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IAM: New motorcycle licence rules could have 'backfired'

Advanced driving group says licence rules may need looking at again

NEW motorcycle licence rules could have 'backfired' by encouraging young riders to remain learners instead of taking a test, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has said.

The IAM says figures showing a drastic decline in under-19s taking a test are 'cause for concern' because deaths have also risen since new licence rules were introduced. 

Under the new rules, introduced in January last year, under-19s cannot ride anything bigger than a 125 even if they pass a motorcycle test. Before the rule change they could get a licence for a bigger bike by taking a test.

Government figures released last week show that in the year 2012-2013, 3,333 18-year-olds completed the practical motorcycle test while in 2013-2014 only 216 did. 

Separate figures show rider deaths rose slightly, by 1% in 2013 compared to the previous year, while all motorcycle casualties fell 3%.  

Tim Shallcross, the IAM's Head of Technical Policy, said: 'That, coupled with the huge fall in people taking the test, indicates there is some cause for concern.

'So we would certainly expect the Driving Standards Agency to be monitoring this to see whether the new rules, which were intended to improve safety, are in fact dissuading people from taking their test.

'If it turns out that they are, then it’s backfired and it needs to be looked at again.'

A spokeswoman for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said: 'The changes were introduced as part of European legislation aimed at improving road safety by staging access to more powerful bikes subject to competence, age and experience.'

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