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)

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

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).

Andy and bike
Andy Houghton

I passed my basic motorcycle test in 2008 and to improve my skills, I attended a Police BikeSafe Course in 2009. Police Motorcyclists running the Course were assisted by Observers from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), as IAM RoadSmart was then known. The riding skills and techniques taught to me on Course were most beneficial and I saw that IAM offered a way for me to progress beyond BikeSafe, to become a safer more confident rider. I took the ‘Skills for Life Course’ (now known as the Advanced Rider Course) and on passing, I became an Advanced Rider. Since then I trained as a Local Observer (Motorcycle) and as my coaching ability and experience grew, I progressed to National Observer (Motorcycle), the top Observing Grade in IAM RoadSmart. I then trained for and passed my Advanced Driver Course, gaining a First Award, before further training and qualifying as a Local Observer (Car). I am now qualified to coach both Motorcycle and Car Associates achieve the competences they require to pass the relevant Advanced Test. My progression from Associate to National Observer and my qualifications to coach both motorcycle riders and car drivers is an example of the ‘life-long’ learning opportunities offered by IAM RoadSmart; and it does not stop there, as I have my sights set on even more achievements within the organisation!  I give my time free of charge to pass on skills and techniques that make drivers and riders more confident; competent and ultimately safer road users.

National Observer (Motorcycle); Master Rider; Local Observer Car.

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)

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).

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).