May 16th marks the date of changes to the motorcycle test.
These are not however, the changes you may be expecting. The Ministerial Review is ongoing and many of those involved, not least MAG, still hope that a single test with easy access for all, will be the ultimate outcome.
In the meantime, the DSA have decided to implement a host of changes to the Mod 1 test themselves and said in a letter to training schools:
“You’ll be aware that the government is working with motorcycle groups, training organisations and others to review the motorcycle test. They’re considering various options around content and delivery.
“As part of this review and DSA’s ongoing monitoring and review process of all tests a number of minor changes have been identified that can be introduced before the main review is finalised. These changes will take effect from Monday 16 May 2011.
“The government working group supports these changes which take into consideration feedback from yourselves and the wider motorcycle audience.”
This is particularly interesting because many of the changes are things we have been asking for since we first heard this Mod 1 format was to be introduced in 2009, and were comprehensively told were impossible and couldn’t be offered- like for example, removing the ‘stop in a box’ element from the end of the swerve manoeuvre, as it was never an EU requirement.
Similarly, and most strikingly, there will be the introduction of leniency (5%) to the speed attained for the higher speed manoeuvres, so that if 48kph is attained, instead of 50kph, that will be acceptable! It is because of the previous strict speed enforcement that the special test centres had to be built at great public expense!
What is perhaps more interesting, is that although it says the ‘working group supports these changes’ it came as a complete surprise to us. We do indeed support the changes, as we’ve been calling for them, but even at the last, ironically named, ‘DSA Stakeholders’ meeting, there was absolutely no mention of these forthcoming changes.
One of the reasons that the discussions into the whole Ministerial Review have been taking so long, is that the DSA were adamant that the swerve and stop must be combined and that any changes to it would need thorough and expensive trialling, even just altering the cone layout on approach to make the corner less severe. There will now be 3 possible ‘lines’ the candidates can choose.
I do hope that this enlightened change of heart will continue to pervade their thinking, but I fear it may not, as there are only two dates (below) when all the training schools in the land will be able to witness the changes, in order to know what to teach their students. With less than 2 weeks notice and the Easter holidays approaching, I wonder how many will be able to alter their diaries in time.
Information will be available to trainers at the following venues, but as examiners also need thorough training, there will be less test booking availability in the busy holiday period. Joined up thinking?
12 April (4.00-6.00 pm) Burgess Hill, Darlington, Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Gillingham, Lee On Solent, Nottingham, Swansea, Wolverhampton.
14 April (4.00-6.00 pm) Atherton, Bristol, Cambridge, Chester, Enfield, Exeter, Farnborough, Greenham, Inverness, Rotherham, Swindon, Wakefield.
Words written by: Paddy Tyson