The DfT is undertaking a major overhaul of the motorcycle test to weed out poorly-prepared candidates before they take the high-speed parts of the test (Telegraph).
The overhaul follows criticism of the previous government’s launch of the new ‘super test centres’, and calls for the ‘hazard avoidance manoeuvre’ or ‘swerve test’ to be scrapped, following a spate of accidents during the procedure.
The off-road section of the test has also been overhauled, with further changes to the on-road section expected. Candidates taking the off-road test will now be tested on slow-speed manoeuvres first (such as the observed ‘circuit ride’), to prove to examiners that they have necessary competence in motorcycle control.
Only if they succeed will they be allowed to move onto the high-speed sections (including the swerve test). They will also be given more time to familiarise themselves with the test-track layout.
The emergency stop manoeuvre will also now take place before the swerve or avoidance exercise. Candidates who fail the emergency stop will not be permitted to carry out the avoidance exercise if it is considered unsafe for them to do so. The DfT said this should "significantly reduce the likelihood of an incident for candidates who are poorly prepared".
For the high speed manoeuvres, candidates will now be allowed a 5% tolerance of the speed they travel at.
Announcing the measures, Mike Penning, road safety minister, said: "As road safety minister – and as a motorcyclist – I know how important it is that our motorcycle test prepares new riders for real life on the road. That is why I decided to carry out a full review of the motorcycle test.
“The first changes from the review are being implemented from today (25/5/11) when we will be applying common-sense measures which will see the off-road section of test made safer, fairer and more realistic."
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.