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 😉


Bike Girl – THE Site For Girls!

December 3, 2010

I just have to pass on the news.. BIKE GIRL has recently undergone a revamp and is now sporting a fresh, vibrant new look 😀

Bike Girl

I’ve been a member since I started riding almost 4 years ago and in that time the girls have been supportive and helpful during both the good times, and those when things didn’t go quite to plan!

The new site is chock full of articles covering things from choosing the right bike, reviews on riding gear and circuit guides for those who want to go to a track.

The growing gallery shows many of us with our bikes ;-), the news and events section will cover all things important in the biking calender.

The forum itself is where we girls discuss all things biking – falling off (yep it’s happened to me), learning to ride, where to go for lessons, riding gear, and anything else you can think of..

So if you’re a girl and either ride already or are thinking of ‘going for it’ then why don’t you drop by and join us 😀  Just click on the image above and you will be taken straight there.


Carole Nash Motorcycle Live – Day 3

November 30, 2010

Day 3’s coverage from MCN is about getting out there and taking up riding if you’ve never done it before.


Huge Sigh of Relief In The UK

October 21, 2009

Apparently, in response to an online petition on the No. 10 website, Gordon Brown has stated that the UK Government will not be looking at reducing the power output of motorcycles to 100 hp, as happens in France.  The French Government is of the opinion that reducing the power output on any bike to 100 hp will result in fewer fatalities. 

Hmm.. A 15 hp 125cc bike will still kill someone if things go badly wrong!  

Thankfully it doesn’t look as if those in power in the UK agree with them.  In a statement, them in charge said that while it supported any measure to reduce deaths and serious injuries, "each initiative needs to be considered on its merits and the relative costs and benefits measured".

The statement went on to say "The Department for Transport is not aware of any evidence to support the introduction of a maximum engine power limit for motorcycle as an effective measure to reduce accidents, and so does not believe that limits on the maximum power of motorcycles are necessary in the UK.

What’s needed is better training, and I’m not just talking about rider training here, but car drivers as well.  How many of us have accidents which are solely the fault of a car driver?  How many of us hear the immortal words “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. 

We on bikes know how vulnerable we are and the vast majority of us try our damndest to make sure we don’t end up as a roadside casualty.  But car drivers are a whole other thing, cocooned in their metal boxes, they don’t really understand the vulnerability of less well protected road users. 

In recent years the motorcycle test has been overhauled in an effort to make us safer riders!  How about this for an idea, I know loads of riders think it’s a good one 🙂 How about if all new car drivers had to ride a moped for a few months to teach them road awareness before they ever sat their bums on a car seat?  Would that make them more aware of us riders..

I can pretty much guarantee it would!!

Without experiencing the things we riders face, sometimes on a daily basis, how on earth will car drivers ever understand what its like to feel vulnerable!

Will it ever happen?  Probably not :-( 

Bikers are in the minority and easier to target 😦


GirlsBike2 Trackday At Rockingham – 2nd August 2009

June 4, 2009

GirlsBike2, in conjunction with No Limits Trackdays,  have organised a charity trackday on the 2nd August 2009 at Rockingham.  All proceeds will go to Breast Cancer research.  It is open to girls and their partners and will have a Novice, Intermediate & Fast groups.

Priced at £129 the day includes free instruction, which is especialy good if it is your first time at a track 🙂

So if you fancy a trackday which won’t break the bank why not give them a ring..


New Motorcycle Test Under Fire After Series Of Accidents

May 27, 2009

Motorcycle L-Plate The government and the DSA is under increasing pressure to rethink the new motorcycle test after a series of accidents in it’s first few weeks.

On the very first day one young man, in South Yorkshire, suffered a broken arm after crashing while trying to slow in the wet immediately following the new ‘swerve’ manoeuvre, and since then 14 more accidents have been reported.  There was one additional, as yet unreported, accident yesterday when a young lady training at my old bike school also fell off doing the same manoeuvre.  Luckily she was not hurt but was shaken up and bruised.

Instructors, and bikers who have emailed the BBC, have said that trying to perform such a manoeuvre at 31.2 mph (50 kph), while possibly suffering from test nerves, is dangerous, especially when performed on a wet surface.

While the test would probably be fine when done in the dry, new riders who may be tempted to brake and swerve at the same time are likely to come a cropper when trying to do this in the wet.  Bikers are taught very early on in their training that braking when not going in a straight line is a BAD thing to do, and even though the trainees taking their tests are undoubtedly taught the same thing, test nerves may be getting the better of them.

Dexterity Motorcycle Training in Kent tried the test out two years before it was implemented and had this to say about the swerve manoeuvre

The swerve/avoidance test – just simply getting up to the required speed (as on my first run) will catch some out, others will swerve and brake too soon and too hard simultaneously with the front brake and bin it.

Somewhat prophetic words I think, considering what is happening on the tests now.

Jeff Stone of the British Motorcycle Federation had this to say

“There is no real argument with the actual test, but the DSA really do have to take note of ‘real world’ conditions.

“A brake and swerve manoeuvre on a wet road is fraught with danger for even an experienced motorcyclist, so there needs to be a safer option for inclement weather conditions.”

and Paul Turner of the Motorcycle Action Group added

“We don’t mind improvements in the test which will make for better riders, but putting people at risk during the test is ludicrous.”

Expecting novice riders to perform the manoeuvre at the same speed whether it is sunny or chucking it down is going against the instruction we are given as learner riders.  All riders are taught to ride according to the prevailing conditions, something which helps us to stay as safe as we can out on the roads.  We are taught to slow down in the wet, and increase stopping distances, but the DSA is overturning the training and asking new riders to hammer it coming out of a bend towards the swerve part of the test!

Phil Woolley, 28, of Liverpool, tells how he failed the test after completing the swerve slightly below the required speed.  He reckons the size of the test centre makes it difficult to get up to 50 kph without accelerating unsafely.  He says

“Do it at a controlled speed and you will almost certainly fail,” he said. “Or you just floor it as hard as you can and there is a good chance you will pass, but also a risk you will come off.”

Boy, am I glad I passed my test in February 2008, before the new test came into force.  I wouldn’t want to be tackling the new test.

Original Story


Motorcycle Safety Campaign – Funny, But Informative

May 21, 2009

I came across these today and thought I would pop them on here..

I found them on The Motorcycle Industry Association’s website and thought they conveyed the information in a way which makes you giggle, while still getting the point across..

Just click on the thumbnails to be taken to the larger images

How To Avoid Problems At Junctions Small

Hazards Along The Road Small

Road Surfaces Small

Diesel And Liquid Spills Small

Damaged And Repaired Road Surfaces Small

Traffic Calming Measures Small

Apparently there are more to come and I will add those as they appear on the site.

Images courtesy of Motorcycle Industry Association