Ice denies hundreds last chance to take old bike test

By Steve Farrell -

General news

 22 January 2013 13:28

Ice and snow denied hundreds of riders their last chance to get a bike licence before new rules came in on Saturday.

The Driving Standards Agency said 514 on-road riding tests were cancelled between Monday and Thursday of last week. 

Because the new rules raised the minimum riding ages, the setback will mean some people having to wait years longer to get their hands on the motorcycle they wanted.  

Until January 19, anyone over 21 could take Direct Access, a single test to immediately qualify for unrestricted bikes. But the minimum age has now risen to 24.

So 21-23-year olds whose Direct Access test was cancelled last week will not be able to rebook the same test. Instead they will now only be able to take the new so-called ‘A2’ test, granting them a licence for machines up to 47bhp. They will then have to wait two years – or until they are 24 – to take another test for unrestricted bikes.   

Riders aged 17-18 whose standard motorcycle test was cancelled will suffer the greatest setback. Last week they would have gained a full licence, albeit restricted to 33bhp. After two years that restriction would have automatically elapsed, allowing them to ride more powerful machines with no further tests.

But now they can only take the ‘A1’ test, gaining them a full licence for bikes up to 125cc. They must then wait two years, or until they are 19, before taking the ‘A2’ test. Finally they must wait two more years before taking a further test for unrestricted bikes.

Not everyone will suffer. Last week, riders aged 19-20 who took the standard motorcycle test would have got a licence restricted to 33bhp. This week they can get a 47bhp one. However, the 33bhp licence would have automatically upgraded to unrestricted after two years; the 47bhp one will not.

The DSA said 338 of the cancelled on-road tests were for riders aged 17-24.

A DSA spokesman said: “We’re sorry for anyone whose test has been cancelled due to the recent bad weather.

“We wrote to trainers last year to make them aware that any tests cancelled and rescheduled after January 19 would fall under the new licence rules. We suggested in December that they prioritise tests for customers under the age of 24 to help minimise the impact of any cancellations.

“Thanks to the trainers’ help, only a small number of people have been affected by this.”