NEW STATISTICS SUGGEST IMPENDING EU LEGISILATION IS BRINGING MORE PEOPLE INTO MOTORCYCLING
November 8 2007.
New statistics released by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) appear to show that the impending Second Driving Licence Directive (2DLD) EU legislation, coming into effect in October 2008, is getting more people out on two wheels as the number of people taking and passing their test has grown. The new statistics, released just three weeks before the start of this year's International Motorcycle and Scooter Show (23rd November - 2nd December), is welcome news for the UK motorcycle industry, for whom the NEC Bike Show is also an important industry barometer.

The new DSA figures show a 13% uplift in new riders during the period April-August 2007, with the number of tests passed up to 28,216 compared with the same period in 2006. This percentage translates into an additional 3,188 new riders compared to 2006. Motorcycle sales also appear to have benefited from this surge in interest. With less than one-year to go before changes to the motorcycle riding licence test are introduced, registrations of motorcycles under the 125cc learner limit have increased by 37% compared to September 2006. Such an increase in both new riders and motorcycle sales is a big boost for the industry ahead of its shop window event, the NEC Bike Show, and insiders will be hoping the upward trend continues in three weeks time at the Birmingham NEC.

The quality of sales leads generated at the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show is likely to be scrutinized even more closely than usual this year as the industry looks to see what impact 2DLD will have in the UK. Pre-show ticket sales for this year's Show are currently x% up, spurred on by the most impressive line-up of leading motorcycle manufacturers ever seen at a two-wheeled Show in the UK. The return of Italian giant Ducati to the NEC and the first showing of Benelli is massive news for the UK's biggest bike show, which will once again play host to the UK premieres of the latest 2008 bikes from the leading manufacturers.

The new 2DLD EU legislation will radically change the motorcycle licence testing procedures in the UK, leading to a serious reduction in venues, from over 200 to around 60, where people can actually take their test. The MCIA has been running a campaign, Now's The Time, to advise potential riders of the changes in legislation and how it will effect the test requirements and changes in test locations. The industry has set up a website dedicated to advice and information on training and testing www.takeyourbiketest.now.com, which includes details on the new manoeuvres, such as slalom and avoidance test, which new riders will have to complete successfully before they are allowed to carry out the road ride section.

Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI's Director of Public Affairs, said: "The last time major changes to the motorcycle test were brought in, back in 1997, we saw a huge rise in the number of people taking their test before the changes came into force and a reduction immediately after the changes. These European directives pose challenges to the industry, but there are also great opportunities. Our aim is to assist forward planning and to improve knowledge about these directives, so the industry and riders are better placed to prepare for the changing motorcycling environment.

"The industry's Now's The Time campaign has been effective in raising aware of the legislation change and promoting the benefits of getting on two wheels. The increase in the number of new riders this year suggests we have persuaded more people that rather than sitting in traffic feeling jealous of bikers , they should take their test and join them!"

Finlay McAllen, Managing Director of Motorcycle Industry Exhibitions, organisers of the NEC Bike Show, said: "The International Motorcycle and Scooter Show is the shop window for the UK motorcycle industry and always a hugely important date for the trade. Over the past few years exhibitors have consistently reported a high quality of visitor to the Show, leading to strong sales leads. Early signs for this year's Show are once again extremely positive and with 2DLD now just around the corner, we expect the leading motorcycle manufacturers to be looking to the NEC Bike Show as a barometer for the state of the industry in the UK."

The 2007 International Motorcycle and Scooter Show takes place at the Birmingham NEC from 23rd November - 2nd December. For more information and to buy tickets visit www.motorcycleshow.co.uk