Last-minute changes to bike test rules

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Wranglings over what motorcycles can be used under new bike test rules are continuing with only weeks to go before the January introduction date.

In August the Driving Standards Agency said the test for an unrestricted category ‘A’ motorcycle licence would have to be taken on bikes of at least 67bhp under plans.

But now the DSA has said that requirement has been postponed until 2018. In the meantime the category ‘A’ test can be taken on a 54bhp machine.

The changes are part of a shake-up of the motorcycle licensing regime from January 19 which will see under-19s restricted to 125s and under-21s to 47bhp.

There will be three licence and test categories under the new rules: ‘A1’ for 125s, ‘A2’ for up to 47bhp and ‘A’ for unrestricted machines.

There had been plans to make 67bhp the minimum for bikes used in the category ‘A’ test but the DSA said: ‘The DfT has now secured a written statement from the European Commission saying that these specific rules can be implemented later.

This means that they won't now come into effect until 2018. The longer implementation date is still subject to EU approval.’

The 67bhp requirement had been criticised by riding instructors as too powerful.

Bernard Adams, MD of Cam Rider Training, said: “I wrote to the minister voicing my concerns and it’s looking like the Government and DSA of the same mind.”

But he said the late plan changes would be disruptive for instructors who had already bought new fleets and manufacturers seeking to make eligible bikes.

Under the new rules, the minimum age for a single ‘direct access’ test will be 24. Riders will be able to qualify for unrestricted machines earlier, at 21, by taking the ‘progressive’ route, involving more than one test.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell