January 30 2009.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), and its training arm the Motor Cycle Industry Trainers' Association (MCITA), have broadly welcomed the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) announcement of the new motorcycle test. This followed a recent consultation on the new practical motorcycle test and associated fees.

The industry had urged support for the proposed two-part modular practical test, but the MCI feels that some of the announced measures are still inadequate.

Following a £20 increase in test fees last September, the industry is totally opposed to the planned further increase in fees for tests taken on or after October 5, 2009.

MCI chief executive Steve Kenward said: "We are very disappointed by yet another increase in test fees. A fee increase of 30 per cent in just over a year will do nothing to help the motorcycle industry and training organizations, and could encourage a 'permanent learner' culture among learner riders, with all the safety issues that this implies."

The MCI is also alarmed about the continuing low number of test sites available for module one of the new test. Having already delayed the introduction of the new test by six months because of safety concerns linked to a lack of test sites, it is expected that only 44 multi-purpose test sites, supported by part time sites, will be operational by April this year.

Kenward commented: "The whole industry remains very concerned about the coverage of test sites and we are convinced that there won't be enough. The industry calls on the DSA to continue to identify new sites and bring them on stream quickly. Novice riders should not be expected to ride long distances to take tests. Once again, the safety implications are clear."

The industry is also opposed to the proposed minimum wait of 10 days between failing and re-taking module two of the test. The MCITA believes that a compulsory 10 day wait would have a negative impact on the training process, and would also cost candidates time and money. Three days is a much more realistic period.

Kenward added: "A novice rider needing to retake module two is hardly likely to need 10 days additional training, but will instead undertake a day's refresher course before presenting themselves for the test. An enforced 10 day delay is nonsensical and could lead to a 'disconnection' of the candidate from the rider training environment. The industry is calling for this to be reduced to three days - in line with module one re-test requirements - when the regulations are laid before parliament.

"Apart from these concerns, we are generally satisfied with the new modular test. But do feel that after a period of willingness by the DSA to include industry and rider trainers in detailed consultation, it is a shame that the Agency was not prepared to listen to rider training experts on several fundamental issues that relate to the new test.

"However, the industry and MCITA will continue to work closely with the DSA to ensure that the new test benefits novice riders and trainers. In particular, we urge the DSA to accelerate efforts to increase the number of test sites."