Tuesday, 16 September 2008

A Ticking Time-Bomb

12 September 2008

Motorcycle Testing - a Ticking Time-Bomb say BMF

News that the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has agreed to delay by six months the introduction of the new practical motorcycle test should only be seen as a respite and not a victory say the BMF.

Originally scheduled for September 29, the new motorcycle test will now be introduced on Monday, March 30, 2009

Whilst the BMF fully supported the representations made by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and the Motorcycle Rider Training Association (MRTA) in seeking a delay and congratulate them on achieving one, the new test manoeuvres required under European Directive (Second EC Driving Licence Directive 2000/56/EC) have not gone away and therefore neither has the requirement for expensive, massive new testing centres and decimation of the existing testing network say the BMF.

Because of the new test requirements, the existing 260 test centres will be closed, to be replaced by just 66 new Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs) around the UK. By reducing capacity and location by this amount, the DSA will be forcing learner riders to travel much greater distances to reach a test centre, in extreme cases 60 miles but in many others, at least 40 miles, say the BMF.

The BMF are now hoping that the six-month delay will provide an opportunity for the whole concept to be revisited and a more realistic view taken of the facilities required.

"We appreciate that £71 million has already been invested in this project but we really need to get real here," said the BMF's Government Relations Executive Chris Hodder "We didn't need purpose built facilities, just a slight change of use at existing facilities and a derogation on minimum speeds. We've gone through all this mainly because of an anomaly whereby the required 50kph minimum road speed required equates to 31 mph. Amend that requirement and testing, with minor modifications, could have been accommodated within our existing infrastructure."

The BMF will now also be pressing for centres that are no more than 20 miles from any prospective candidate.

Note: Prior to the postponement, only 39 of the planned 66 centres were ready so unless the DSA had capitulated, there was a real danger that the whole motorcycle test system would have collapsed with candidates in many parts of the country unable to secure a motorcycle test. Others would have been faced with a round trip of 200 miles to take a test - a frightening prospect for a learner on a small capacity machine and a ridiculous situation if the rider were to fail and have to ride home!


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