MRTA CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW MOTORCYCLE TEST TO BE DEFERRED
July 25 2008.

The RMI's Motorcycle Rider Training Association (MRTA) has today  written to Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT) with responsibility for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), to call for implementation of the new motorcycle test to be deferred.

The new test is due to be introduced on 29 September 2008 as a result of new requirements included in the Second EC Driving Licence Directive (Directive 2000/56/EC). The DSA's chosen implementation depends upon the development of a minimum of 66 new Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs) around the country. This will allow certain elements of the test to be conducted 'off-road' before the usual 'on-road' test.

At present, the DSA is only on target to have less than 40 MPTCs operational by the implementation date. The DSA has considered a motorcycle/training industry call for some transitional arrangements including use of temporary sites, but there will only be around 14 ready by the implementation date, and only with restricted availability.

As a result MRTA members have increasingly expressed strong concern via both a recent sample survey and sustained feedback about the effect on lives and livelihoods.

Commenting on this situation, MRTA Chairman Kevin Bryan said; 'The training industry has long expressed concern that the DSA was unlikely to meet its targets but nonetheless the MRTA has supported the Agency to the fullest extent possible to assist it towards implementation.

'However, it has become clear that with an MPTC network that is nowhere near complete and associated infrastructure and service provision issues including test booking and capacity concerns, Government has no option but to call a stop to this September implementation to avoid chaos in the training industry and unacceptable extra training costs to new riders.'

Bryan explains: 'MRTA members believe that the extremely long journey times to test centres for some novice riders could make training unaffordable in certain locations. This is expected to increase social exclusion for potential riders and lead to job losses in the training industry and the wider motorcycle market.'

Bryan adds: 'The MRTA can no longer support this implementation and therefore calls for it to be deferred for at least six months, or until such time as the full MPTC network is operational.'

The MRTA will be urging the Minister on his return from the summer recess to urgently review this situation and stop this implementation.