Mike Penning, the new Minister with responsibility for Road Safety at the Department for Transport has announced a review of the motorcycle testing and training regime.
Within days of taking office, the new Minister visited one of the few test centres offering the new motorcycle test to see it action, before inviting the Motorcycle Action Group alongside BMF and MCI to meet him on 1st June.
The move follows recent endorsement of the motorcycle riders’ trainers and industry groups’ concerns by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee and pre-election questions to Parliamentary candidates by supporters of the Riders Are Voters campaign.
Mike Penning said:
“It is clear there are concerns among the motorcycling community about the safety of the new test’s off-road module. There have also been complaints about the difficulty for riders in some areas of accessing the off-road test centres.”
“That is why I am today asking riders, safety groups and motorcycle industry representatives to come forward with their ideas for how testing and training can be improved to ensure we produce safe, confident and responsible riders.”
DfT announced the precise scope and terms of reference of the review will be determined following discussions with motorcycle groups and other interested parties, with the aim of concluding the review by the autumn and confirmed that the review will be carried out by DfT officials rather than the Driving Standards Agency itself.
Nich Brown, General Secretary of the Motorcycle Action Group said:
“We welcome the new Ministers response to the decimation of motorcycle test centres and the halving of rider tests conducted by DSA. There must be a willingness on all sides to find a solution that allows riders easy access to an affordable and meaningful test and effective training. That cannot happen unless there is an end to the bunker mentality we were faced with during earlier attempts to put things right.”
Fresh thought is being given to whether more of the test could be safely conducted in the on-road test after it emerged the £75 million Multi-Purpose Test Centre building programme has failed to meet the needs of riders wanting to gain a motorcycle entitlement on their licence.
The review will also consider ways to improve training generally. In particular, the options for training as an alternative to repeated testing for progressive access under the Third EU Driving Licence Directive are to be reopened.