Motorcycle Test Debacle – Over There – Over Here?

Motorcycle organisations in the UK including the Motorcycle Industry, have responded to a report by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee (TSC) on the new European motorcycle test. The report is the result of a short enquiry with submitted written evidence and an oral evidence session which took place in October 2009 in the House of Commons.

The “new” European test was introduced in Northern Ireland in December 2008 and in April 2009 in the rest of the UK . Its aim is to improve road safety. The test employs two practical elements: one consists of technical exercises off-road, designed to assess the rider’s ability to control the machine safely (including a swerve and brake manoeuvre). These are tested at designated Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs). The other element is a road-based test of traffic handling skills on the public highway.

Launching the report, the Transport Select Committee Chair, Louise Ellman MP said, “Many candidates and trainers now have to travel too far for their motorcycle test. This adds to the cost, and in some cases, exposes candidates to fast and dangerous roads on the way to a test site – before they have even taken their test.”

The TSC Committee also said that, “The committee accepts the industry’s argument that Government has ‘gilded the lily’ by adding more manoeuvres to the test than is strictly required by the Brussels Directive, but believes the Government was right to do so.”

Riders groups and the motorcycle industry have commented that, “By combining braking and swerving the DSA (Driving Standards Agency GB)* have exceeded the EU Directive’s requirements and made it a more difficult and hazardous manoeuvre, so much so that several learners have crashed trying to complete the sequence.” – “That there are too few test centres and many test candidates are now required to travel long distances to take the test.”- “The new test is gaining a reputation of being dangerous and this needs correcting before lasting damage is done to testing and training.”

The report seems to have vindicated rider representatives and the motorcycle industries position in – England – Scotland – Wales – but what about over here in Northern Ireland?

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