Takes a deep breath
I can appreciate that feelings are running high here and that I'm probably about to do the internet equivalent of jumping straight into a tank of piranhas.
However, I'm not adequately convinced by either side of the argument yet. There has been quite a bit of discussion about the swerve test and the low pass rate for the Mod 1 test with the inference being that the two are linked. Unfortunately I don't expect that the stats exist to adequately explain why the pass rate is so low, but I'm not sure that the swerve test is the problem. In the absence of stats I can only fall back on my own experience and on the evidence of my own eyes.
It took me three attempts to pass the Mod 1. On the first two attempts I failed for putting a foot down on the slow speed sections and completed both the swerve and the E-stop without incident. All of the other candidates from the same school who failed did so for similar reasons. While we were there we saw people failing because they locked wheels on the E-stop or failed to make the target speed. The only person I know who failed the swerve did so because of his own error. He'd been practicing swerving to one side and so muscle memory took over. As soon as he realised he'd swerved the wrong way it was too late to correct and he missed the gate.
I'm not sure what to make of this whole discussion. I can see the point of being tested on your ability to swerve and countersteer because it's an important skill that can save your life. I didn't find it difficult, though I'm sure there are candidates who do, but it wouldn't be much of a test if it wasn't hard. Whether it makes us better riders and less likely to be killed remains to be seen.
But I do wonder how much of the opposition is founded on ignorance. I feel it would be instructive for more experienced riders to take a mock Mod 1 and report back on how it went. Incidents happen on test and always have done. I'm loathe to take a small sample of incidents as being indicative of a trend, especially when this poor girl's injuries were likely to have had more to do with the failure of her helmet.
As I said, I'm not sure what to make of all of this. As an experienced rider I can see the logic in both sides of the argument, but as a pragmatist I want to know all the relevant facts before coming to a decision. Too much of this is based on emotion. I want to know categorically that the swerve is unsafe before I lend my support to any campaign. Equally I would want to know that we're not robbing future generations of bikers of the chance to learn a skill that could just save their lives one day.
OK, you can all shoot me down now.