DfT announces review of motorcycle testing and training

09.02 | 9 June 2010 | | 8 comments

Mike Penning, the new road safety minister, has announced a review of the two-part motorcycle test which was introduced in April 2009.

The minister ordered the review after listening to concerns from motorcycle groups and visiting a test centre to look at the testing procedure in more detail. The review will also consider ways to improve training.

Mike Penning said: “Road safety is a top priority and the testing and training on offer is vital in our work to cut the disproportionately high numbers of motorcyclists killed and injured on our roads each year.

"It is clear there are concerns among the motorcycling community about the safety of the new test’s off-road module. There have also been complaints about the difficulty for riders in some areas of accessing the off-road test centres.

"That is why I am asking riders, safety groups and motorcycle industry representatives to come forward with their ideas for how testing and training can be improved to ensure we produce safe, confident and responsible riders."

The new test was introduced in order to meet the requirements of the second EU Directive on driving licences. While most elements in the off-road module 1 test are required by the Directive, there may be scope to make some changes to the way in which the test is carried out. 

The DfT review will look at the manoeuvres carried out in both modules 1 (off-road) and 2 (on-road) and whether these manoeuvres could safely be conducted in the on-road test.

The review will also look at other related motorcycle testing and training issues, including the options for training and testing for progressive access under the third driving licence directive and how any changes relate to wider proposals to improve motorcycle training and testing.

Views are welcome from motorcycle riders, trainers, road safety groups, the wider public and others on what aspects of the motorcycle test should be looked at, including how and where they think motorcycle testing might best and most safely be carried out.

The precise scope and terms of reference of the review will be determined following discussions with motorcycle groups and other interested parties, with the aim of concluding the review by the autumn.

Views should be submitted to the DfT by 31 July, by email: RUSD4consultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk


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    I’ve just done and failed my Mod 1. To be honest the test is to risky and was a danger to my safety. Apart from gravel on the speed build up curve, the swerve part of the test is just plain shocking. You are lucky if you survive injury.

    Sam Dodds Sunderland
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I think that a more involved test should be introduced and a staggered cc limit should be introduced to reduce the accident rate for motorcyclists, but maybe we should be looking at car drivers as well, adding a new module to car drivers test to make them more aware of motorbikes. I live on the Isle of Wight and its a real pain having to travel to the mainland to do my Part 2, which will cost me an excess of £500!!! I can’t underdstand with all the land on the Island why we can’t have an advanced motorcycle training centre on the Island. Seems to me that common sense is something government employees don’t have!!!

    Jon Page, isle of wight
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I am not a driving instructor or part of the council but just thought it would benefit to get the view by someone trying to pass my test.
    I passed my test when I was 17 but unfortunately I was young and never sent away for the my licence in time. 11 years later and I am trying to pass it again but I am absolutely shocked at the costs and logic involved.

    So far I have paid the £115 for the cbt, which to be honest I think is a great idea as there where too many kids jumping on bikes without any asic training, however the cost could have been a little more affordable.

    Next was the theory which was expected. Then module 1 which really really angered me, the cost is fine at £15.50 however the test centre was an hour away which meant I had to pay £150 for the instructor to get me there, first was pushing the bike backwards which I don’t see the point to. I did my car test but was not once asked to get out of my car and push it, the slalom and the figure of eight which was no problem, then the swerve at 50kph, the u turn, the slow driving, the emergency stop and you need to do all of his will pretending to be on the road turning your head to look for nothing.

    Now the result after performing everything on test I was asked to perform the swerve again as my speed was only 46kph. Off I went, ok great I was took into the office to be told that I had not received any minor marks, however, I had failed because I only did the swerve at 49kph so all this cost but failed because of .6mph, if you could explain this to me I would be very grateful how can 1 kph be more at a risk than lets say putting your foot down going around a corner. I feel total injustice and am seriously thinking of giving up as I am totally disheartened about the whole bike riding experience or maybe this is the objective.

    Lastly my suggestion is if you are to keep the swerve at least put a speed reading meter beside it so people can see the speed they are doing as it is impossible to look at you speedo and perform the test at the same time and unfortunately that 1 kph is now going to cost me another £165 if I decided to do it again.

    I hope you take my points and disappointment into consideration.
    Many thanks for your time,
    all this is doable however wait for my result.

    Thomas Heaney, Bridgend
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The new test and the way it has been introduced have clearly stirred up a lot of ill feeling but I think the important thing now is to be as constructive as possible and move forward the positively to create a better, safer testing and training regime.

    Dave, Leeds
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    As a motorcycle instructor, and someone who has ridden bikes for over 30 yrs, I believe that the new 2-part test has done little – if anything – to improve road safety. Whilst I agree strongly that a more thorough and structured training system is needed, many training establishments now find themselves unviable distances away from Module 1 test locations, just to carry out a 10-minute assessment; often, there are massive cost implications for instructor and learner alike. Module 1 components could easily be carried out locally, either off or on-road (or a combination of the two).
    We all want to increase the number of safe and considerate riders, to reduce accidents and car use, so I suggest that a full review, involving traffic police, civilian instructors and the DfT be conducted. The new test was brought in, seemingly, without proper consultation with those on the ‘shop floor’.
    We should, in my opinion, make it far more difficult to ride larger machines, possibly by introducing a series of incremental tests before allowing ownership of larger cc vehicles, but it is the amount of professional on-road training that will significantly reduce accidents. Most car drivers need at least 30 hrs tuition before thay can drive alone, yet this Country permits someone to ride a motorcycle capable of doing over 60 mph after completing just a day’s CBT. Shouldn’t the Theory Test be a pre-requisite to attendance at CBT? Shouldn’t we insist on motorcyclists passing the Advanced Motorcycle Test before progressing to super bikes? Why not encourage insurance companies to tell us what they could offer the biking community as an incentive to undertake more training? Outside the scope of this discussion I know but, nonetheless, thank you, Mr Penning, for acknowledging that a problem does exist.

    Steve Lawson, Isle of Wight
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I think its a absolute shambles that here on the Isle of Wight we have now got to go to the mainland for a module 1 test.

    It takes us 5 hours of time to do a 10 minute test and have to rely on ferry timetables. Also the fact that the DSA were offered a site rent free to do it on the island and turned it down as it was not financially viable, thus finding absolutely pathetic excuses to not do it, to cover up the main reason.

    We have now dropped from 350 to 400 tests per annum to 40 to 50 on module 2. HOW DOES THIS HELP WITH ROAD SAFETY? Condemning the island to a rise in inexperienced riders just on CBT certificates.

    john geoghegan t/a ryderight motorcycle training
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I recently decided to take up motorcycling after a break of 25 years, during which I have been a car driver. I took my CBT [excellent course!]and decided to gain several months experience on a 125cc bike before completing a DAS course when I feel ready.

    During this process I have had the following concern about the DAS training.
    Anyone over the age of 21 can gain a full motorcycle licence that enables them to ride any motorcycle immediately, without any previous on-road experience as a driver. After passing the hazard perception, theory tests and five days riding including CBT with test passes at the end of the stages, there is no power limit on the bikes that may be ridden. Needless say, I will be restricting myself by carefully selecting or restricting the power on a larger bike on successful completion of the tests for at least one year.

    By continuing to facilitate this skills gap between personal perceptions of skill and actual levels of skill are we not creating the same high casualty situation that we face with young male drivers who have not yet developed “road sense” or the skills to handle some of the vehicles that they are able to obtain?

    Andy Dickinson, Medway Council
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Whilst on our exhibition trailer I was approached by a parent, complaining about the local test centre being closed. He was concerned about the new centre being some distance away from his locality. He mentioned especially not being able to take the motor cycle test in his area, the new centre now being in Chester and not in North East Wales.

    Graham Lloyd Flintshire County Council
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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