Testing time for teens

Published: 04 August 2014

Stricter motorcycle licence rules have caused a massive drop in young riders taking their tests.

New learner rider rules introduced in January last year stopped under-19s from riding anything bigger than a 125cc bike, even if they pass a motorcycle test where previously they could take a step up to a larger-capacity bike once the test was passed.

Recent figures show the number of 18-year-olds who completed the practical motorcycle test in 2013 to 2014 has plummeted to just 216 from 3300 the previous year.

And while bike sales in this category remain similar, which suggests those riders are still out there, they just aren’t taking a test and therefore may not be taking any rider training either.

The massive drop in numbers can be directly linked to the fact there is little point in an 18-year-old taking a test because it makes no difference to the bike they can ride; they may as well wait a year and stick with the 125cc machine they currently have.

A spokesman for the Motorcycle Industry Association said: “Licensing and training need to be more accessible, which is an area the MCI continues to lobby on, but we believe the government’s perception of and attitude to motorcycle safety needs to be addressed before this is likely to happen.”