National Motorcyclists Council calls for Motorcycle Test changes

After leaving the EU at the start of this year, the National Motorcyclists Council thinks the time is now to rethink motorcycle testing in the UK


MOTORCYCLE testing in the UK needs a shake. That’s the sentiment of a paper published by the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) earlier this month. With the UK’s exit from the European Union at the start of this year, the NMC claims there is no better time to have a rethink.

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The UK’s motorcycle testing laws are still closely aligned with those found in the EU despite the UK’s exit from the common market. We currently still follow directive 3DLD in the UK, even though that ceased to apply in the UK on January 31st, 2021.

The NMC is proposing that the current motorcycle testing regulations be scrutinised, to see if they can be better aligned with the wants and needs of UK motorcyclists. Its aim is to make the current licencing policy clearer and easier to access. Obviously, any changes that need to be put into place need to be done with the primary goal of improving road safety standards – and not simply cutting corners.

The NMC is therefore proposing to improve the CBT but including theory and hazard perception elements into the course. It is also proposing the extremely sensible step of incentivising training. Currently, those riding a lower capacity or power output machine on a specific licence (CBT or A2 for instance) must effectively restart their training once they want to upgrade their licence. The NMC is pushing to do away with this ‘stop and reset’ process and instead wants to introduce training upgrades to bridge licence gaps.

Welcome news for all learner motorcycle riders is that it also wishes to ditch the two-part test (Mod 1 and Mod 2) in favour of a return to a single test event. The benefits of this could be huge for the end-user. It would of course mean less outlay for riders, less time off work completing the test and potentially a higher pass rate thanks to a less stressful overall experience.

With the changes mentioned above, the A2 licence could be basically scrapped, with all riders (over 21 – that’s another proposed change) passing their A licence from the start, and then building up their experience and licence after one year of riding.

This does sound like a good thing from a safety standpoint – with riders gaining much more experience on the way up the categories – although it could also block some riders from jumping from CBT right the way up to a full A licence.

There is much more in the proposal than just this, and to be honest, most of it is good, very good. You only have to speak to a motorcycle training school to understand how frustrating it is to them, and they have to deal with this every day. I once explained the motorcycle training journey to my non-riding friend, from CBT to A2, To A. He didn’t have a clue what the hell I was talking about. And he could be a potential future motorcyclist.

If that’s not proof that things might need a tweak, I don’t know what is.