The ridiculous M1 test

Published: 02 July 2009

With regard the new bike test, I have 'attempted' my module 1 test today and failed for clipping the blue cone on the avoidance manoeuver.

Through all my training, I have been confident and in control and have not expeienced any problems and am 'gutted' to be asked to leave the test centre for this infraction.

While I understand the reasoning behind this particular exercise, i.e. avoiding an obstacle that pulls out unexpectedly probably a car, I cannot for the life of me relate the exercise to a real situation. For one, it is not realistic to be accelerating in short a short space to the potential and developing hazard.

Then, to have to navigate through such a narrow gap to force the swerve is so far from reality, it is nothing more than a distraction. And then, in reality, if the vehicle pulling into your path was creeping, you would have plenty of warning to take action, and if quickly, you would simply not have time to react.

The other objection, is that if that actually was a car, I would not have 'clipped it' with a gnats privates as I did the cone, as I would be concentrating on the actual hazard and not concentrating on rolling off the throttle and braking to get the front wheel into a ridiculous box down the road.

I am curious why you have to aim for this box, is there going to be a new police initiative to control bike riders so vigourously that they will soon have to demonstrate jumping through flaming rings, in case they join a circus.

If the government and DSA are sereious about improving road safety throgh training, then surely it follows that this manoeuver would be null and void if the vehicles were more aware of bikes from the off. There seems to be little parity in the training of car drivers and bike drivers when it comes to responsible and defensive driving and general road awareness and road craft.

This is apparent when you take your theory test. I was worried about the hazard perception and was simply told tht'you bikers never have a problem with it, you'll be fine.' Is this because 'bikers' are trained from the off to ride defensively and anticipate other road users to a higher degree?

I actually disagree with most of the off road part of the test as, while it demonstrates close control, particularly the U-turn, slalom and figure of eight. I'm sure everyone would agree, learnt only for the test and never used again, much like algebra. Great skills, but of no real use to the masses.

I am curious whether hand brake turns will be introduced for the car test as the terrorist threat grows and that could be a life saver, couldn't it? If they want 'inexperienced' new riders to develop advanced skills, why don't they teach bikers to do wheelies safely and maybe stoppies.

I know it sounds mad, but I bet more riders are caught out jumping on their new powerful RSV4 and reaching for the sky rather than having to perform a u-turn where they are unable to put their feet down, a slalom, figure of eight or even a sudden acceleration through a narrow gate to avoid a cone and stop in a small box.

Food for thought maybe. I am awaiting a date for my resit, but am extremely eager to get it done ASAP so I can enjoy riding before bikes are made inaccessible by people who fear what they don't understand. Fingers crossed.