MoT – Brakes On

Last year (March 2014) we reported on the trials to introduce a roller brake test for motorcycles going through their MoT inspection at the Northern Irelands test – MoT – Centres.

This change was introduced on 6th October 2014, with the NI Direct Government Services website stating:

“Following the introduction of new EU legislation, the motorcycle annual inspection in Northern Ireland has changed from 6 October 2014.

The complete test process has been revised and two additional elements have been introduced.

  • a roller brake test where you will be required to ride your machine through the brake roller tester, however, if you are not happy to do this the examiner will, on request, ride the motorcycle through the rollers for you;
  • a check of the alignment of the road wheels. The wheel alignment is a simple visual check using a straight edge aligned with the front and rear wheels of the machine”.

NI Direct also reminds riders to, “wear suitable footwear when presenting your motorcycle for inspection.” We would assume flip-flops would not be suitable footwear, although they don’t say if a rider did wear flip-flops whether they would be turned away – moving swiftly on…

When we reported about the trails, our own first-hand experience with the introduction of the test, we published our man’s sneak spy photo of the “new” rolling road brake test equipment, which was published on the Right To Ride Facebook page.

The picture attracted over 1,390 views and various comments, mostly about the issue of dropping the motorcycle/damage caused by rolling road/personal injuries/liability/bike dedicated lane.

Over a year later since the trials and nine months after its introduction, riders are still not comfortable with the test, although some including ourselves are quite happy to get on and go through the test with not much of an issue other than, “hmm that’s a bit disconcerting”.

However Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird is of the opinion that riders should not be “forced” to be a disconcerted under the “control” of government officials, nor with the option of handing your motorcycle to a tester, (who with all the best intentions is trained and up to the job), but still having concerns about our bikes going through the test.

Then again perhaps this is all part of life and we have to except being outside some sort comfort zone outside the norm of what we do with our motorcycles, that we haven’t been trained to do or just another experience to notch up that motorcycling will always throw up.

While there are still concerns from riders on the rolling brake test, Lord Morrow (Maurice) of Clogher Valley – DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), MLA from Fermanagh and South Tyrone has asked a raft of questions and received answers in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The questions cover every aspect of the introduction and operation of the motorcycle roller brake test as operated at the MoT Test Centres in Northern Ireland.

Whether this has any outcome for changes to the roller brake test is another matter, but looking at the detailed questions and answers there doesn’t appear to be at this stage any changes to be made or any required.

Unless you think differently?

Questions & Answers – Northern Ireland Assembly


Lord Morrow (Maurice) of Clogher Valley – DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), MLA from Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Question – 29/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment to (i) provide or place in the Assembly Library a copy of the risk assessment of the equipment used for the MOT motorcycle brake test; and (ii) detail which agency designed the risk assessment and on which template or similar test conducted outside Northern Ireland is it based.

Answer – A copy of the latest generic risk assessment for the new motorcycle brake roller test has been placed in the Assembly Library.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency’s Health & Safety officers conducted several generic motorcycle roller brake test health and safety risk assessments. These have not been based on any external template or similar test conducted outside Northern Ireland.

Question – 25/06/15 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether risk assessments have been completed in respect of the recently introduced motorcycle MOT brake test for each category of motorcycle being tested; and are these risk assessments available on display in MOT centres or available on request.

Answer – The DVA Health & Safety Section, in consultation with Trade Union representatives, completed Generic Risk Assessments for the motorcycle brake roller test. Each Test Centre Manager also completes local risk assessments based on the findings of the generic assessments. It is not deemed reasonably practicable to conduct a risk assessment for each category of motorcycle being tested.

Risk assessments are not on display in test centres however they are available on request.

Question – 25/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether all motorcycle MOT testers (i) are trained, qualified and time-served motor cycle mechanics; (ii) are experienced motorcycle riders and licenced to ride high capacity motorcycles on the road; (iii) have a NVQ Level 3 in motorcycle maintenance; and (iv) wear approved motorcycle helmets and appropriate safety equipment when riding the motorcycle during the test.

Answer – The Driver & Vehicle Agency’s (DVA) vehicle examiners are fully qualified mechanics, having served a suitable apprenticeship period of at least three years, with a minimum of three years post apprenticeship experience, hold a minimum qualification of NVQ level 3 in Vehicle Mechanical and Electronic Systems (or equivalent) and possess a full current driving licence.

Each examiner must also successfully complete the appropriate comprehensive DVA training programme for the category of vehicle they are authorised to inspect.

DVA vehicle examiners are not required to:

  • be trained, qualified and time served motorcycle mechanics;
  • be experienced motorcycle riders, licensed to ride high capacity motorcycles on the road;
  • have an NVQ level 3 in motorcycle maintenance; nor wear an approved motorcycle helmet when riding a motorcycle during the test. However, they are required to wear standard DVA personal protection equipment when inspecting all types of vehicles.

Question – 25/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether the rolling road used in MOT testing is specifically designed for motorcycles or is it a modified rolling road used for cars.

Answer – The roller brake test equipment (rolling road) is designed, and supplied by the manufacturer for testing motorcycles and 4 wheel vehicles.

Question – 24/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether (i) the wheels of scooters and small or light motorcycles fit on the rollers for existing MOT brake testing equipment being used for larger motorcycles; (ii) scooters and small or light motorcycles aren’t required to complete this section of the test because they don’t fit on the rollers; and (iii) why they aren’t required to complete this test given they are often used by inexperienced riders.

Answer – The same roller brake test equipment is used to test all sizes of motorcycle. However, the design features (including the wheel size) of certain motorcycles prevent them from being appropriately positioned on the roller brake test equipment.

These motorcycles are not subject to the roller brake test, however, they are subject to a brake function test.

The roller brake test is not conducted where there is a significant risk of the motorcycle’s component parts fouling the test equipment or being damaged.

Question – 24/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment to detail the safety mechanisms in place for motorcyclists when the rear brake is being tested, given the motorcycle is forced backwards and riders are required to put their right leg down to balance, which is close to the rollers and potentially dangerous.

Answer – The Driver & Vehicle Agency conducted a number of health and safety risk assessments, test trials and a live pilot prior to introducing the new test to ensure the test complied with the amending Roadworthiness Directive 2010/48/EU and was safe for customers and examiners.

A specialised motorcycle adapter plate is fitted over the brake rollers to prevent the motorcycle rider’s feet from making contact with the brake rollers. The brake rollers are also designed to stop automatically should the motorcycle move backwards, limiting any further movement.

Question – 23/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether the rolling road used in MOT testing has (i) European Union CE approval; and (ii) manufacturer approval to be used as a motorcycle test, and if not, (iii) to detail why this practice is permitted.

Answer – The roller brake test equipment (rolling road) used during the annual vehicle test is CE approved and is approved by the manufacturer for testing motorcycles.

Question – 23/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment whether (i) the Driver and Vehicle Agency are liable when a motorcycle is damaged during an MOT brake test when being ridden by an MOT tester, and (ii) to detail the number of occasions damage has occurred and been recompensed by the Driver and Vehicle Agency since the introduction of the motorcycle brake test.

Answer – The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has a compensation policy which covers the issue of damage caused to vehicles. It states that “Where a vehicle is damaged on or in our property and we are found to be negligent, then a claim for compensation can be considered for expenses directly linked to the damage caused, provided they are verifiable and reasonably incurred.”

The Motorcycle Brake Test came into effect on 6 October 2014. Since that date there has been one case where compensation was paid as a result of damage caused to a motorcycle by an examiner during a test. However, this did not occur during the brake test element of the procedure.

Question – 22/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment, since the recent introduction of the MOT motorcycle brake test, to detail (i) how many accidents or incidents have occurred; (ii) how they are recorded; (iii) how many were injury and non-injury accidents; and (iv) whether all accidents are reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

Answer – During the period 6 October 2014, when the motorcycle roller brake test was first introduced, to 31 March 2015 the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) conducted 5,448 full motorcycle vehicle tests. During that time there were 2 reported incidents, of which one was classified as an accident and the other as a near miss. One further near miss was reported in April 2015.

Details of incidents where an injury, or ill health, has occurred are recorded on the Departmental Accident Report Form (HS1) while details of incidents where no injury has occurred are recorded on the Departmental Near Miss Report Form (HS3). Both forms are completed by line management and forwarded to the Department’s Health & Safety Section. An Accident Book is also retained at each DVA Test Centre and is completed for all work related accidents by the injured party or someone acting on their behalf.

Of the 3 reported incidents to date one was reported as an Accident with the remaining 2 reported as Near Misses.

No incidents relating to the new motorcycle roller brake test required reporting to the Health and Safety Executive NI under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (NI) 1997 (RIDDOR).

Question – 16/06/2015 – To ask the Minister of the Environment to detail (i) the procedures for motorcycle MOT testing in relation to the rolling road aspect; (ii) if the same equipment is used for testing four wheeled vehicles; (iii) if the equipment and procedures are standard across all test centres; and (iv) if procedures are Health and Safety tested and approved.

Answer – Prior to conducting the roller brake test, the vehicle examiner will explain the test procedure to the customer and confirm that the customer is content to control the motorcycle during the test. Where the customer expresses any concerns, the examiner will take full control of the motorcycle during the test. The motorcycle is ridden forward to the brake test equipment, where each wheel is placed on the rollers in turn. When the person riding the motorcycle is ready, the brake rollers are started, the rider applies the brakes gradually and the brake force is automatically recorded for each wheel. On completion of the test, the motorcycle is ridden forward out of the brake rollers and placed on its stand.

The motorcycle brake test is conducted on the same brake test equipment as that used for testing cars and light goods vehicles. However, certain hardware and software adaptations are used during the motorcycle test, including brake roller cover plates as a health & safety precaution.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) use the same equipment and procedures at all 15 test centres in Northern Ireland.

DVA’s Health & Safety Team conducted a number of risk assessments during the development of the new test. These assessments resulted in refinements to the testing process that was subsequently subjected to a series of successful trials, including a live pilot; resulting in the introduction of an approved and safe testing process.

Original Source for Questions & Answers – Northern Ireland Assembly – Click Here

Information & Links

MoT Test – NI Direct Government Services – Click Here

Right To Ride – Rolling Road Trials – Click Here

NI Direct MOT Video – motorcycle example

NEW Motorcycle MOT test 2015 – Riders Video

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