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Steve Farrell  says:

First new test candidate crashes

One of the first learner riders to take a new motorcycle test crashed and broke his arm in the middle of the examination. In a chaotic start to the new test regime, a second candidate crashed while a source at the test site was on the phone to MCN telling us about the earlier accident.   Riding instructor Graham Woodcock blamed...

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  • Posted 6 years ago (28 April 2009 14:55)

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Apr 09

Posts: 12

crusha says:

Sorry to say you have failed

Anyway MR DL196 you would have failed the test because you hit the cone and if it had been a real life scenario you would have lost your kneecap because a car is a lot harder and higher than a rubber cone. Mind you, with all your experience , you probably would have seen the car two miles away and told your trainees look out for mr numpty at the jct who hasn't seen you because he's wearing his reading glasses and everythings a blur or he's on his mobile,or he's having an argument with his missus, or he's late for an appointment and well it's only a bike I can easily get out before he gets near     OH  !!!!!!  SHIT!!!!  CRUNCH. WE teach them to react early and see the car driver and plan ahead, not swerve   or take avoiding action because if you have to do that then your not riding defensively enough and haven't anticipated the unexpected. A swerve or an avoiding manouvere is late planning and poor forward vision that's why learners have to do the HAZARD PERCEPTION TEST or is that redundant now because we can SWERVE   (sorry take avoiding action).

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Jul 04

Posts: 20

ken_haylock says:


My understanding is that there is no standard specified for the surface upon which the test will be conducted, and no standard for the tyres or the handling of the bike that must be used beyond that they are road legal. Plus you have to assume that some of the riders are not up to the job - it's a test which some people are expected to fail. And even people up to the standard may well be knackered after riding over 100 miles in the pissing rain to get to the test centre before they've passed their test. A heavy cruiser on cold (they will be) teflon cheng-shin tyres on a surface that provides poor grip in the wet (for instance a car-park with worn tarmac that has been used all week for decades by cars that leak fluids, and used as an MPTC at weekends) is a recipe for expensive carnage, I'd say. 

If the surface was guaranteed to be shell grip, offering reliable, consistent high grip levels in all conditions, with well specified drainage etc, then the risk of highside crashes from loss of grip or even hamfisted control inputs would be massively reduced. As a general rule, if I'm not confident in the grip available to me, I slow down until I am. In a test situation, that option isn't open to riders, they just have to go for it and trust their tyres, the surface and their skills. The penalty for failing a test shouldn't be possible death or serious injury, or even 'just' expensive damage!

One other point - I'm a fat b*****d, I wouldn't fancy taking that test on many 15bhp 125's, I'd never get up to 50kph in the space available, even wringing its neck like a bastard.

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Jan 09

Posts: 42


Very Worried

What worries me about the clip of the instructor is this.

That instructor rides that bike  maybe 40 hours a week so he should be an expert on it, in trying to pass a basic test he clips a cone, maybe if he had been an inch further over he would have come off.

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Nov 05

Posts: 41

cascadeair says:

Compensation for stupid laws

The government authorized this new test, and the testing center allowed it to occur in appalling conditions. They must be held responsible. Perhaps a solicitor would volunteer to sue the government for damages, pain, and suffering, and force someone to make an intelligent decision. I wouldn't expect a new rider taking the test to know his limits yet, so they should not be held responsible. This whole EU testing at speeds above those legal for most British roads is an absolute travesty. Another example of a government out of control with their ego's writing checks other peoples bodies can't cash.

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Apr 09

Posts: 10

groovysteve says:

Re DL196

I agree that the quality of training given at some schools need improving BUT DL196 forgets that students are not required to take any training apart from CBT before applying for the test . Open ended training is fine providing students have the deep pockets to keep paying for training. If trainer booking becomes a thing of the past then it should be because the test is harder, not more dangerous.

If DL 196 is an experienced instructor he will have had students that were excellent in training but fell apart on the test. The point is this is not putting your foot down on a U turn, this is a highside or an impact with a chainlink fence. The risk of injury is much too high.

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Apr 09

Posts: 6

DL196 says:


If anyone has missed the point then it's you not me.  You illustrate the point yourself when talking about  "people who have had VERY LITTLE TIME ON THE ROAD IN COMPARISON". That is the problem, all too often a learner is only offered a one size fits all intensive training package. The test is booked before any assessment of ability has been made, if the trainee isn't up to the required standard by test day then they will still be presented for  the test anyway with the mindset  of "give it a go, you never know you might get lucky" I know because I have seen it time and time again at schools where I have worked previously.

Far too many test candidates are presented who are woefully under prepared by their ATB (not all - there are some good ones). If they are not properly prepared for this new test then the results can be disastrous.

I agree that adrenaline affects different people in different ways but a well prepared candidate is much less anxious than someone who has no confidence in their own abilities because they have not had enough practice.

In the DSA video the machine used wasn't a moped incidentally, it was a 125 (a honda dylan as I recall) and the high speed exercises were done at 50kph (without screaming the balls off the machine)

Run off areas would make no difference to the test, the avoidance cones make the candidate steer away from the fence into the manouevering area, this is where they are falling off, no one as far as I'm aware has crashed trying to avoid riding into the fence.

I don't see how "poor planning and forethought by the DSA and the government " comes into it, the legislation for this has been around since 2000, however many schools as late as last week hadn't got a scooby how they were going to change their training, how many days an intensive course should be or how much it should cost. The  organised schools have had their plans in place for a long time and this is reflected in their results.

Why should leeway be given because it is raining? Don't motorcyclists go over 31mph in the rain? I do and so does every other rider on the road. If an emergency situation arose on a 40mph limit road it's good to know that you have the skills to deal with it. The old test had far too many candidates getting away with an unrealistically slow speed on the emergency stop. How is that preparing them for real world riding?

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Apr 09

Posts: 6

DL196 says:


Re your second post, that's not me in the youtube clip, I have no idea who he is or where his school is & I don't want people beating him up because they think it's me!

The contact shown in the video with the cone would not have been a fail. You need to talk to your CBT manager about the rules of assessment. The contact shown would have been at most a rider fault. It only occured because the rider was going so quick in the conditions, had he been going at 50/51 there would have been no contact in the first place. To get a serious fault the cone would have had to be properly displaced.

I agree with your point about teaching proper planning, thats a given but the avoidance excercise is designed to give the rider another option in an emergency, instead of always going for the brakes steering out of trouble is a possibility. Have you never had a myopic car driver try to change into your lane on a motorway  / dual carriageway?  If you were in the fast lane and it happened to you  would you try to steer away from the car  or do an emergency  stop? I know which one I'd go for.

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Apr 09

Posts: 3

BernAdams says:

New test

In response to DL196’s comments.

The new test has always been contentious and both my own ATB Camrider, and the Motorcycle Rider Training Association have been advising the DSA on the potential hazards of the new test since its first discussions in late 1999.

DL196 presents a rather sensationalised and negative opinion of the training industry. I think it important to point out that there is a vast majority of exceptionally professional and altruistic instructors who have dedicated their lives to the furtherance of motorcycling and road safety. My own company Camrider was born out of a County Council road safety scheme and carries forward all the aim and values that any learner biker would hope for.

Good ATBs will always create appropriate lesson plans for a new rider. Learning on the whole is not test orientated; however that is precisely what the customer is hoping for when they book. It is the ATB’s job to provide the best possible training within the available budget the customer is willing to spend. Camrider for example always try to spread the training over two or three weeks so as to allow time to add training into the lesson plan or to give the candidate access to a hire bike.

The aim for the instructors at Camrider and the majority of ATB’s is to produce a safe well rounded motorcyclist, able to pass their test at any test centre they present at. Of course there are poor ATB’s and these need to be much more vigorously pursued. So I would agree with DL196 in the aspect that DSA has little teeth to pursue the rogue minority of poor training schools.

On the issue of the new test. There was an extensive period of consultation where all options were considered. The vast majority of trainers were of the opinion that an avoidance manoeuvre of any sort that would be conducted at a minimum of 50 Kph had to be completed off road. The actual implementation the DSA have brought in has been contentious. Camrider and many ATB’s are of the firm opinion it needs to be moderated and allowances made for wet weather.

DSA have tested the new off road module to good degree, but what they could not test was the reactions and nerves of a new rider on test. This is an always will be a difficult time for a rider, and Instructors routinely see people who are demonstrably very competent whilst under training, go to pieces with the nerves induced by the test. Couple this with a requirement to ensure a minimum speed whilst approaching an hazard to swerve around is likely to cause accidents.

Feedback I have for the new test from the seven centres we operate from has been in the whole positive. There is a need to change the avoidance manoeuvre and to do so immediately. I have already written to the DSA’s Chief Executive and will be meeting with her and senior DSA representatives at the end of the month for the regular meeting held with Camrider, MAG, BMF, MRTA, MCI etc.

The new test has a very positive objective in testing the ability of a candidate to swerve and thus their ability to appreciate steering dynamics and counter steer. When the new test is correctly implemented it will be a major step forward in the training and testing regime for new riders if it meets its objectives of requiring specific lessons with check test on the area of cornering and hazard avoidance.

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Apr 09

Posts: 6

DL196 says:

Ken Haylock

MPTCs have a dedcated manouevering area that is only used for motorcycle testing. The area has been laid with good quality tarmac and then the top surface is blasted off using a hydrostripping machine. The grip level is better  than normal road tarmac.

The temporary test centres are not to the same spec as the MPTCs but they have all been checked by DSA & are checked before use to make sure they are not contaminated. Some of the tempoary sites have had resurfacing done to make sure they were a good enough standard.

I don't believe that the crashes that are taking place are highsides, if they were then the riders involved would have to be very hamfisted. It's more likely that they panicked & braked at the wrong point or excessively.

You make a good point about tyre choices / condition of machines but this is the responsibility of the rider, if they are happy to ride the machine on the road on cheap nasty tyres then thats up to them .

You would have to be very lardy not to make the speed requirement on a 125, I saw an examiner demonstrating the test on an XL125, he did it easily & he was 18 stone (by his own admission)

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Jan 09

Posts: 42


Problems with the test

The problems that I have with the new bike test are

We are told that it had to be bought in because of Europe, I can not find any other
Country in Europe that has bought it in, can anyone throw more light on this.

If we are ruled by European law why do we still drive on the left and use MPH

To save the risk of test failure for going to slowly candidates have to be able to do at least 55 kmh through the speed trap to allow a for a margin of error on the test and remember they may have a 100 mile round trip to take it.

The steel vertical railings around the test area are the most dangerous surroundings you can have for a motorcyclist, can you imagine an arm or foot catching the railing.

There is no run off area in event of a mechanical problem

The test is conducted with cold tyres and candidates are not allowed to ride around the pad at the start.

The trainees have to be taught to scream the guts out of a bike because the run from the bend to the speed trap is way too short

There is not enough room for error when closing the throttle after the speed trap, just 2 seconds late and the candidate is travelling towards the far fence quickly, if they hit the far fence they will go over the handlebars hit the fence and have a very high chance of breaking their neck.

These problems are serious enough but the most serious are these.

To pass the new test we are being forced against our better judgment as instructors to teach new riders to.
Scream the guts out of a bike in the lower gears
Swerve violently
Go faster than they are comfortable with around a bend on super sticky race track type tarmac which has been scrubbed and controlled so as not to have any oil or contaminates on them.
Can you imagine the roads when these people have passed their tests?
They will be screaming away from lights
Banking the bike over and going around bends much too fast (except the roads do not have a controlled surface and instead have diesel spills ect.)
But the main problem is the first time the new rider see’s something in the road such as a small pothole or even a drain or a crisp packet then their instinct from the training is to swerve suddenly if they are lucky hitting the curb if unlucky head on into a lorry.

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