Bike test numbers plummet

New rider numbers tumble following licence rule changes

JUST-RELEASED figures reveal the number of new riders taking a practical motorcycle test has dropped by around a third following changes to licence rules in January 2013.

During the 2012/13 period, some 66,050 people took the ‘module 1’ practical test, while 65,128 took ‘module 2’. During the equivalent period in 2013/14, that’s dropped to 46,263 candidates for module 1 and 43,475 candidates for module 2.

The changes make it impossible for people under the age of 24 to get direct access to full-power bikes, and for under-19s to ride anything bigger than a 125. Unsurprisingly, the number of young riders getting into motorcycling has been particularly hit.

Looking at module 1, during 2012/2013 some 3,294 17-year-olds took the test. In 2013/14, only 353 16-17-year-olds took module 1.

It’s the same story for 18-year-olds, with 2,787 tests in 2012/13, down to 151 in 2013/14.

The drop is slightly less for 19-year-olds, who can directly access ‘A2’ bikes under the new rules. For that group the number fell from 2,532 tests in 2012/13 to 1,377 in 2013/14.

For riders over 24, the number to take a module 1 test fell by less, from 2,563 in 2012/13 to 2,396 in 2013/14.

The figures for module 2 paint a similar picture.

While there was an overall spike in the number of tests during 2012-2013 as riders rushed to get a licence before the rule changes, the overall drop still appears to be significant.

In 2010/11, the total number of  module 1 practical tests was 57,711, up from 50,823 in 2009-10. In 2011/12 it was 59,594 and in 2012/13 it spiked to 66,050, before plunging to 46,263 during the last 12 months.

Module 2 rates show a more significant peak in the years prior to the law changes, starting at 37,914 in 2009/10, going to 49,645 in 2010-11, 57,911 in 2011/12 and 65,128 in 2012/13. The 2013/14 figure of 43,475 is higher than the 2009/10 numbers, but represents a big decrease compared to the previous year.