Bike test rules relaxed

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The motorcycle test has been changed in a bid to improve safety.

Changes are introduced today to the off-road part of the exam in the hope of cutting the number of learners who crash taking it.

It marks victory in an MCN campaign for a shake-up of the test after 45 learners crashed in the first nine weeks following its 2009 introduction.

Requirements have been relaxed so that candidates no longer have to reach at least 31mph while performing a controversial swerve around cones. A new 5% margin for error means they can do it at 30mph.

In addition, failing to reach the minimum speed no longer results in an instant failure but counts as a riding fault, of which five are permissible.

Previously learners have been required to come to a halt almost immediately after the swerve but they can now perform an additional loop of the test area before stopping.

Separating the swerve and so-called ‘controlled stop’ in order to simplify the two manoeuvres was a key demand of MCN’s campaign. 

Road safety minister Mike Penning, who announced a review of the test in MCN last year, said: “As a motorcyclist, I know how important it is that our motorcycle test prepares new riders for real life on the road. 

“That is why I decided to carry out a full review of the motorcycle test.” He said the first changes were “applying common-sense measures which will see the off-road section of test made safer, fairer and more realistic.”

The changes are an interim measure ahead of the off-road section being scrapped and the manoeuvres incorporated into the on-road part of the exam.

Read more on this in MCN, on sale Wednesday.

Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell