour assessment and give a written feedback form reviewing 20 elements of driving. All for £25. Contact Pam on 0117 960 8494 or at Page 6

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March 2013

Money-back offer for South Gloucestershire 17 – 24 year olds who pass the IAM Test Turning Young Drivers into Advanced Drivers BRISTOL ADVANCED MOTORISTS is pleased to be working with SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNCIL to promote better driving and reduce casualties in the vulnerable 17 to 24 years age group. South Gloucestershire Council's Road Safety Team is providing funding to enable the IAM Skill for Life course fee to be refunded to Young Drivers who pass the IAM Advanced Driving Test.

The refund offer is open to Drivers aged 17-24 who are RESIDENTS in the SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE Local Authority Area, or who WORK PERMANENTLY in that area, or alternatively who are undertaking FULL-TIME EDUCATION in that area. The Refund will be given to those qualifying Young Drivers who pass the IAM Advanced Driving Test within 12 months of starting guidance, and who are aged under 25 on the day they pass the IAM Test.


Do YOU know a Young Driver who could benefit? Bring this to his / her attention, or talk to the parents. Further details available from Bristol Group’s Pam Hunt, on 0117 960 8494 or at

Money-back also for Young Drivers who live in the Bristol City area Bristol City Council's Road Safety Team has released funding to enable the IAM Skill for Life course fee to be refunded to four Young Drivers who pass the IAM Test and who live in the Bristol City Council area. To register for a place, contact Associates Administrator Pam, as above. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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March 2013

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Fundraise by using our ‘Cashback’ website

In February came a report on the growth of Cashback websites. These are websites which offer a ‘gateway’ to retailers. For directing the extra business, they get commission from retailers that is then shared with the customer who made the purchase. Top sites promise 2-7% on retail sales and cash amounts (e.g. £30) on things such as Insurance policies. Just visiting websites via the gateway promises payment – from 5p to £1.50 – and a phone App even promises a 50p payment for just walking into various stores. The latest offer is ‘In-store Cashback’ to spend in specified high street branches. Cashback credit cards are also available. However, a survey says 40% of Cashback is never made, there are hidden costs and you may not get the best price, making the discount meaningless.

So, to our members who are Internet shoppers: Why not use our own Cashback provider, not to get a Cashback yourself, but to raise funds which reliably come to the Bristol Group? You can easily do this FREE by shopping through EASYFUNDRAISING. Supporters registered with EasyFundraising and EasySearch have raised over £450 since we started – £68 alone over Christmas, and that’s with only 23 people registered – think of the income if all members joined ! Sign up free to and use the links on the Easyfundraising site to take you to the retailer and shop normally. A percentage of your spend comes directly to us at no extra cost to yourself. Offers and voucher codes available.

Raise Money for the Group as you Search the net ! You can also raise Cashback for the Group EVERY TIME you make a search. Just use the search engine and raise half a penny with every search. That may not sound much, but our members have raised over £110 so far just by using EasySearch.

Like to help in this way but are unsure what to do? Just contact the Group’s Geoff Bevan and he will advise you. Call 01453 860365 or e-mail Page 8

STOP PRESS: 3 more signed-up! Now 26 members registered!

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Group News CHISWICK PRESENCE at DELAYED JANUARY SKILL FOR LIFE Due to poor prevailing Winter weather conditions, the first Skill for Life seminar planned for January 23rd was postponed, the seminars actually going ahead on January 30th and February 13th. Sixteen Associates were enrolled, with one Full Member taking the Refresher course. At the second seminar we were joined by Paul Woozley, the Membership Development Manager with IAM Chiswick. Paul was impressed with the commitment of the volunteers and with the high quality. He said he believed no other Group provides seminars of that depth and standard. A GLOUCESTER PRESENCE TOO We were also joined at both seminars by Peter Davies of Gloucestershire Group, who came to see what we do, and was impressed. Each Group does something different, so it is good to “spy on the local opposition” and maybe take away some good ideas. Gloucester has for many years held periodic free 5-hour Saturday sessions for members of the public, before they decide to signed-up for Skill for Life. A Bristol representative attended the last Gloucester day, and thought it was maybe a bit much for an introductory presentation to the public. However, we in Bristol are now actively thinking of re-starting introductory meetings for members of the public before Skill for Life, and a simple option may be to invite people to our current ‘seminar one’ to see what Advanced Driving is about. REGIONAL OBSERVER TRAINING DAY The Group is considering hosting an Observer Training Day, the date provisionally proposed being Saturday 11th May. Any Observers interested in attending are asked to contact Chief Observer Geoff Bevan. Following financial losses on the last couple of events, the cost per delegate will be higher (although the Group will pay), to ensure the cost of the venue etc. is covered. (IAM Chiswick picks-up some other costs). PUBLICITY ON THE RADIO – and TV Secretary Martin Evans has made a couple of interview appearances on BBC Radio Bristol in response to IAM releases and general motoring news stories, including Distracted Drivers and Driving in Snow and Ice. He even appeared on national BBC Breakfast television news commenting from Bedminster on Bristol’s forthcoming blanket 20mph limit. We must also thank Road Safety Officer Alan Hale, who also recently spoke on BBC Radio Bristol concerning Young Drivers at Risk and the fact that South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol Group encourage Young Drivers to train for the IAM Advanced Driving Test, with a possible fee refund. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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March 2013

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IAM Chiswick News The IAM invites members to read the monthly INSIGHT (on IAM and Bristol Group websites) for PRODUCED MONTHLY BY IAM CHISWICK the latest IAM items regarding FOR IAM GROUPS AND THEIR MEMBERS Groups. However, a recent change sees content focussing on research and campaigns, less directly relevant to Groups and their Advanced Driving activities. The January issue majored on Parking Fines, which prompted Secretary Martin to write:

Caroline, Regarding the January issue of INSIGHT, I am not sure what

parking fines have to do with improving the standards of driving - this is more the area of the AA / RAC and Association of British Drivers (ABD) Martin Evans – Secretary, Bristol Advanced Motorists isn’t it? The reply: “Hi Martin, Thanks for your e-mail.

A chief reason why we conducted this research into local council parking profits was to examine the priorities of local authorities since spending cuts have been enforced by the government. Our research into parking has uncovered that while councils are making huge profits from parking charges, they are not reinvesting this money in road safety. The IAM will be launching a campaign later this year focussed on local authority spending, and how spending on matters such as road maintenance and local road safety schemes has been drastically cut. This is of course a matter of concern for the IAM. The other organisations which you have mentioned have in the past covered this subject also, though they tend to take a rather different stance on the matter. I hope this is helpful”. Caroline Rheubottom, Communications Officer, IAM Chiswick Do any of our Members read INSIGHT? What do you think about the recent content? Let the Editor know. IAM ROUNDEL LOGO USED IN ADVERTISING Members. You may have noticed the IAM roundel cropping-up in adverts in magazines and on the web. We have checked with IAM Chiswick, and Membership Development Manager Paul Woozley tells us that any current Member can use the logo to promote his own business in general. Some Driving Schools / Chauffeur Businesses may well be using the logo legitimately – even though the proprietor may have taken the IAM Test 50 years ago and taken no update training since. But beware, others may be using it totally illegitimately. Page 10

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Recommend Skill for Life

Members – a good proportion of new Associates is gained by YOUR personal recommendation. Please keep on doing it. But be aware that new technology does not always mean simple, so please note that the new IAM website can make buying Skill for Life a little more difficult !


To buy Skill for Life online on the new IAM website is not exactly straightforward now. Here’s how: ● Visit Click on ‘Drivers’ (on left bar) ● ● Click on ‘Courses’ (on left bar): ● Click on ‘Advanced Driving’ (left bar) ● Then, scroll down to bottom of page, Click on ‘Buy online today’, ● Then, add Skill for Life (Car) to basket and go on to pay on-line.


You cannot! The new “improved” IAM website no longer enables a paper application form to be downloaded for sending by post. Paul Woozley, IAM Chiswick’s Membership Development Manager, says,

“We no longer offer a paper download on the website. We have moved with the times and offer an online or telephone purchase option. The amount of paper-based applications has reduced dramatically and comes with a high admin cost and time lag. We will continue to print leaflets for Group use but NOT for download via the web for the public.”

Editor’s Comment: One would think that removing an option, however "costly" or "little-used" is not altogether wise with falling Associate numbers. Many people do not have the Internet at home, but if they should access the IAM website at work or in a Library, it is now not possible to download a paper Skill for Life application form. Bristol Group has provided paper application forms to two potential Associates in the last month. That proves that some still prefer to send by post.


This telephone enquiry has revealed that, depending where you look on the new IAM website, two different phone numbers are given for phoning to purchase Skill for Life, without any apparent reason. Which to use? Again, IAM Chiswick’s Paul Woozley explains:

“ 0845 126 8600 is a non-geographic number at a flat rate, but it is not included on some mobile call plans and so therefore we publish the geographic number 020 8996 9600 as well. Both numbers work well for anyone wishing to purchase Skill for Life over the phone.” the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 11

March 2013

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Now just



IAM track-based ‘Skills Days’ offer a driving learning experience on well-known, challenging motor-racing circuits with IAM ‘instructor’ guidance from the passenger seat throughout, with at least six separate 'on-track' sessions in your own car with the focus on observations and your techniques of car control so that you are able to make rapid and smooth laps of the circuit. You will work on positioning, braking, gear choice and acceleration technique. Repeated laps of the same circuit allow you to experiment with different variations of approach, and you find how critical the right choice is to making the drive feel absolutely right. The circuit environment allows you to experience the subtleties of your car’s handling. You are in a controlled space. The fixed and moving hazards associated with public roads are reduced and there are only a few cars on track at any one time. No matter whether driving supercar or runabout, IAM members have enjoyed the experience and been surprised at what they have learnt in just a few hours.

MEMBERS ONLY – although guests are welcome and they can spectate. A selection of Fiat and Alfa Romeo cars is usually available at IAM Driver Skills Days for you to try. Next dates are (more to follow):

Thruxton Circuit, Hants, Tues 23rd April, morning session. Call 07912 268851 or e-mail

and Croft Circuit, Yorkshire, Wednesday 8th May. am. and pm. Call 07768 620208 or e-mail Bristol Group Editor’s Notes for your consideration: 1. Events are organised through IAM Chiswick. This mention is on behalf of IAM Chiswick. 2. Driving Licences are checked at the event. 3. Ensure your car is in good order and with fluids topped-up to sustain the experience. 4. High speeds on a circuit can cause unexpected rapid tyre and brake wear. 5. Although mishaps are rare, they can happen. Be aware that insurance for participants is NOT included in the £129 fee. Insurance on-site is the responsibility of the individual. 6. IAM Surety policyholders can pay £15 for an extension of cover on their policy. Most other Insurers, and breakdown services, may not cover participation. Specialist brokers may quote for limited own damage and personal injury Insurance (but not third party), and also for specialist breakdown/recovery service.

Page 12

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Bristol City Council 20mph ‘Consultation’ Bristol Advanced Motorists has been invited to send a delegate to the 20mph IMPLEMENTATION WORKING PARTY run by Bristol City Council to progress its plans of introducing a 20mph speed limit across all roads within the City boundary. Tony Gilbert attended the first meetings and reported to our Committee verbally as follows. Bristol City Council made the decision in July to go ahead, despite the two trial areas not providing any convincing concrete data. The 20mph scheme is to ‘reduce the impact of antisocial speeding’ and to ‘help people actively take up cycling and walking’, making a ‘healthier and stronger Bristol’. The scheme will cover the whole of the Bristol City Council geographic area by 2015. The plan is that over 95% of all 30mph roads will be reduced to 20mph – not just side streets. Traffic Management and the Police generally don’t want ‘A’ class roads restricted – but many will be, as is the A420 through Redfield already. One exception could be to leave the main Wells Road at 30mph to avoid so-called rat-running. The consultation party will discuss whether any roads can be considered as exceptional cases – but the blueprint suggests there will be very few. Lots of organisations were invited to send a representative – including the Police, the Road Haulage Association, and Firstbus, but in the event the only people to turn up apart from us were a taxi driver, two Councillors plus the Councillor-in-charge, a pilot area representative from Bedminster Community, a person from RoadPeace and a person from the NHS. So - it’s the IAM and a taxi driver versus everyone else, so one can see where things are going. By attending, at least we can “stick an oar in”, even if it has no effect. Anyone on the party intending to make a challenge must quickly establish a precedent success, even if it is difficult. And difficult it certainly is, because Zone One is the Central Area – within Cumberland Basin, The Cut, Bedminster Bridge, Inner Circuit road, St James Barton, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Ashley Road, Kellaway Avenue, Henleaze and Clifton. Tony said the process was “elucidating and frustrating”. The next stages after the Working Party’s meetings will be ‘Public Consultation’ (i.e. “This is what you’re getting”). For details and an implementation map search for Bristol 20mph rollout or go direct to: the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 13

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Thanks to Don Brown –


Member Neill Barnaby writes: I drove up from Somerset especially for the Bristol Group’s November Monthly Meeting, the guest speakers to talk on the benefits of the proposed 20 MPH limit throughout the city of Bristol. This was a very well-attended Group meeting within the excellent facilities at BAWA. This occasion also marked the retirement of Don Brown as the Group’s Monthly Meeting Speaker Organiser. On behalf of all members I would like to thank Don for his efforts over the many years in the job. Where has he found his succession of interesting speakers? I for one have enjoyed many of his arranged talks from a few of the not so well known charities. Indeed, when I heard the Mercy Ships presentation , that was it, I was off to volunteer to put back something into the marine industry that I am involved in. Was it relevant to the motoring ethos? Well, yes, because when I boarded the Africa Mercy in Durban, South Africa, there were 42 Land Rovers being looked after by a IAM member who had to give guidance on off road driving ! What many members may not realise is the amount of inter-Group co-operation in finding and sharing speaker contacts. The problem of finding speakers was even discussed a recent Region Liaison Forum. Don and myself have discussed names for many years as I sort out the speakers for the Weston and Mendip Group. Such inter-Group co-operation will doubtless continue now Clare has taken-over. [ Editor’s Note: Sorry for the delay in publishing this – the original e-mail was lost in the ether and never arrived. It has been slightly edited to recognise that Clare has now taken-over. Ed.]

Volunteering Opportunity – Meeting Reporter We need a Volunteer (or Volunteers) to write a one or two-page summary of what our guest speakers say at Meetings, for insertion into the LINK for the information of Members. Beryl Smith did this task excellently for a time, and more recently James Lewis-Barned - but he has now gone away, up to University. If YOU would like to help, please get in touch with the Editor. 0117 960 8494 or speak to him at the next Monthly Meeting. Page 14

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IAM AGM Chiswick

- 21st November 2012

March 2013

Two of our Members - Norman Dadd and Tony Gilbert - attended the AGM. Norman gave this report at the Group Meeting in November. 1. Attendance: Only 34 Members out of the total 96,000 Members, representing a minute 0.03% of the IAM Membership.

[ Editor’s Note: The IAM is effectively run by Council, with no direction from, or agreement of, the IAM’s Membership at large. How long can this continue? ]

2 Subscription: The Annual IAM Member subscription was increased, to £34.50 pa, despite the meeting being reminded (by Norman) that: In

2008 2010 2012 -

111,000 Members paid subscriptions of £2.0 million 100,000 Members paid subscriptions of £3.4 million 96,000 Members paid subscriptions of £3.8 million.

The motion to increase subscriptions was passed by a ratio of 2 to 1 of the Members present and the same ratio of proxy votes, 1000 to 500, thereby dwarfing the votes of the Members present. 3. Profit/Surplus: Despite the large additional recent income from increased Members’ subscriptions, profit is only £73,000. Buried in the body of the consolidated accounts is a provision to write off £2.4 million, being the sum owed by the Commercial subsidiary to the parent company. The loss and gain cancel out in the consolidated accounts. 4. Post Balance Sheet acquisition: In October 2012, a Welsh company that specialises in ‘Offender Re-training’ had been acquired for an undisclosed sum, in the belief it can make money. 5. Zero Deaths: The Chairman’s stated “aim for the IAM of Zero Deaths on the roads” (also casually mentioned by the Chief Executive) was criticized by fellow Bristol Group Member, Tony Gilbert, as being “unrealistic and unachievable”. [ Editor’s Note: This is extremely worrying the IAM is supposed to be about Advanced Driving – yet ‘Zero Deaths’ sounds like European ‘Vision Zero’ or ‘Safe System Approach’ which are based on low speeds and are the antithesis of driving skill and responsibility of the driver. ]

6. * * * *

Good news: The appointment of a paid Regional Coordinator in Region 2 is working well despite early misgivings. Observer re-qualification under IMI is progressing to plan. Expenditure of £600k on the Chiswick central computer databases should yield savings of £170k per annum. The Chairman and Board are increasingly willing to answer questions from the floor covering any topic.

The AGM is a formality that has to be observed. This member regards it as the ultimate forum and hopes a way can be found for more Members to partake without having to travel to London. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 15

March 2013

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Hughes Guide

The Group keeps an updated copy of Hughes Guide to Traffic Law, which provides a quick reference to common traffic legislation in England. Many of the sections are applicable in the rest of the UK too. The latest bi-annual update batch includes: ● Re-jigging of driving licence conditions in line with an EC directive. Re-jigging of Moped and Motorcycle licensing, particularly: ● ● Extension of Motorcycle Graduated Licensing, ● Introducing a new intermediate A2 motorcycle category ● Raising of the minimum age to ride a “Large Motorcycle” to 24, Allowing holders of a new AM Moped Licence to drive light ● quadricycles (low-weight cars with a max speed of 28mph). ● Heavy Goods and Bus drivers (even existing) face new regulations on medical and licence validity periods and training. ● New car licence holders from 19 January face re-written rules regarding the weight of trailer they can legally tow. ● Extension of exemptions granted to HATOs on duty. ● Prohibition of private clamping operations. ● Alteration to ‘parking at bus stops’ description and regulations. ● Proposed extension of allowed use of ‘red diesel’ in farm vehicles to cover use for snow clearance, and transport during floods, etc. Any important items are usually reported in the LINK. The Editor holds the Guide, so contact him if you have any query. The important ones here are Trailer Towing, which is too long to describe here (maybe next time – or contact the Editor for details), Motorcycle licensing and quadricycles. MOTORCYCLE GRADUATED LICENCE This scheme has gradually come in whereby if you are aged under 24 and do not already have a full licence, you will have to gain progressive experience before being able to ride the most powerful motorcycles. If you are 17 or 18, you take CBT, Theory and Practical Tests to gain an A1 licence (125cc) and ride for two years before taking another (Practical) test to drive an A2 motorcycle (500cc, restricted power). After another 2 years you can take a full unrestricted category A Test. It is not as straightforward as that because, depending on age, you can take a ‘Direct Access’ test to gain entitlement further up the ladder. Such a scheme is often proposed for young car drivers. Maybe one day? Page 16

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LIGHT QUADRICYCLE – A CAR DRIVEN BY A 16-YEAR-OLD Hughes Guide is definite on this, but the various DfT and DVLA websites are not 100% clear, so I rang the DVLA to make sure on this one. Mopeds are now in 3 categories, ‘old’ P (max design speed 45-50 kmh), ‘old’ Q (max design speed 25kmh) and new European AM (max design speed 25-45 kmh) If you are aged 16, and if you pass a category AM Moped Practical Riding Test on an AM Moped (with prior Theory and CBT) on or after 19 January 2013, you are entitled to drive a “Light Quadricycle”. These are defined as having an unladen mass not exceeding 350kg and having a maximum design speed not more than 45kmh (28mph).

above: Driven on the road by a 16-year-old with a Moped Licence – the French 2-seater Aixam Coupe S Light Quadricycle or “Car-Ped”.

The Aixam above is classed as a Light Quadricycle, but with bodywork enclosing two seats, steering wheel, car-like controls, forward and reverse auto gears, and 400cc Kubota diesel engine, it certainly looks like a car. Driving a ‘car’ on a Moped Licence? One could say it offers dry transport and independence for a 16-year-old and passenger. 28mph top speed seems slow, to hold-up traffic, but in Bristol’s 20mph regime it may not. It is remarkably expensive to buy at £9,999 (it was dearer, at £11,999, before launch), although Aixam hopes to sell 1,000 of this model in the UK in 2013, through Motorcycle dealers. To insure it costs £2,200 per year. Although the emissions are low at 77 g/km and 79 mpg, this class is not subject to testing and so falls within the PLG tax class at £130 per year. One also has to consider where to park it – in a ‘car’ space. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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From the News – just space for three

MYTALKIE - VOICEMAIL OVER TWITTER – MORE DISTRACTION A Bath company has introduced MyTalkie – a provision for sending 140 seconds of voice audio via Twitter (and soon via Facebook). Worryingly, it is intended “for use in-car or walking down the street”. Whether it will take–off is not known, modern ‘Yoof’ in particular preferring to tweet and text rather than use their actual voice, as is shown by the fall in sales of ‘feature phones’, which primarily make calls, in favour of Smartphones. YOU MUST REVERSE INTO OUR CAR PARK SPACES - SAYS THE HEALTH & SAFETY MAN A firm with premises at Wickwar has told its 130 staff to reverse into parking spaces in the company car park – or face disciplinary action. A company spokesman was quoted in the press as saying that, “the measure is part of a wider ‘Health and Safety and continuous improvement programme’ to ensure pedestrian safety. “A Risk Assessment has shown that whilst reversing into a parking place is “inherently more difficult” than driving in forwards, driving out of the space in a forward direction gives greater visibility to see pedestrians and other traffic.” It is understood that some other companies have similar policies, although there is no general HSE guidance. However, notices at the car park of a local Council Office instruct you to do the opposite, and drive in forwards to certain spaces, to prevent exhaust fumes entering the building! An IAM driver would reverse in anyway, for safety and fuel economy reasons. It is a fact that most collisions occur whilst manoeuvring in both public and company car parks. There is a case for forward parking in supermarket car parks – it is more convenient for loading purchases into the luggage compartment, and fellow supermarket-shopper drivers are likely to be more aware of the possibility of reversing vehicles. LADIES – DO YOU FANCY JAMES ‘CAPTAIN SLOW’ MAY ? Women’s motoring writer Maria McCarthy has given interviews in association with Diamond Ladies’ Insurance talking about women drivers and the ‘battle of the sexes’. The usual things - 40% of men say women don’t indicate, need to concentrate and learn how to take care of cars. However, this survey revealed that 79% of women knew how to check levels, and 46% knew how to change a tyre – although many can’t physically manage it. The high figure is because many women live or cope alone and on a limited budget. Other surprising results were that 60% of women willingly watch Top Gear and “an alarming percentage” fancy James May ! Page 18

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Forthcoming Group Monthly Meetings Clare Reeves, our new Monthly Meetings Contact, has undertaken to do the communicating and arranging regarding Monthly Meeting speakers. Clare extents a GLOBAL THANK-YOU to all who have provided leads. But she is still on the look out for fresh leads and ideas for 2014. So if you have a contact – or an idea for a subject – such as a hobby or interest you are passionate about – then contact The current programme – with some new ones added – is below: MARCH

AUTOMATIC NUMBER PLATE RECOGNITION Chris Williss, Business Manager Road Flow at SEA Ltd (Systems Engineering and Assessments Ltd) will talk on the technology of ANPR. Accompanied by Les Finnemore.

APRIL (AGM) PAT DOUGHTY, IAM Operations Director, talking about the latest news from IAM Chiswick. MAY

RNLI (LIFEBOATS) Jonathan Yabsley of the RNLI’s education arm will give a talk on the RNLI past and present, and the dangers of inshore waters, such as the North Somerset tides and mud. Have your donations ready!


MUSEUM OF BATH AT WORK Stuart Burroughs, Director, will give a talk on the Kennet and Avon Canal.


SORT-IT TEAM OF SITA UK ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ - incorporating some issues that the collection drivers come across day to day.


BATS Laura Plenty, Group Member, giving a talk.

SEPTEMBER CHILD CAR SEATS John and Fran Vickery on requirements and correct use/fitting. OCTOBER

MOVING CONTRAVENTIONS ANPR men Chris Williss and Les Finnemore on using ANPR to ‘monitor’ traffic.


HIGHWAYS AGENCY Dave Hillier will talk on: Who we are, what we do, what powers we have. Also the Management of the M4/M5 junction area.

2014 (speakers for each month to be confirmed nearer the time) COUNTERFEITS OF BRITISH BANK NOTES. JANUARY Gerald Little describes the German efforts in WW2. FEBRUARY

PAUL BARNETT, local Maritime Historian.


MOTORISTS’ QUESTION TIME. A repeat of the successful 2013 event (see report elsewhere in this LINK).

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Both Members and Associates at March Mtg Committee has extended an invitation to all current Associates to attend at 7:00pm on Monthly Meeting evening Tuesday 26 March, so that they may have an extra ‘Seminar 4’ at which to ask any general questions about their progress on their Skill for Life course so far , or about any advanced driving aspect, before the meeting proper starts. After that, they are welcome to remain for the general meeting, and see that there is more to the Group than the Skill for Life course – perhaps they will be inspired to join as a Group Member after passing their Test. The speakers are Chris Willis of SEA limited, and Les Finnemore, talking about the technology of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).


ADVANCED DRIVING REFRESHER COURSE Members . . . . Can you name the 5 Phases of the System? Can you explain COAP and TUG ? Can you describe the Principles of Cornering? Can you drive using Limit Point Analysis? Would you pass an IAM Advanced Driving Test if you sat it today? If you said ‘no’ to any of these, or are unsure, then . . . . Bristol Group offers an opportunity to existing Group Members who feel they would like to refresh their Advanced Driving skills. The classroom seminars are shared with the Associate course, and there are six practical driving guidance sessions with an Observer. There isn't a test, but a Certificate of Completion will be awarded. Cost: £39 Previous course participant Pauline says, “I would recommend the Refresher, particularly to longer-term Members who took the IAM Test some years ago. It has boosted my confidence and, I believe, has made me a better driver.”

The next course starts on April 24th 2013 and there will be two more opportunities throughout the year. For further information please contact Pam Hunt 0117 960 8494

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Wed 27 Sat 30 APRIL Tue 09 Wed 10 Tue 23 Wed Sat MAY Wed Mon Mon Sat Sat

24 27 01 06 13 18 18

March 2013

for Bristol Advanced Motorists

Monthly Meeting BAWA Pavilion 7:30pm for 7:45 start Automatic Number Plate Recognition with Chris Williss of SEA Ltd and Les Finnemore. (Bristol City Council has just ordered 10 Flexi-camera movable ANPR bus lane cameras from them)

Training Committee Meeting Three-in-a-Car Old Sodbury, Cross Hands pub 10:00am Contact Alan Dunn 01454 228093 or 07941 896 248

Executive Committee Meeting Observers’ Meeting at BAWA 7:30pm AGM BAWA Pavilion 7:30pm prompt start with guest speaker Pat Doughty of IAM Chiswick Skill for Life Course seminar one BAWA 7:30pm Copy Date for submissions for the LINK (May issue) Skill for Life Course seminar two BAWA 7:30pm North Somerset Show publicity venue (Bank Hol Mon) the LINK Collation – venue at BAWA Three-in-a-Car Gordano M5 Services 10:00am Contact Dave Callister 01275 791441 RLF Region One Forum Dorchester

AGM speaker-

Pat Doughty, Operations Director, IAM Chiswick

We understand Pat’s talk will cover an update of IAM Chiswick’s Business and Marketing activities, the new IAM computer system, website and promotional literature, and, more immediate to us in the Group, the new IMI Observer qualifications and the new Modular Training ‘chunks’ on offer instead of the full Skill for Life. He may also touch on some other items such as the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety.


A visit to the Marshfield Farm Ice Cream factory at Pennsylvania has been booked for the morning of Wednesday March 20th.

Please contact Beryl Smith by e-mail - - or telephone our Secretary, Martin Evans – 0117 979 8061 . Places may also be booked at our Monthly Meetings. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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Your Invitation to THREE-IN-A-CAR 2013 series Date

1. Saturday 30 March 2. Saturday 18 May 3. Thursday 04 July 4. Sunday 11 August 5. Saturday 14 Sept 6. Sunday 27 October


10.00am 10.00am 19.00 evening 10.00am 10.00am 10.00am


Old Sodbury, Cross Hands Gordano M5 Services Thornbury Leisure Centre Yate Overflow Gordano M5 Services Keynsham, Ashton Way


Cabot Brunel Colston Cabot Brunel Colston

At a Three-in-a-Car (TiC) you’ll be welcome but you’ll also be in for a real treat because not only are they FREE, they’re an ideal way of 'keeping in touch' with Advanced Driving. The sessions are designed for both Full Members and Associates and their purpose is to assist you in maintaining your high driving standards. At the venue, a Team Leader will assign you into a group of three (or two or even four). One of you elects to be first to drive (very brave!) and you all drive off in that car for 30 minutes or so on a course of your choice or, if you are not sure of the area, a course directed to you en-route. There is usually a good deal of helpful banter so most points will be covered as you go round, but at the end of each drive there will be an opportunity for you all to enjoy a short and sometimes entertaining de-brief! Someone else then elects to go next in their own car - and so on. The event is over in around 2 hours, it’s FREE and it's good fun. No records are made - but there's usually plenty of good advice available!! March 30th is the first in the series for 2013 and Alan Dunn, who has organised this one, is keen to see as many of you there as possible to support him and the Group. This is your opportunity to catch up on a few tips from some of the Region’s top Observers. The location is a new one for Three-in-a-Car, easy to access and amid some good country roads. Give Alan a head start: - call him to let him know you’ll be there. Don’t delay - call him today! Contacts: Venues 1 and 4: Venues 2 and 5: Venues 3 and 6: Page 22

Alan Dunn Dave Callister Tony Gilbert

01454 228093 01275 791441 0117 950 1020

07941 896 248 07973 730 498

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Dot and Gulp - Monthly Meeting June 2012 Nathan Sale is involved with Lighting and Stage Management at Aardman, and came to our June meeting with his colleague Paul Reeves. Nathan gave a brief history of local firm Aardman and what it does. Enough said - we are all familiar with Wallace and Gromit. Nathan centred on the novel topic of Dot and Gulp – Guinness World Record smallest and largest animations, even more novel because they were both made with a mobile phone camera! An excellent presentation. Professor Daniel Fletcher developed a microscope attachment - a cellscope for a Nokia N8 mobile phone – so that a doctor in a remote area of a third world country can photograph a magnified blood cell slide sample and send it for analysis - previously there was a 2 week turnaround, too late for the patient. It had been tested in Uganda and proven successful at helping to detect Malaria. Nokia wanted to celebrate this and their agency W+K briefed Aardman to create a microscopic animated film. Initially Aardman tried to animate a blood cell, but this was too complex. Instead they went for the Guinness World Record for “Smallest stopmotion animation character in a film”, and came up with Dot, a 9mm girl. At this size it was impossible to move joints and animate – a normal animation model is 18” (450mm) with a skeleton and silicone and plasticine covering. So, with more new technology, 50 different poses were designed for interchanging between each frame – even to the detail of moving hair for a sense of movement. 3D printing was used – thousands of layers of resin printed on top of one another to make a 3D object. These were then mounted on a wire and hand painted under a microscope. The cellscope needed modification to give a depth of field for the images, and the University of Bristol helped with this. The camera was fixed and a 1.5 metre long film set rostrum base was moved extremely accurately beneath it. A few thousand still images were shot over several months, then electronically stitched together with the support wire digitally removed. The Nokia N8’s 12-megapixel camera, with Carl Zeiss lens, provided a very high quality output. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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The story of Dot is that she wakes up in a world that is unravelling and approaching from the left of the screen. She runs away to the right always just one step ahead (past coin and £5 note – right). She finds peace by knitting herself a blanket from the material that is pursuing her. The finished article was released on YouTube in late 2010 and soon reached 1.5 million hits virally with no publicity. The film was a celebration of a Nokia message: “It’s not the technology, it’s what you do with it”. See the film at also Dot. the making of.

above: Nathan Sale of Aardman Animations, during his presentation. photo: Geoff Bevan

right: The Nokia N8 phone, with (above right) an enlargement showing the tiny but good quality lens.

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Nokia was impressed – so asked Aardman to go for the other extreme. Again, the first idea of large plasticine model was impracticable. And the size precluded doing it indoors, so a large outside ground area was to be filmed from a height. Pendine Sands in South West Wales provided a suitably large flat washed sand area exposed for 11 hours and oriented to avoid shadows. A cherry-picker crane provided the height. Nathan is into rock climbing so was fairly confident to test the camera from height! 3 phones were used – taking the same shot but with the exposure bracketed for later choice. It was all controlled from the ground electronically. Gulp is a food chain story. Man catches fish, monster eats fish and man, man inside monster fish, then fish and man are spat out. A large team of animators, sand artists, animation students, technical and back-up staff, and 50 volunteers from UWE worked frantically for a week on Gulp. The boat was real and the fisherman was also real – a ‘pixelation artist’ who remained still and was ‘moved’ by animators for each frame. Everything else was either moved around him or redrawn in the sand for each frame. 16 hours of work produced 20 seconds of screen time, compared with the normal studio rate of 15 seconds in 6 weeks. The ‘inside the monster’ scenes were animated on the beach at night. A storm curtailed the last scenes, so a second visit had to be made a few weeks later to finish off. The project achieved “something that shouldn’t be possible” resulting in a Guinness World Record for “the animation filmed on the world’s largest stop-motion set”, over 1,000 square metres. It had cost £200,000 and was released in August 2011, again scoring 1.5m hits on YouTube. See Gulp at: and Gulp. Making of.

above: The real boat and fisherman, and, (left) the same boat and man lost in the mouth of the sand-drawn monster, showing the overall size.

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Motorists’ Question Time

- Monthly Meeting Jan 2013

A hardy set of Members turned out in the snow and beat the congestion caused by the roadworks in Gloucester Road North. BAWA bar staff had nothing to do downstairs - none of the Rock n' Rollers rocked-up and no-one turned up for the party in the other bar - we were on our own ! Answering the questions were Observer Team Leader Tony Gilbert, Member and Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Nick Perry, and RAC Patrolman Mark Osland. Marlene presided as moderator, and Martin had a laptop to bring up pages related to the questions.

above: The top table with, from left, Tony Gilbert, Martin Evans, Marlene Baker, Mark Osland (RAC) and Nick Perry.

A brief flavour of some of the many questions and answers: Driver training pre-17 – is it a good idea? Yes – youngsters introduced to driving earlier tend not to do silly things when they start to drive properly at 17. Nick is involved with under-17 courses run by NADIA in association with South Glos Council. The Vice chairman of the Under-17 Car Club was in the audience and explained it. Also, a company offers (for age 11+) “Turn up and drive” sessions at Cribbs, and Chepstow racecourse. Most people buy 2 tyres at a time. Should they be fitted to front or rear wheels? Much discussion. Commonly-held opinion is that a front drive car should have them on the front, which is where steering and braking is done. But this is wrong, the real danger being losing grip in the wet. A video demonstrated that newer tyres on the front can lead to sudden breakaway at the rear, whilst newer ones on the rear maintain grip, any impending understeer or aquaplaning at the front becoming apparent early and allowing the driver to control it by easing-off. Electronic ESP may help – but not once grip is lost, so don’t rely on it. Page 26

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Can you exceed the speed limit whilst overtaking? With an IAM hat on, definitely no. Practically, if during an overtake you find yourself in danger, accelerate to safety – but no-one said that – but you shouldn’t have got into that situation in the first place. Should drivers have continuing training after the L Test? Say, the IAM Test after 3 years? Anything regarding re-training would not get through parliament, because driving is a mass activity (32million licence holders in the UK). Not everyone is capable of passing an Advanced Driving Test. The culture of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) present in many areas of work has not reached car drivers although HGV and Bus drivers now need to take 35 hours of training every 5 years to retain their licence. Graduated licences is another idea – already applying to Motorcycle licences. A suggestion was made about combining all types of driver training into a common points system. It was thought impracticable. A suggestion was made re linking this to Insurance – but Insurance is partly competitive market and partly on risk. Risk is not by qualification but actual behaviour – e.g. electronic black boxes measuring extreme incidents. I cannot work the “one gearchange” method of the System on my 6-speed gearbox diesel Honda. Two opinions. The System calls for one gear change only. Keeping the clutch down for a long while and “coasting”, to prevent stalling, is preferable to having your hand off the wheel “fishing for gears” whilst slowing down. On the other hand, on a Motorway off-slip or approaching a Ring Road roundabout, making an intermediate change – say 6th to 3rd – at an early, planned stage, would eliminate the excessive “coasting”. Some modern cars have a high overdrive 6th which needs to be changed out of below 50mph, which is a problem when trying to make one change per hazard. Manufacturers go for higher gears to reduce engine speed, giving better results in economy tests and drive-by noise measurement tests, at the expense of drivability. What do you think about cars with no spare tyre? ‘Space savers’ are not popular – but they allow onward travel at reduced speed to a repair. Some new cars have no spare at all, mainly to save weight and get good fuel economy test results. Repair aerosols work for ‘overnight’ flats – although they come with their own problems (tyre repair not always possible once a sealant has been used). Most ‘moving’ punctures involve tyre damage – such a puncture with no spare is a problem for breakdown services. The RAC has a universal-fit wheel and tyre but it is not road legal – but it does allow driving onto a trailer or recovery truck though. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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Are Winter Tyres worth the expense and hassle? Their use in some Northern European countries is law. They are very good for the one or two days of extreme conditions, also for dry/wet roads below 7 degrees C, but are not as good in Summer as Summer tyres, but passable. Summer tyres are not good in Winter – particularly cheap ones. A compromise is All Season tyres, which are Summer tyres with some Winter capability. Most people buy tyres on price. Having two sets really needs 2 sets of wheels, because tyre depots will not re-fit tyres more than 5 years old. Then there is storage. Some tyre depots / car dealers offer storage, but it comes at a price. I have recently needed 3 new tyres on my Toyota Prius. The reasons given were toe-in, feathering, cambering and scalloping. I don't understand the meanings of these conditions but assume they have arisen as a result of the way I drive? All these conditions were explained, aided by graphics displayed on-screen. The conditions are rare today. Incorrect toe-in is incorrect steering set-up, with wheels pointing together or apart, causing the tyre edge to wear. It also causes ‘feathering’ across the whole tread area where the tyre scuffs slightly sideways, causing a thin feather edge to wear on one side of the tread grooves. It could also be caused by short local trips with many sharp turns left and right due to the Ackerman movement of the front wheels. Cambering is wear on the inside or outside, due to incorrect suspension set-up or carrying heavy loads. Scalloping is unusual, the tyre worn so that it is no longer round, or the tread has begun to break-up. Usually this only happens with cheap tyres. Wear similar to this could also be caused by gross underinflation, maybe exaggerated in the Prius with its heavy hybrid battery weight. It seems the enquirer needs to check pressures regularly, and have the wheel/suspension alignment checked ! right: Panel Member, Group Member & Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Nick Perry.

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How should you deal with the Mini-roundabout at Gypsy Patch Lane? This one outside Rolls Royce has an offset ‘blob’, making it impossible to do anything but drive straight over - and a middle-positioned cycle lane also restricts veering to the left. It is difficult. Fortunately it has very open sight lines – so danger is reduced. The problem lies squarely with the design and implementation by the Council Highways Dept. What is the main cause of breakdowns? An appropriate question with which to end, and for Mark to answer. Apart from things like lost keys and running out of fuel, Mark said it was batteries. There is much more electrical demand in a modern car. Batteries look the same as always, but they are now different and heavier in construction. They used to fade away gradually, but modern ones give-up more suddenly. In the recent freezing weather, another main cause is windscreen wipers. If left on overnight, they come on with the ignition and either the fuse goes, the motor burns out or the blades rip. Mechanical failure through neglect is near the top of the list, occasionally engine seizure through lack of oil. Because most cars are low on oil, RAC patrols always routinely check the oil level of broken down cars. Mark said that occasionally a call-out is to an older car, on which one can spot the fault and repair it easily. Modern cars need units replacing. You plug a laptop into the OBD socket, but the codes are not always conclusive. Usually it just tells you the general problem and leaves you to interpret. Often, you cannot isolate the fault and have to tow it anyway. Various other items were discussed, such as caravan towing weights, lorry lights, motorway distance chevrons, etc, etc. The evening was judged a success, so much so that a repeat is planned for next year. So keep sendingin those questions ! right: Panel Member Mark Osland. Mark has been an RAC Patrol for 25 years and patrols in the Chippenham area all 3 photos: Paul Hunt

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IAM National Conference –

Coventry, October 2012

Martin Evans & I (Gary Nunn) attended the latest IAM National Groups Conference on October 6th 2012. The event was held at a Warwick University site in Coventry. The format this time was that, after the Conference Opening session, delegates attended their choice of ten Workshops. Prior to the event myself & Martin agreed we should attend 4 each to gain maximum relevant coverage. I made notes throughout the day. Hopefully I captured the most interesting & important points!

The Conference Welcome & Opening Address IAM Chairman Alistair Cheyne emphasised the importance of the whole IAM ‘working together’, not just for an elite of drivers, but for all. ● ● ● ● ● ●

Concern - consistency across Groups good. but still needs to be improved. IAM aware it needs to try something new - re-brand the IAM & SfL. A prediction of ‘major changes’ over the next 3 or 4 years, such that the IAM will appear vastly different from what it is now. The image of ‘elite old boys’ is still a popular public perception. Echoed that Skill for Life / Advanced Drivers equals better drivers & therefore roads are safer. Expressed his thanks to all the volunteers that help run the local groups promoting road safety.

I did hear some rumblings in the audience that nothing really new was said. My thought on that is that this maybe the case, but this was the first conference I attended. Personally I think there are more positives to look forward to than negatives. We can only wait & see what happens.

Chief Executive Simon Best suggested the IAM is becoming the ‘lead commentator on road safety’ by advising MPs, and in the past year has had over 5,000 published comments and over 400 interviews broadcast. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

He highlighted the 2 key challenges of road safety – both locally as well as nationally - and the growth & therefore the survival of the IAM. The increased role of Local Councils promoting the IAM. First increase in road deaths for a while seen in 2011 & latest figures indicating an increase again for 2012. The Skill for Life course alone will no longer ensure survival of the IAM – Simon described the IAM offering as ‘a one trick pony’. IAM to expand its product range to increase its portfolio and to generate & capture the public interest. A new membership category of ‘Affiliate’, for those wishing to become part of the IAM without taking the full IAM Advanced Test. New IMI-approved Observer qualification being trialled in Region 2 and 6. Higher-level Masters test now launched – retest needed every 5 years. IAM’s ultimate goal is zero deaths on the road.

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My thoughts are that clearly the IAM is looking for ways to draw more members by offering advanced driving training modules & offering different levels of membership to ensure financial gain & therefore securing a successful future of the IAM. I agree whole-heartedly that the public conception of the IAM is not a healthy one despite the increase in younger drivers we have seen passing through the Skill for Life programme via the Bristol Group. Workshop #1 – Tyres & Tech presented by Simon Elstow ● ● ● ● ● ●

Life expectancy on motorway hard shoulder is 20 minutes… The Tyre Wear Indicator (TWI) on your tyres is not 100% accurate. The tyre is illegal if worn down to the TWI At 3mm tread depth average tyre performance will dramatically reduce. In the wet with 1.6mm of tyre tread it takes around 8 metres longer to stop from 50mph than a tyre with 3mm of tread. Passengers increase weight – adjust tyre pressure to suit load on car. We all know incorrect tyre pressure results in uneven tyre wear

This was the one workshop I was looking forward to as it should have been presented by someone from Bridgestone tyres. Unfortunately he pulledout 2 days before the conference and at such short notice the IAM had little option but to fill the gap with one of their own. We were informed that the presentation material was the same but I feel that the Q&A would have been more interesting at the end. This does not take anything away from Simon as he is an excellent presenter. Workshop #2 - Social Media presented by Ben Schofield & his team Difficult to write up on this workshop as much of workshop consisted of demonstrations on using the various forms of social media – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to name but a few. ● ● ●

● ●

Facebook – IAM post their news here. Benefit is that news hits social media sites first, then updates on the website and then finally hard copy LinkedIn – the users are mainly business orientated. Twitter – search on hash tags (#IAM) for example. A good one to search is #Ipassedmydrivingtest and you can narrow down the search by area. A method of searching-out recent learners who have passed their tests. New IAM website due – currently in beta testing. I have seen this and it does look very much cleaner & easier to navigate – and no broken links! With regards to web pages, IAM sub-domains for local Groups could be available in the future. For example could be a future home page for the Bristol Group.

The approach for this workshop was to demonstrate how we could use the digital world to promote our local IAM Groups, Advanced Driving & Road Safety. The IAM team was very open and is keen to offer assistance to local Groups with their social media and web sites. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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Workshop #3 – Marketing & Closing a Sale presented by Andy Bolton & Ben Cooper This workshop was aimed at those who man the displays at shows & meet the public trying to ‘sell’ the Skill for Life course. Not easy for most. The format of the workshop was for us to watch a good, an OK & a bad example of how to approach & engage a member of the public. The workshop members were invited to pass comment on how well in each case the IAM volunteer engaged with the member of the public. The idea is to release this video along with some printed material to the local Groups as training material. This will hopefully soften the blow & provide a bit of grounding for the IAM volunteers who are a little nervous when manning IAM Display stands. The video & training material is aimed at individuals so they can sit in front of their computer and work through the task sheets. This training material should be available soon via the Regional Co-ordinator. Workshop #4 – Modular Route to Membership My final workshop of the day was probably the most controversial. If you remember back to the opening address, Simon Best described the Skill for Life course as a ‘one trick pony’. So what do we offer a member of the public who approaches the IAM saying, “I am a little nervous of driving on the motorway and my husband is forever telling me to reverse into car parking spaces”. Currently we can only offer the Skill for Life course for £139 and address those matters as the course progresses. But this lady does not wish to commit to that much time & money. ● ● ●

So, the IAM is to offer modular blocks to address specific areas of driving – so for example a motorway driving module. Current feedback is that Skill for Life is actually good value, but does not appeal to many of the public. Various levels of IAM membership are being discussed, so that those who have taken an advanced driving module can be become ‘members’ of the IAM, but they will not have the same status of membership as those who have passed the advanced driving test. The advanced test may not be the only route to full membership. The Skill for Life syllabus maybe broken down into modules and each module will be assigned a points value. Once an ‘Associate?’ has passed all the modules or acquired a pre-set level of points, this could be a way to higher levels of membership. Additional delivery mechanisms will be required for the modules. The modules will be delivered by the local Groups. [Editor’s comment: I’ve since heard this could be by ‘Drive Observers’ – i.e. either ADI Observers or others specially-trained. ]

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March 2013

Current Modular titles being developed are □ Confident Driver – Lone Driver □ Confident Driver – Motorway Driver □ Confident Driver – Technology in a Car □ Confident Driver – Parking & Manoeuvring □ Confident Driver – Winter Driving [Since added – Ed.] It may also be possible for the local groups to offer custom modules to address local requirements. The proposed price range of the modules are likely to be £15 -£40 and delivery methods will be in the format of classroom, practical drives, digital media. As an indication of likely success, similar ‘step product’ Momentum for young drivers has sold 1000, with 40% going on to the full Skill for Life.

Personally I think this is a good idea as there is a massive area where Skill for Life just does not fit or appeal to the masses. I am also wary that the IAM will make money from this as for a person taking modules it will definitely be a more expensive way of reaching full Membership of the IAM. It could also be seen as a way of increasing IAM membership. If the IAM markets these modules correctly and fully supports the local Groups then I believe this could be a successful venture - but if the IAM sees this purely as a business venture into making more money then I fear it will fail. The IAM must remember it is a charity first and foremost and yes, I do understand that the IAM requires funds to survive and prosper. It will be a fine balancing act & hopefully the IAM will pull it off. Workshop #5 – IMI Observer awards – by Amanda Smith Martin Evans attended this one, and the following three Workshops. The IMI qualification was introduced partly due to pressure from the DSA to show we’re not ‘amateurs’. Amanda confirmed the National Observer qualification (replacing ‘Senior Observer’) will be fully funded by HQ but a retest if needed, would cost £30. Staff Examiners will use a spreadsheet of competencies to assess the National Observer. A ‘Local Observer’ (replacing ‘Group Observer’) logbook is in development for recording their training (when the time comes) but it’s not a replacement for a current Observer Run Sheet used by many Groups. At the time of the conference, Region 2 had 118 National Observers registered and Region 6 had 116. IAM member Rennie Richie was the first National Observer to pass (25 July 2012) and was presented with his certificate at Conference. The certificate is only valid for 5 years. Amanda said it might take 5 years to get all Observers IMI qualified. There are currently 1300 Senior Observers but IAM expects the take-up to be higher for National Observer, because any Observer can apply. There’s an additional element to pass to be able to guide other Observers. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 33

March 2013

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Workshop #6 – The IAM in 3 years Pat Doughty (Operations Director) conducted a brainstorming by delegates on a number of questions posed for us to consider. All the responses/suggestions/issues were recorded for digestion and summary by HQ and included from our set of delegates: The suggestion the DSA promotes post-learner-test training and encourages all drivers to continue their driving education. The IAM should have young spokespeople to better connect to a younger audience. Ditto celebrity spokespeople like Vicki Butler-Henderson. The IAM is too London-centric. Fewer Groups, or merged Groups with one committee. Workshop #7 – Test Standard Robbie Downing (Staff Examiner ) Steve George (Quality Mgr R2) The intention was to clear-up some misunderstandings around what is, and what is not, acceptable on test. It covered advice on ‘off-siding’, ‘straight-lining’, use of modern in-car technology, automatic gear boxes. Some debate ensued but has recently resulted in a published document issued to all Observer training teams. The national pass rate was stated to be steady at 85%. Workshop #8 – Policy and Research Neil Greig (Head of Policy and Research) described what his department does and how it attempts to provide relevant research on road safety. A delegate urged local Groups to challenge their Local Councils on their budgets when the cost of erecting a single road-sign is around £15k and how this could perhaps be better spent on a Skill for Life subsidy. Gary says in conclusion: “Overall, I enjoyed the Conference and I am looking forward to next year, or even to the next few years, to see how the IAM finally loses its ‘elitist old boy’ club tag. Also, to see if the rumbling doubters at the Opening Address have their minds changed! “I look forward to any feedback & will be happy to discuss with members who have any questions or opinions on this article. Thanks for reading.”

Volunteering Opportunity – Social Events Organiser We need a Volunteer to arrange a programme of Social Events for Members, and to engender a Club unity in the Group. Beryl Smith did this task excellently for a time, but has now had to step down. Speak to any Committee Member if you are interested. Page 34

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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I’ve Bought New Headlight Bulbs -

March 2013

says Paul Hunt

Bulb failure on cars was once commonplace, but in recent years my box of spare bulbs in the garage hasn’t been touched. But now headlight bulb failure is common. New ones seem to go dim after only two years or so. On some modern cars, bulb replacement is an expensive garage-only job. Even where it is still a D-I-Y job, there is limited access space under the bonnet, many cars needing removal of other parts to gain access – maybe explaining why some cars are used for a long time with one bulb out. On my Toyota, the dipped beams didn’t seem as bright, and against the garage door they seemed blurred, and out of alignment with one another. Then one bulb failed. With the other bulb, the glass part had come loose from the metal base and sagged, altering the beam direction. A whole array of bulbs is available at the accessory shop. I was advised to stick to two well-known makes only, and to avoid illegal blue tints. There is the standard bulb, then the +30% (brighter) which I am told is not noticeably different. And so on. I was advised to have the +90%, although each was £12.50 compared with the standard at £5. The power taken is the same as a standard bulb, 55 watts, the extra brightness coming from different gases within the bulb casing. Re-fitting was easy, unlike removal, which had called for perseverance and ingenuity. At first, despite the claim of +90% brightness, I didn’t notice any increase in light at all. After a little driving at night, however, I became aware that vision on dipped beam is often vastly improved in the face of oncoming traffic on dry roads, and the beams are very accurate, with no stray upward light to cause oncoming drivers to flash, despite brighter light. The dipped-beam also seems to reach slightly further, but this is only noticeable when you switch to main beam, the (still standard) additional main beam bulbs not making as much difference as they did before, although they still light higher-placed objects and road signs. However, I have noticed a downside, in that the nature of the light from the new bulbs must be different, because on wet road surfaces the illumination is very contrasty, the wet, black road surface somehow devoid of all light and detail, vision being surprisingly difficult as a result. So, when a bulb fails next time, I will buy a pair of +30% or +50% as a compromise, hoping for light quality like standard, but just a bit brighter. As for bulb life, there are counter reports of shorter, longer, the same. We will just have to wait and see what happens in that respect. the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 35

March 2013

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Interested in IAM Advanced Motorcycling ? Bristol Advanced Motorcyclists is a separate IAM Motorcycling Group in Bristol, acting as a club for existing Members and also providing guidance in Advanced Riding for newcomers, through its SUPER SUNDAY events. Newcomers, just turn up at 09:00 on the first Sunday of any month (but NOT January) at Kings Oak Academy, Brook Road, Kingswood, BRISTOL BS15 4JT. Get a taste with a free assessed ride, and maybe sign-up for the Motorcycle Skill for Life course. Grab a bacon buttie and a cup of tea, meet like-minded people, and maybe attend the various presentations.

[There is a limited money-back offer for Young Riders who pass the Test.]

Use the link on our own website to that of the Motorcycle Group. Or go to the Motorcyclists’ own website: Or phone 01275 372637 or e-mail

Find us on Facebook

by Barnaby Ellis

DON’T DO IT WHILST DRIVING – but look at our

● ● ● NEW ● ● ● FACEBOOK PAGE You can see our new ‘open’ Facebook page without belonging to Facebook. Go to or search for ‘Facebook Bristol Advanced Motorists’ Note that not all search engines will find the page yet, so stick to Google, Yahoo or AVG, until site-trawling and webpage optimisation develop. The blue log-in request box comes up and fills the screen, but to get rid of it just click on the ‘close’ button in the bottom right corner and you can see our Facebook page and the entries. If you can’t see the ‘close’ button, then reduce the screen view to 75% and then you should be able to see it.

Follow us on Twitter by Geoff Bevan @iam_bristol DON’T DO IT WHILST DRIVING You can see all the tweets on our account without belonging to Twitter. or search for ‘Twitter IAM Bristol’ (Again, not all search engines will find it – so use Google, Yahoo or AVG.) Page 36

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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Contact Us

March 2013

Your guide to who does what

PUBLIC ENQUIRY LINE phone direct 0117 960 8494

07071 20 11 73


Executive Committee, Bristol Advanced Motorists Chairman

Andy Cole

Vice Chairman

Marlene Baker


Martin Evans


Paul Hunt

Publicity Officer

Geoff Bevan

Associates Administrator

Pam Hunt

Newsletter Editor

Paul Hunt

Database Administrator

James Rowland

Training Administrator

Margaret James

Membership Development Publicity Events Organiser Young Driver Rep.

Tony Gilbert Gary Nunn Barnaby Ellis

07714 992 639 01454 619289 0117 979 8061 0117 960 8494 01453 860365 0117 960 8494 0117 960 8494 07817 152 405 01454 776416 07973 730 498 01454 851 984 07557 765 946

Other Post Holders Minute Taker

Clare Reeves

Monthly Meeting Contact

Clare Reeves (note different e-mail address) Geoff Bevan

Chief Observer and Web Administrator Group Display Boards & LINK Collation Organiser Social Events Organiser

Andrew Nicholls vacant

0117 969 1746 Inform Clare Reeves of any potential speakers at 01453 860365 01749 860321 contact Secretary for the moment

If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Group Secretary. PHOTOGRAPHY NOTICE: Please note that by attending the Meetings and Driver Guidance Sessions of Bristol Advanced Motorists, you agree to your image being captured and used to promote Bristol Advanced Motorists and its activities. This may include in our newsletter, on our website or for general promotion. If you wish to withhold your permission, please contact the Group Secretary. or phone 0117 979 8061

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 37

March 2013

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Rosie Leigh

offers vintage china to hire for weddings and parties. 

My own wedding inspired Rosie Leigh Tea Cups.  Not wanting  the usual bland  corporate white china offered by most wedding  venues, we instead chose  delicate, vintage mismatched crockery and decorations that gave our day a  pretty and distinctly nostalgic feel.   

We now supply beautiful vintage crockery for any special occasion.  We can  deliver and/or set up your tables for you or you can simply collect from us.   Return the crockery unwashed to ease your workload too!    Editor’s Note: Not all search engines will find Facebook addresses, such as Try Google, Yahoo or AVG, which will all find it. When you access the page, the blue log-in request box comes up and fills the screen. To get rid of it, just click on the ‘close’ button in the bottom right corner and you can see the Facebook page and the entries. If you can’t see the ‘close’ button, then reduce the screen view to 75% and you should be able to see it.

Page 38

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March 2013


fàxäx Z

Put an advert in the LINK

Full page £25, Half page £15 per issue. (Discount for Members and annual ads.) Lineage small ads: £1 per insertion, maximum 4 lines. The LINK is published six times a year and has a circulation of c. 450. Contact the Editor 0117 960 8494

THE GROUP NEEDS MORE ASSOCIATES As an existing Member or Associate, YOU can be a good Sales Persuader. Do you know someone in your family, circle of friends, or amongst your work colleagues, who could benefit from joining the IAM and our Group? Every new Associate will help towards securing the short, medium and long-term future of both your local Group and the IAM itself. Information about Skill for Life from Associates Administrator Pam.

0117 960 8494

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 39

March 2013

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What’s the IAM Driving Course all about ? The Skill for Life Advanced Driving course is open to the general driving public – anyone who currently holds a full driving licence. The course, based on the system which forms the core of Police driver training, develops skills and performance in car control and enables drivers to gain knowledge of a wide range of Advanced Driving principles, which can help a driver feel more confident, safer - and make driving more enjoyable. Whether a brand new or young driver, or a driver ‘with years of experience’, you will benefit from this comprehensive driving programme - drivers who have passed the Advanced Driving Test reduce their risk of being involved in a road crash by up to 75%. The Skill for Life course begins with two theory seminar sessions, before you embark on a series of regular, individually tailored, on-road guidance sessions, at times convenient to you and your Observer. The course gives drivers the skills required to pass the IAM’s Advanced Driving Test, which is the ultimate accolade in driving safety. Bristol Group aims for you to complete the course and take the Test all within 6 months. Aged 17-24 ? Live, work, or do Full-time Education in South Gloucestershire, (or live in Bristol City)? Then you could have your Skill for Life fee refunded when you pass the IAM Test, courtesy of South Gloucestershire’s and Bristol City’s Council Road Safety Teams. Every Skill for Life course now comes with 12 months FREE RAC roadside and recovery cover (£106 RRP) so there has never been a better time to become an Advanced Driver!

2013 Advanced Driving Course Dates TELL FRIENDS, FAMILY, COLLEAGUES



Apr 24th, May 01st, Jun 12th. July 10th, July 17th, Aug 28th. Oct 09th, Oct 16th, Nov 27th. – dates yet to be arranged.

Seminars Seminars Seminars Seminars

on on on on

Wednesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays

Further details of Skill for Life are available from Pam Hunt, the Bristol Group’s Associates Administrator, on 0117 960 8494 or at Page 40

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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March 2013

The Cover of the hard copy version The A5 paper version of the LINK has the glossy thin card cover which is reproduced left. The image shows Bristol’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by renowned Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened (after his death) in 1864. The cover is printed free of charge by Bristol Printing and Office Supplies firm PRISM. PRISM Director Doug Lodge is a Member of the Bristol Group, and in the past held Group positions of Treasurer and Chief Observer. Please view the advertisement below, printed on the back cover.

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

Page 41

March 2013

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above: Chief Observer Geoff (right) pictured talking to that valuable commodity we MUST acquire for the Group – a Member of the Public (left) - who is interested in signing-up for the Skill for Life course and IAM Advanced Driving photo: Barnaby Ellis Test.

Reaching Members of the Public with Publicity efforts has become extremely difficult in the last few years, due to the economic situation and ‘advertising market fragmentation’ amongst other things. As an existing Member or Associate, YOU can be a good Sales Persuader for the Group. Do you know someone in your family, circle of friends, or amongst your work colleagues, who could benefit from joining the IAM and our Group? Every new Associate will help towards securing the short, medium and long-term future of both your local Group and the IAM itself. Remember we have our YOUNG DRIVER REFUND SCHEME available – those aged 17-24 who pass the IAM Test can have their £139 SfL fee refunded. (Note: Conditions apply: Residency/Work/Education in the South Gloucestershire Local Authority area, or Residency ONLY in the Bristol City Council area; completion in 12 months.)

Information about Skill for Life can be obtained from Associates Administrator Pam Hunt. phone 0117 960 8494 e-mail Page 42

the LINK – newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

The Link - March 2013  

The Newsletter of Bristol Advanced Motorists

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