Details of a new motorcycle licence regime to be implemented next year have been confirmed by the Driving Standards Agency.
The new rules will limit all riders under 19 to 125cc machines and under-21s to 47bhp.
Those aged 17-19 will only be able to gain a licence for a machine up to 125cc and 15bhp by taking a test on a bike of similar spec.
At 19 they can qualify for a bike up to 47bhp by doing another test or undertaking additional training. This must be done on a machine over 395cc and between 33bhp and 47bhp.
They then face a further two-year wait – and yet another test or further training - before they can qualify to ride a bike of any power.
Alternatively, people over 24 can take a single Direct Access test to immediately qualify for bikes of any power. This test must be taken on a machine of at least 595cc and 54bhp.
Each step-up in power will involve a further test or training. A DSA release said: ‘The feasibility of the training option is currently being looked into; a final decision is yet to be made.’
The new regime is due to be implemented from January 19 next year.
It means 17-year-olds will face three exams or training sessions over a minimum of four years before they can ride an unlimited bike.
There are grave concerns about the impact it will have on new rider numbers. Paul Dickinson, Chairman of the Motorcycle Trainers’ National Council, said: “It’s going to be a problem just explaining the new process when people phone up. There is a concern it may put people off.”
At the moment there are two routes to a full motorcycle licence without power restrictions. Riders can either do their test on a 125 and spend two years restricted to 33bhp or, if over 21, they can do the Direct Access test on a machine of at least 47bhp and bypass the wait.