Independent Riding

26th June 2011

Monday 27th June 2011 sees a change not only to the practical riding test for learner motorcyclists but also for the practical driving test for car, large goods vehicle (LGV), passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) tests and the approved driving instructor (ADI) driving ability (sometimes called ‘part two’).

The changes see the introduction of “Independent Driving”, where the test candidate has to take responsibility for route finding by either following:

  •  traffic signs
  •  a series of directions
  •  a combination of both

The idea behind “Independent Driving” is to help make the driving test more representative of real driving to allow test candidates to demonstrate their ability to drive safely in realistic driving situations, rather than memorising a particular test route.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) will no longer publish details of test routes.

The test for motorcyclists was conducted by an examiner following the rider on a bike giving turn by turn directions via radio.

Independent Riding

Independent Driving

With the introduction of “Independent Driving” at certain sections of the test route, you will be stopped and told that you are going to ride independently, without step-by-step instructions from the examiner, for 10 minutes.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said, “Independent driving assessment will encourage a sense of responsibility, awareness and individual decision-making amongst learner drivers, in order to prepare them when driving on their own.”

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird says, ”Riders who are riding on a provisional licence or who have completed CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) already have a sense of independence and individual decision-making. However at Right To Ride we welcome the introduction of “Independent Driving” if only to check that motorcycle test candidates have confidence in their own capabilities.”

We also welcome the Driver & Vehicle Agency’s (DVA) comment that “Independent Driving” is not a test of how test candidates follow directions.

The DVA have said that it doesn’t matter if a test candidate doesn’t remember every direction or if they go the wrong way, it won’t affect the result of the test, unless a driving fault is committed.

Also, if a test candidate does not have detailed knowledge of the test area or there are poor or obscured traffic signs, directions will be given by the examiner.

Last but not least there has been no increase in test fees or in the time taken to complete the test.

If you are a learner rider your AMI (Approved Motorcycle Instructor) should have details of the changes regarding “Independent Driving”.


Motorcycle practical test explained

NIDirect – Independent Driving – Click Here

NIDirect – Motorcycle practical test explained – Click Here

List of AMI (Approved Motorcycle Instructor) DVA website – Click Here

Approved Motorcycle Instructors Association (N.I.) –



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