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Learner drivers allowed on motorways, but what about riders?

There's a new ruling is to ensure that learner drivers know how to use motorways safely

AS OF MIDNIGHT on Sunday, learner drivers in the UK have been allowed on motorways, provided they’re accompanied by an approved driving instructor and in a car fitted with dual controls.

This means that your 17-year-old sibling who still struggles to drag themselves out of bed every morning could soon be taking on the M25. Scary, huh?

But what does this mean for bikers?

Well, firstly, motorcyclists aren’t party to this new legislation, meaning that motorways are still out of bounds until you’ve ditched the L-plates.

MCIA Director of Safety and Training, Karen Cole, says the reason behind this is because a motorcycle instructor has no control over their student’s bike.

“The new ruling for learner car drivers requires the motorway lesson to take place in a dual control car. There is no equivalent for riders, as learner riders are generally taught at a ratio of two pupils for one instructor, which means it just wouldn’t be safe,” she commented.

“I’ve canvassed the opinion of several instructors on this matter and the ones I’ve spoken to agree that motorway lessons for riders are an excellent idea, but are best taken once the rider is competent enough to pass a full licence.”

The idea behind the new ruling is to ensure that newly-passed drivers know how to use motorways safely. The lessons won’t be compulsory, as there remains no motorway section in the driving test.

But questions have been raised as to whether learner drivers pose a threat to other motorway users.

Theoretically, they shouldn’t any more than on a dual carriageway as the speed limits are the same. But adding two more lanes into the mix will certainly make things tricky.

Cole thinks allowing learners on a motorway in a controlled environment will benefit other road users, commenting: "If new drivers are better prepared for motorway driving then that will benefit all road users, including motorcyclists.  Going on to a motorway for the first time in a dual control car with an experienced instructor is less of a threat to other road users than going on for the first time on your own."

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