About us

Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists have been providing advanced driver and rider training since 1982.

Our aim is to improve road safety and we have prepared many local drivers and riders to advanced test standard; we pride ourselves on our extremely high Pass rate (currently 100%).

We are an affiliated Group of IAM RoadSmart, formerly known as the Institute of Advanced Motorists and our operational area, shown on the Map, extends from Langholm in the North to Millom in the South.

If  you live in our area and are interested in becoming an Advanced Driver or Rider, please call or Email me for further information: my contact details are shown at the top of the page.

Map of Cumbria

Meet The Team

George Cairns
George A Cairns

From an early age I was smitten with cars and bikes and couldn’t wait to be a ‘road user’. I taught myself to ride a motorcycle and to drive, whilst working in a car scrap yard. My ‘training’ was unorthodox so I now spend my time teaching others in a very structured way, to make the learning experience as much fun as possible.

National Observer: Car and Motorcycle; Local Observer Assessor Car and Motorcycle; Master Driver (Distinction), Master Rider (Distinction), Master's Mentor (Car and Motorcycle), DVSA ADI, RoSPA Gold ( Car and Motorcycle), Diamond Master Driver.

Nigel MacDonald

I have been motorcycling from the age of 17 and admit to having a number of ‘offies’ in the early years, when my hazard perception was poor. In 1992, I joined the IAM Glasgow North Group and after a marathon 6-hour ride around the Highlands, myself and another 6 new Associates passed our Advanced Test that same day: that was one of the best riding days of my life! On moving to Boston, Lincolnshire, I started a motorcycle section in the local IAM Car Group and on moving back North, I joined Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists.

I ride all year round in this country and abroad. Motorcycling is my passion and also my business, as I have a Motorcycle Tour company and welcome any enquiries you may have.

National Observer (Motorcycle); Master Rider; Local Observer Assessor (Motorcycle); RoSpa Gold (Motorcycle)

Tony Rutherford
Enhance your motorcycling skills and sharpen your focus on Riding Safely.

I’ve been riding motorbikes from the tender teenage annoying age of 15. It all started in the grounds of the old Souter Point lighthouse just down from South Shields on my fiends BSA bantam 175cc which he was given by a retiring lighthouse keeper. From the moment I started riding this bike…. I was addicted.

From there I progressed to buying an aging Tiger Cub 200cc, passed my test at 17 and graduated to a Triumph T100 650cc……what awesome power & acceleration that bike had compared to the Tiger Cub. A few years later I sold the T100 (which I regret to this day as it was classic, built in 1955 plus it was older than me!) and purchased a friends Bonneville T120V. By this time, I had already embarked on a career in the Merchant Navy; served a 4-year cadetship before commencing on a 38-year career sea on many varied types of ships and yes, I did see the world. What a cracking career I had, and I would recommend it to any teenager. Anyway, I served the last 20 years as Chief Engineer onboard Diving Support Vessels and Deep Water Pipelay ships but decided to take early retirement at 55.

In 2004 I decided my riding skills needed revitalising, so I contacted the IAM who put me in touch with George Cairns at CWCAM. He was my Observer throughout my training and with his guidance & coaching I passed my Advanced Riders test that same year.
Earlier this year I felt I needed to rejuvenate my riding skills and therefore applied to take the IAM RoadSmart Fellow’s riding test; George kindly mentored me on a refresher ride and this was followed a week later by the test; again, I passed.
I also decided to compliment my riding; I applied for and subsequently passed the IAM advanced driving test.

Mid-summer I made a positive decision to pass on my riding knowledge and skills to other motorcycle riders. So, I again contacted George and asked about becoming an Observer with IAM RoadSmart; he said he’d recently commenced ‘fast track’ Observer courses and I could attend when there was a vacancy on the next course. So, in early October this year I attended the fast track course and passed (thanks to the one to one coaching by George Cairns & Andy Houghton).

National Observer (Motorcycle); Master Rider (Distinction).

Peter Johnson
Advanced training and Observer training are two of the best things I have done!

I enjoy driving and passed my basic driving test at the age of 18.  In January 2017 I decided to improve my driving skills, by training for the Advanced Driving Test. I really enjoyed the training, which was very informative and fun to do, and I passed the Advanced Driving Test with a First award!  I was then encouraged by my Observer (George Cairns) to  become an Observer myself; as a result, Sam Quigley and I became the first two IAM RoadSmart Trainee Local Observers in the Country, to undertake the new Fast Track Local Observer (Car) Training Course, designed and developed here in Carlisle by George.  Despite being ‘Guinea Pigs’ for the ‘pilot course’, we both passed and are now qualified Local Observers! Fast Track Local Observer Training was shown to be a success and is now  available to all IAM RoadSmart Groups throughout the Country. I now enjoy passing on my knowledge and skills to my own Associates when coaching them to achieve the Advanced Test standard: overall, Advanced training and Observer training are two of the best things I have done, but it does not stop here, as I already have my sights set on the next level and beyond!


National Observer (Car); Master Driver (Distinction).

Steve Lambert
Improving your driving and riding skills will benefit you and those around you.

I served thirty-one years with Cumbria Constabulary, the last twelve as a Traffic Sergeant.

During this time I drove both patrol cars and Police motorcycles and was involved in Bikesafe both locally and as the North West Regional Chairman.

I was involved in many road safety initiatives and unfortunately I saw first hand on many occasions the devastation caused to families by fatal collisions involving both cars and bikes.

Experience shows that any training done to improve your driving or riding can only benefit you as a road user as well as having an effect on other road users. Advanced Driver and Advanced Rider Courses available through IAM RoadSmart provide access to expert coaching that will help you to achieve this improvement and make a difference. I am now an IAM RoadSmart Examiner for both Cars and Bikes.

IAM Road Smart Examiner (Cars and Motorcycles) Former Sergeant with Cumbria Police Roads Policing Unit

Sam Quigley
I lost my younger brother in a car accident just short of his 21st Birthday, that gave me an appreciation of the dangers on the road.

Growing up on a farm, I was involved with all things mechanical from an early age, driving tractors around the fields before my feet could touch pedals whilst seated. I began riding legally on a Honda PC50 moped aged 16, and driving, in an Aunt’s old Singer Gazelle aged 18.
I’ve covered a few miles on bikes & cars in a number of Continents since, but I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of freedom that being on the road gave.
I lost my younger brother in a car accident just short of his 21st Birthday, that gave me an appreciation of the dangers on the road, but it took a ride with Bikesafe Carlisle in 2015 to motivate me to do something to improve my own riding, which till then had been happily accident & drama free.
I joined IAM & CWCAM as an Associate rider & was inspired by Nigel McDonald, I then embarked on driver training, where Chris Hudson fuelled my desire to be a better road user still further.
In my day job, as a professional pilot, instructor & examiner of some 30 years standing, I positively encourage my training team & crews to hone their flying skills; we endeavour to get things right in the air, as the consequences of failure can be dramatic, so I really appreciate the dedication & thoroughly professional style demonstrated by the volunteer Observers & Committee members within the CWCAM Group. I enjoy seeing our Associates improve core road skills with the help we offer.

Local Observer (Car and Motorcycle); Master Driver (Distinction).

Leah Lister
I look forward to coaching our Associates achieve the competencies required to pass the Advanced Driving Test.

Hello, my name is Leah, I pride myself on being friendly and approachable and I enjoy driving and meeting new people. I am an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) living in Cockermouth and I am also an Advanced Driver and Local Observer for IAM RoadSmart. I am extremely happy to be associated with Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists (CWCAM) and I look forward to coaching our Associates achieve the competencies required to pass the Advanced Driving Test.

Approved Driving Instructor; Local Observer (Car)

Dave Rothery
Every day is a learning day!

I’ve always been a keen motorcyclist and driver; in fact, there are not many things I haven’t ridden or driven over the last 35 years,  thanks to her Majesty’s Government.

However, I thought it was about time I learned how to do it better, which would in turn make me a safer rider and driver, not just for my own benefit, but for that of other road users.

I therefore enrolled on the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider Course and was introduced to the ‘SYSTEM of Motorcycle Control’: my template to becoming a better rider.

On passing the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Motorcycle Test with a ‘First’, I felt on top of the world.

I then joined  Blood Bikes Cumbria as a rider and driver and with the ‘SYTEM’ firmly in place, it did not take long to learn advanced driving skills and to pass the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving Test.

I thoroughly enjoyed the educational experience that resulted in these qualifications and decided that I could give something back, by helping others to be better riders. With that in mind, I embarked on the Observer Training Course and qualified as a Local Observer (Motorcycle). This has ‘opened my eyes’ to a different world, as I am now entrusted by CWCAM to mentor new Associates and coach them to achieve the  Advanced Rider qualification.

IAM RoadSmart has a policy of ‘life long learning’ and as every day is a learning day I will continue to develop my personal competence as a driver and rider, whilst helping others to do the same.

Local Observer (Motorcycle)

Mick McKerrow
'Learning from experience' is all about learning the limitations of rider and machine. 

From childhood, I’ve never been without a motorcycle and at 9-years old my Father gave me responsibility for restoring an old Matchless.

I enjoy building and maintaining motorcycles as well as riding them, hence my choice of career in Engineering rather than following my family tradition in Medicine.

I’ve received bumps and scrapes along the way: it’s called ‘Learning from Experience’; that is, the experience to understand the limitations of rider and machine!

I’ve raced competitively on tarmac and dirt; I’ve done some touring; in 2007 I undertook the ‘Saddle Sore 1000 Mile Challenge’ within 24 hours: basically, if its got 2 wheels I’m up for it.

On my route to becoming a Blood Biker, I received Advanced Rider coaching from IAM RoadSmart, and this made me mindful of what I could be giving back to others. Traffic on the public highway has trebled in volume since I started riding on the road and now that I am a qualified Observer, I am keen to pass on my skills and experience to others, to make motorcycling safer and more enjoyable for all.

Local Observer (Motorcycle)

Stephen Parr
Some old dogs can learn new tricks!

Learning how to identify potential hazards, knowing what position to be in when taking bends and corners or even knowing where to position myself on the highway and motorways was all new to me, but after several weeks of coaching everything fell into place and I passed my Advanced Rider Test. Further training then led to me obtaining the Local Observer (Motorcycle) Qualification and I am now able to pass on my skills to others, by coaching them to pass the Advanced Rider Test.


Local Observer (Motorcycle).

Dave Gibson-Whorton
My heart belongs to motorcycling

I was born and raised in Liverpool and became Director of a Liverpool and Manchester based Company employing 134 staff.

My hobbies are Scuba diving, to instructor level, and I helped to bring Henry VIII’s Flagship, the Mary Rose, to the surface in 1982.

I was a member of the Birkenhead Victoria Cycling Club and raced numerous times against Chris Boardman Graeme Obree.

However, my heart belongs to motorcycling so I joined Southport Advanced Motorcycle Group in 1995. In June 1996 I became an Advanced Motorcyclist and went on to qualify as a National Observer for the Group: one of my most memorable motorcycling accomplishments.

After moving to Cumbria in 2001, I retrained in the nursing profession, and now work full-time at Caldbeck Surgery. I was also Team Leader for 1st Responders in the Wigton area, until I retired in 2018, proudly receiving the Queens Medal for my 15 years as an Ambulance Service volunteer.

After retirement, I started a part-time business teaching CPR, defibrillator training, Advanced First Aid Etc. to both clinical and non-clinical NHS Staff.

After a spell away from Observing, I have now joined Carlisle and West Cumbria Advanced Motorists and my aspirations for 2021 are to regain my National Observer Qualification and to train as an IAM RoadSmart Master Motorcyclist.

Local Observer (Motorcycle)