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DSA to require ‘minimum standard’ for bike test clothing

Latest news from the DSA/Dft is that minimum clothing standards will apply on the bike test from 1 July 2011.

In a DfT press release dated 16 Jun 2011, candidates were informed that the DSA are ‘reminding’ learner motorcyclists to wear suitable clothing when they take their Module One ‘off-road’ and Module Two ‘on-road’ motorcycle tests.

Whilst there’s already been a predictable response from some riders who object to any form of compulsion, most motorcycle training schools already insist on a minimum standard of clothing before training commences, and often loan out gloves and jackets.

The new requirements are in line with advice the DSA already publish, both as part of CBT and in their publications, and the intent is clearly to avoid a heavy financial burden to new, cash-strapped, riders.

But, says the press release,

“DSA’s examiners won’t ignore or condone riding a motorcycle or scooter while wearing unsuitable clothing. Tests won’t go ahead if you are inappropriately dressed.

Rather confusingly, the press release continues to say that:

“where possible, examiners will give you the chance to find suitable clothing within the time available.”

Presumably, that means borrowing your instructors gloves and boots! I can’t imagine they’d take you down to the local bike shop!

Guide to suitable clothing

The DSA indicate that the following would serve as an indication of the minimum level of clothing acceptable:

* motorcycle boots * sturdy footwear or boots that provide support and ankle protection * textile or leather motorcycle trousers * heavy denim trousers * heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath * textile or leather motorcycle jacket * motorcycle gloves

The following are examples of clothing that are not acceptable:

* lightweight training shoes * canvas basket ball trainers * any form of clothing with areas of exposed skin * shell suit or lightweight tracksuit * distressed ripped jeans * lightweight fleece or hoody * no gloves or skiing gloves

So why this change of policy, when the same information has been available and this clothing recommended for nearly 20 years?

My guess is that this will almost certainly have come about because someone has crashed on the Module One part of the test, injured themselves, and sued the DSA for the resulting injuries – I knew at least one case for damages that was outstanding.

No doubt it was noted that the DSA did not have a “minimum acceptable standard” protective clothing policy for learners in place.

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