More last minute changes to Licencing

Just when we thought we knew what was happening with the new Licensing Laws, it looks like more change is afoot.

At a meeting MAG had on Friday with the Dept for Transport (DfT), it transpires that the EU Commission has decided to further complicate the licensing laws which come in to effect on 19th January 2013.

There will be 4 categories of bike licence in January: AM (mopeds) A1 (up to 125cc) A2 (up to 47bhp/35kW) and A (everything else).

Under the third Driving Licence Directive (3DLD) however, the bikes learners could take their test on, were to be a little different. For example, although a cat A bike licence would be for anything over 47bhp, the bike for the test had to be at least 53.6bhp. 

The A2 category was more complicated (engine size/ power to weight etc) and the DSA was having difficulty deciding exactly which bikes fitted the bill, whether they’d accept big bikes restricted down, which restricter kit would do etc.
You may remember our news story some time ago about their definitive list of suitable machinery which hadn’t included any bikes made my Honda or Suzuki. To their credit, the DSA are doing their best to update this list as and when the manufacturers let them have details about which suitable bikes are in their ranges, but now the EU Commission have thrown a new spanner in the works.

Even more new rules will come into effect at the end of 2013 if they get their way.

For Category A minimum test bike requirements increase engine power from 40kW (53.6 bhp) to 50 kW (approx 67 bhp). There will also be a minimum weight of 180 kg unladen mass weight. The DfT understand from the EU Commission that this means ‘kerb weight’. The change means that the range of motorcycles available will reduce by an estimated 10% of vehicles listed by the DSA. In essence this means of course, that those training schools who have gone out and bought new machines for next year, having waited all that time fore the definitive list of what was suitable, may now have wasted their money.

The UK Government did not support this change at such a late stage and raised concerns about the impact this would have on the industry. However, they were in the minority seeking a longer period for implementation from the Commission, and they have not been able to secure any longer period than the end of 2013.

It is still possible the Commission’s plans will change as they are subject to EU Council and European Parliament approval and MAG will be working with the DfT to try and raise awareness among MEPs when we have fully clarified exactly what stage of the legislative procedure we are at.

The changes to the rules will decrease the minimum kW output for A2 motorcycles from 25kW (approx 33.5 bhp) to 20 KW (approx 27bhp) which will increase the range of motorcycles available for this class, which is a good thing.