Test crisis deepens

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A crisis hitting the number of people taking the motorcycle test is even deeper than previously feared, latest figures show.

Eighteen months after a new Europe-wide test was introduced, the number of people taking it was still barely half the former level. 

When bookings dropped drastically following the changeover last year, the Driving Standards Agency said it was temporary and demand would “settle at usual levels again in 2010/11”.

But new DSA figures point to a long-term decline.

In the 16 months leading up to the introduction of the new exam in April 2009, 130,498 people took the old test, a rate of 8156 a month.

But in the 18 months following the changeover, only 73,508 people completed the new test, 4083 a month and almost half the earlier rate.  

The Government is conducting a review of the test, which was originally intended to reach conclusions by autumn. 

Roads minister Mike Penning said: “The review of the motorcycle test is a top priority for me because I want to make sure that we have a test which prepares bikers properly for the road.

“We have been working with the motorcycle training industry and others to make sure that we are taking all views into account and we will report on findings as soon as possible.”

For more on this, including how on-test crashes have continued at an alarming rate, get MCN, on sale now.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell