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STOP PRESS – Transport Subcommittee releases report on the new Motorcycle test

Suspicions that the Transport sub-committee’s report wasn’t exactly complimentary to the DSA or the DfT has been confirmed.

As yet I’ve only read the Conclusions and Recommendations, but I have already have the following comments:

“5. The off-road motorcycle test effectively bars candidates from adapting their riding to reflect the prevailing weather, road and other circumstances affecting their stopping distances. This cannot be appropriate, and we urge the Government to amend the regulations on this point as soon as possible. We note that it is the Government’s implementation rather than the EU Directive which has caused this problem. It should therefore be straightforward to rectify. (Paragraph 29)”

This is what just about every experienced motorcycle instructor in the country commentated on – that every bit of advice in the book is that you slow down / leave longer for stopping when surface conditions are poor. Why on earth you’re expected to do the swerve in the same distance at the same speed in the wet is beyond comprehension.

I haven’t read the full report, but it’s a shame they didn’t flag up in the conclusions the lack of mechanical sympathy required to get a 125 up to speed in the available space – a further dispensation to drop the speed 10kph to 40kph for the swerve test would make sense on the smaller machines.

“11. The voluntary registration of motorcycle instructors should now be made mandatory. (Paragraph 61)”

What the Lord giveth… etc. etc..

At the moment, I am NOT subject to the whims of the DSA as an advanced instructor, and long may it stay that way. Whilst I am not concerned about peer review, the last thing I want is for my training to be subject to the autocrats at the DSA.

“…the failure speedily to rectify problems with the test booking service also served as an irritant to an industry already suffering the inevitable spikes in demand for training and tests either side of the introduction of a new test regime.”

Understatement of the year! Booking tests has always been a PITA and the new “system” has led to further chaos, with Module 2 tests being available with no candidates to put forward because there was no Module 1 availability. A temporary solution would be to allow candidates to take the two modules in any order until the balance has been worked out.

“The DSA must be prepared to make adjustments to the test design if required, and it must work closely with the industry to ensure that candidates only attempt the test when they are genuinely ready for it. This requires a culture shift, and the DSA must help and encourage the industry in every way possible to achieve this. (Paragraph 26)”

Without seeing the full contents, this particular conclusion worries me. There is currently NO obligation to take training – that’s likely to change with the 3rd licence directive, but at the moment there’s nothing that prevents a learner from doing CBT, jumping on a 125 and presenting themselves to the Module One off-road test.

The conclusion that should have been drawn is that if learners with no further training (but with legitimate practical riding experience) can’t pass it EITHER Module One is too tough, OR that CBT is inadequate to teach basic machine skills. You can find the full report here.

Thanks to FJS for flagging this up for me!

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