More changes to bike tests?

Author: Ian Kerr Posted: 16 Jul 2013

More changes to bike tests?

In June 2010 the then Road Safety Minister Mike Penning, himself a motorcyclist, announced a review of the motorcycle test due to the large number of injuries (some life changing) occurring during the practical part of the test. In addition changes made to test centres had resulted in less being available resulting in long journeys for candidates.

Now three years later the current Minister Stephen Hammond has announced that after a thorough review of motorcycle testing the conclusion is that the off-road manoeuvre test is safer and cheaper and will not be moved to form part of the ‘on-road’ part of the test. Currently, the motorcycle test is conducted in two parts - the first involves demonstrating specific manoeuvres off-road and the second is an on-road test.

Some positives have come about though, since the review started, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has introduced changes to make the test more accessible - including opening additional test centres and setting up an online booking service for trainers who as group were included in the review process along with other stakeholders.

Apparently the research carried out for the review showed that an on-road manoeuvres test would lead to 17 times the number of serious incidents per year - especially as a result of the higher speed exercises. The research also showed it would increase the duration of the test which would result in higher costs for both candidates and the DSA.

Stephen Hammond said: "Motorcyclists are disproportionately represented in casualty statistics - they make up just 1% of road users but 19% of all road accidents - so it is especially important that new riders coming onto the roads have the right training behind them so they can ride safely and confidently.”

However, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) which represents the industry has outlined its disappointment at the outcome of the review. Steve Kenward, Chief Executive of the MCIA commented:

"The MCIA remains concerned about the safety of a test which is considered too dangerous to be carried out on a road, yet qualifies the rider to use the road afterwards. We remain passionate about rider safety and especially the safety of those new to motorcycling and will continue to work with the DSA and other stakeholders to advance this."

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