"A PACKAGE THAT NEEDS IMPROVING" - THE MCIA VERDICT ON GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS FOR RIDER LICENSING
April 1 2010.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association has called for motorcycle training and not arbitrary tests to be the long-term goal for the motorcycle licensing regime. The MCIA makes this call as the Government announces new measures on rider testing, training, examination and licensing which are being introduced as a result of European regulations. These include a requirement for novice riders to take tests at every stage of the 'Progressive Access' route to a licence for large bikes.

From 2013, the Third Driving Licence Directive (3DLD) will be introduced into UK law, according to proposals from the Department for Transport (DfT). The new measures have been developed by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), both are DfT agencies.

However, the MCIA says that the proposed measures still fall short of what is needed to make a real improvement to motorcycle safety. Although Government proposals include many industry recommendations, the MCIA believes that the consultation was flawed and not fit for purpose.

Although the MCIA recognises that the testing option will be introduced in 2013, it is calling on the DSA to move, in the longer term, towards adopting progressive training as the correct way to improve rider safety. The MCIA is recommending that this should include embedded progressive training processes that are delivered to a common standard, quality controlled and properly governed.

Therefore the industry is calling for the progressive training option to be included in the amendment to the Road Traffic Act, alongside the necessary testing regulations and not excluded from this critical piece of legislation. This would be allowed under EU regulations.

Steve Kenward, th MCIA CEO commented; "Training providers have been sceptical about the DSA's ability to introduce a progressive training scheme and the way the DSA presented their view of the cost of the training has created a lack of confidence in its commercial viability. Indeed, the DSA have proved to be inflexible on the whole issue of training versus testing.

"So although we recognise that the Government intends to go down the testing route for now, industry still believes that a training based route to a full licence should be considered the longer term goal.

"In light of the recent Parliamentary Select Committee report that called for the DSA to take more seriously the views of the motorcycle industry and trainers the MCIA is urging the Government to approach the new legislative changes in a way that will avoid unnecessary problems or delays as the training, testing and licensing regime evolves and include both the testing and training option in forthcoming legislation."

Government proposals replace the current two categories of motorcycle with three - A1 (up to 125cc), A2 (up to 35Kw) and A (above 35Kw) - and new rules introduced for riders of larger bikes. Riders wanting to progress to larger categories of motorbikes will have to take a further test and there will be a rise in the minimum age from 21 to 24 for those wishing to start riding larger bikes without previous experience via the "Direct Access" route.

Other changes mean that riders moving from smaller to larger motorcycles will not need to do a familiarisation course as originally proposed in the consultation. Riders who have had a full licence for smaller bike for two years or more will need to be accompanied by an Authorised Trainer, while learning on larger bikes on public roads, until they have passed their test.