The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has a new chief examiner for advanced driving and motorcycling.
For former police officer Stuart McMillan, the role marks the continuation of a career in which he has been passionate to promote high standards on the roads. It also marries work and pleasure.
Stuart is more than familiar with RoSPA’s network of advanced drivers and riders (RoADAR); in 2010, he achieved a gold award in the RoSPA Advanced Motorcycling Test and became a member of Shropshire and Powys Advanced Riders.
He has since gone on to take RoADAR’s Advanced Tutor Test, subsequently becoming training officer for Shropshire and Powys Advanced Riders. Earlier this year, he gained RoSPA’s Diploma in Advanced Riding Instruction. He is also a RoSPA examiner for cars and motorcycles.
Stuart is passionate about drivers and riders developing their skills beyond their learner test, and particularly through advanced training. He said: “Advanced training is the one thing that you can do, a qualification that you can get, that not only safeguards you but, more importantly, your family and ultimately everybody else around you. By developing your skills, you are also learning to make allowances for the errors of others and to spot those errors before they become significant for you.”
RoSPA’s advanced driving and motorcycling qualifications represent the pinnacle of civilian motoring. Candidates receive free preparation for their tests through the RoADAR network of more than 50 local groups and, to maintain high standards, tests are retaken every three years.
In his new role, Stuart, who succeeds Bob Smalley as chief examiner, is keen to encourage consistency in standards across the country, while continuing to support groups’ freedom to develop in line with their local circumstances. Ultimately, he would like to see the RoADAR network grow.
A love of motorcycling runs deep in Stuart’s family; wife Sally, a RoSPA silver advanced rider, is group secretary of Shropshire and Powys Advanced Riders; son Edward, 21, is a RoSPA gold advanced rider; and daughter Sarah, 16, is soon to start riding her first bike.
It was Stuart’s own love of vehicles, and particularly of motorcycles, that led him to pursue his professional career as a police officer, joining West Mercia Police in 1979, with an aspiration to move into the traffic department. This hope became a reality in 1983 when he gained his Class 1 advanced motorcycle qualification and became a motorcycle patrol officer. Two years later, he also gained his Class 1 driver qualification.
Transferring to the West Mercia Police Driving School in 1990 as a Sergeant and driving instructor, he became a police motorcycle instructor the following year. He went on to head up driver training for West Mercia Police until 1998, qualifying as a national VIP driving instructor along the way. Following promotion to Inspector, he spent the next three years based in the force control room, as a Duty Inspector, and then worked as a general Inspector until 2008, when he retired from uniform and joined the force’s support staff, working mainly in IT.
See www.roadar.org for more information about advanced driving and riding with RoSPA.