Motorcycle Test Reported To Be In Crisis

December 9, 2010

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are fewer people taking their bike test since the new one was bought out but I do have issues with the way this is being reported.  Here is the article as it’s being reported online on the Motorcycle News website.

A crisis hitting the number of people taking the motorcycle test is even deeper than previously feared, latest figures show.

Eighteen months after a new Europe-wide test was introduced, the number of people taking it was still barely half the former level.

When bookings dropped drastically following the changeover last year, the Driving Standards Agency said it was temporary and demand would “settle at usual levels again in 2010/11”.

But new DSA figures point to a long-term decline.

In the 16 months leading up to the introduction of the new exam in April 2009, 130,498 people took the old test, a rate of 8156 a month.

But in the 18 months following the changeover, only 73,508 people completed the new test, 4083 a month and almost half the earlier rate.

The Government is conducting a review of the test, which was originally intended to reach conclusions by autumn.

Roads minister Mike Penning said: “The review of the motorcycle test is a top priority for me because I want to make sure that we have a test which prepares bikers properly for the road.

“We have been working with the motorcycle training industry and others to make sure that we are taking all views into account and we will report on findings as soon as possible.”

My problem is in the way these figures are being presented (sorry MCN).

As a lot of you know, the new test was originally scheduled to start in September 2008 but, because of bungling incompetance, so few of the new test centres were ready for use, the implementation of the test was put back about 6 months.  In the lead up to September 2008 thousands upon thousands of people decided to get their bike licence under the old test regime and so booked lessons and their test.  I should know,  I was one of them!!!  I took one look at the new test and thought “S*d that!!!”

During 2008, riding schools all over the country were inundated with trainees learning to ride, which definately skews the figures somewhat, as in a normal riding year fewer people would be taking their test.  Then the test was put back 6 months so that more of the new test centres could be made ready, and those who thought they had missed the original deadline were given a life line and once again the riding schools were booked solid, even though it was winter

According to the DSA  some 130,498 people took their test in the 18 months leading up to the change of test.  I’m pretty damn certain a sizeable number of those were riders who wanted to take the old style test and not the new one.

Now, since the new test started 18 months ago the DSA say that just 73,508 people have taken it, a drop of almost 50% on the previous figures.

BUT…… Seeing as the figures from September 2007 until April 2009 are hardly indicative of the number of people taking their bike test during a ‘normal’ 16 month period, I don’t see how they can be reliably compared with those from May 2009 up until late 2010.

Unless of course you’re attempting to make things look worse than they are 😉

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I Have A Big Lump In My Throat Tonight :-(

April 28, 2010

My BabyBlade has been on Ebay as she is up for sale and the auction ends tonight 😦

She has hit the reserve I set and pretty soon she will be going on to her new owner.. I feel quite sad about it really, she’s been a bloody brilliant little bike but after riding the Fireblade she was just way too small.

If I’m like this tonight, what on earth am I going to be like the day she actually goes 😦

My BabyBlade


Oh Wow :-)

March 21, 2010

I took my Fireblade out for her first proper run this afternoon after lowering the seat.. and my oh my 🙂

It’s so easy to ride, so smooth and effortless and I’m totally in love 🙂

I took it along some A roads, some round town roads (stopping for a coffee in Brackley) and then for a quick blat up the motorway, taking me home.  After my 400 I definately (hardly surprising really) noticed the increase in power.  I was quite happily cruising along in 3rd, enjoying the nice weather and the roads and glanced down at my speedo and was shocked to see I was doing 70mph!!! I only thought I was doing about 50.. oops 😉

I’m now going to keep a very close eye on the weather every day, good weather with no hint of rain means I’ll be taking the Fireblade to work, dodgy weather or even a hint of rain and I’ll be riding the 400 in.


Some Of The Funny Photos From Our Weekend

June 3, 2009

Ok.. So I got a bit camera happy at the weekend and once I got back home and was looking at the photos a few…. ermm.. comments came to mind 🙂

So here are a few more photos… ermm.. with captions!!! 🙂

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Dodgy Lookin' Bloke!

Spot The Label!

The Stig

Talking Welsh Bloke!

Yum yum

SSB's Handbag!!!!

smell of silence


Riding A Motorcycle Can Help You Stay Young!

March 5, 2009

On The Road I have often felt, in the last two years, that I wish I had learned to ride at a much younger age as I have missed out on so much fun.

And I’m not the only one to think this…

Look at how many ‘more mature’ people are learning to ride a motorcycle, and not just for the usual ‘mid-life crisis’ reasons.  These days it is so much cheaper as a form of transport, and with the amount of traffic on the roads building up like it is motorcycles can nip you through the traffic so much faster!

I really believe that in learning to ride I have discovered the ‘fountain of youth’, and a lovely lady called Gina, from the USA whom I know via a motorcycle forum, feels exactly the same way.

Now, we can’t be the only ones who feel this 🙂

And now there has been a study which may go some way to backing up our claim of finding the ‘fountain of youth’.  Apparently a Japanese scientist, Ryuta Kawashima, a confirmed motorcycle enthusiast, has done a study which showed that a riders brain is activated more than car drivers brains as riding requires increased awareness and may lead to ‘smart aging’ for riders.

Kawashima, the man behind the “Brain Training” software for console games, worked with Yamaha Motor Company, and set up a string of experiments with middle aged men to test his theory.

In some of the tests involved about 22 middle aged men who had motorcycle licences but who had not ridden regularly for the last 10 years.  Half the group was asked to keep using their cars and bicycles, while the other half was to resume riding a motorcycle for 2 months.  In cognitive function tests the group who rode the motorcycles were seen to have higher marks than those who drove cars!

So it looks as if riding a motorbike may be good for your brain!  How cool is that.. Not that I need another reason to ride though, just getting on my bike and riding off is enough to put a smile on my face and make my day 🙂


No Going Out On My Motorbike Today!

February 5, 2009

 After all the weather warnings of the last few days, and England shutting down all because of a butterfly farting somewhere and causing an inch of snow here.

It all cleared enough yesterday for me to be able to go out on my bike. WOOHOO 🙂

There weren’t any real weather warnings last night but I reckon the butterfly must have had beans for dinner last night, as we woke up to this little lot this morning 😦

I Don't Think I Will Be Taking The Bike Out Today!

I Don't Think I Will Be Taking The Bike Out Today!

We had more snow overnight that the last few days put together, so my motorbike will be staying tucked up in the garage!

Be careful out there if you do have to go out.


2009 Motorcycle Test – Test Can Now Be Split

February 3, 2009

Motorcycle L-Plate It has been announced by Jim Fitzpatrick, our Roads Minister, that from 27th April 2009 learner motorcyclists will be able to take the two parts of the new 2009 motorcycle tests on different days if they want to. 

This means that they will be able to take the new manoeuvres part of the test at one of the specially built test centres, and then take the on road section of the test at an existing test centre, probably closer to home, is they choose.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) seriously messed up last year with the building of these new test centres, as not enough of them were completed in time for the original launch in October 2008. 

Personally I reckon they know there won’t be enough of the new test centre’s open by March 30th 2009 (Why am I not surprised?)and this is the way it is being dealt with this time.

Instead of clogging up the test centres, and having the examiners do both parts of the test on each appointment, I’m wondering if they will ‘advise’ people to do the second part of the test at the centre they would have had it at before the new test came in. 

At the end of the day I still don’t believe the new test launch is going to be smooth, if anything I feel sorry for anyone looking at taking their test after the cut off date.  I reckon it’s going to be a nightmare!  I can’t see how they can postpone the new test launch yet again, without looking like inept idiots!

There are still huge area’s of the country not covered by one of these new test centres, remember new riders were not ‘supposed’ to have to ride more than 20 miles to their motorbike test.  Some are still going to have to ride a lot further and personally I really feel for them.  Imagine those poor riders who have only just learned to ride and are having to go 40 miles through rush hour traffic to take their test early in the day! Its madness!!

Talk about a baptism by fire!

While rider groups have welcomed the news announced yesterday, they, like me, are still concerned about the distances some people will have to travel.

It’s not going to be fun for some of the new riders out there!

 

Please check out my other entries about the 2009 Motorcycle Test

Countdown To The New Motorcycle test.. Again!

New Motorcycle Test Centres – Updated List

Motorcycle Tests To Be Cancelled On Cold Days