December 1 2008.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) and the RMI Motorcycle Retailers' Association (MRA) have joined forces to urge motorcycle manufacturers, retailers and trainers to respond to the consultation on proposals for the new motorcycle test outlined by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).

The DSA is proposing a modular testing regime which will see the off-road and on-road elements of the test taken separately. Compared with previous proposals for a single test, this allows greater flexibility for locations at which to deliver the on-road element. The motorcycle community believes this is vital to ensure motorcycling remains accessible to as many potential riders as possible.

The industry has broadly welcomed the DSA's proposals, but in order to make progress with the new test and avoid further confusion and potential disaster and paralysis of the system, the industry is asking for support for these proposals.

MCI chief executive Steve Kenward said: "The issue of motorcycle testing has been fraught, culminating in the recent deferral of the new test for six months. But we have to get this right to ensure the sector is properly protected. There are enough business pressures as it is, so we will be encouraging all our members from manufacturers through to accessory suppliers to respond positively both individually and collectively via their representative bodies."

Martin Marshall, MRA chairman, said: "Modular testing appears to present the best way forward for the motorcycle market as government seeks to meet the requirements of the Second EC Driving Licence Directive. We are encouraging every organisation in the industry to respond to the consultation to ensure the right outcome is delivered. The options for the industry should modular testing not be adopted, are extremely limited and are almost certain to have a very negative impact on the market."

The consultation also includes proposed test fee increases, and these will be the topic of considerable debate throughout the consultation period. However it is vital that respondents treat the two issues separately.

The use of powered two-wheelers - especially for commuting - is more relevant than ever, with the market standing up well to recessionary pressures. Interest in motorcycling from new riders is increasing, and the industry believes that access to motorcycling must not be restricted if it is to remain an economical and affordable mode of transport.

Full details of the DSA proposals can be found at  Responses can be submitted on-line or in writing to The Driving Standards Agency, The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP. Comments on the proposals must be submitted by January 9, 2009.