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EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION

In February’s BDN, MCIA’s Jenny Luckman introduced readers to the third Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework, for which she is project manager. The framework is a partnership between MCIA, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Highways England to make roads safer for bikers.  Here she elaborates on theme two  – Educate to Deliver

 

If you were working in the industry in 2003 you may remember that on the back of the “born-again” boom, motorcycle casualties went through the roof.  The government at the time sat down with the MCIA and we were told that unless we did something as an industry to reduce casualties, then it would legislate to tackle the problem.  With “vision zero” [zero casualties] and the “safe systems” approach taking hold in current road safety politics, it is vital that the motorcycle industry is not left behind. This is where the framework comes in. 

Last month, I explained how each of the framework’s seven themes has an owner.  For theme two, Educate to Deliver, the owner is Karen Cole, Safety and Training Director of the MCIA.  Karen’s theme has the largest number of “actions”, largely based around improving the competence of new and existing riders to reduce casualties. One of the main ways in which the partnership believes this can be achieved is by making it easier to gain a motorcycle licence and shifting conversations around training to quality. 

Statistics from the MCIA’s Two Wheel Data Centre shows that 52.6% of all those looking for insurance quotes for new bikes in the third quarter of 2016 only had a provisional licence and for used bikes this is just under 34%. Many of these riders will be using their bikes to commute and won’t identify as a biker. They probably won’t read the bike press or belong to biking clubs and organisations and may not appreciate how much better their skills and safety would be with additional training, or by taking a test. 

Imagine what impact it would have on the industry if more young riders took a test? How much more engaged they would become with biking. Imagine how continual reductions in motorcycle casualties would affect the image of motorcycles and scooters to the wider public? Remember the framework is underpinned by the idea that more motorcycles equals fewer casualties, which is the same argument being used successfully by the cycling lobby.

COMMUTER RIDERS

As an industry, we need to ask how easy it is for “outsiders” to get information about training and products.  When the MCIA ran a campaign a few years ago to encourage people to get a licence, repeat CBT takers got in touch through MCIA Facebook to ask what they needed to do to take a test. They had no idea how to find their local trainer, or what they would need to do to acquire a licence. We often presume that because we know our ATB from our elbow, that everyone else does too. This is clearly not the case, and so one of the objectives of this theme is to reach commuter riders and to encourage them to improve their skill level by taking a test or further training. 

A lack of progressive access within 3DLD has been cited as the reason why fewer people now take tests. One of the actions within this theme is to persuade government to take advantage of an option within 3DLD which allows the introduction of a seven-hour training upgrade for those moving between licences, rather than repeating the test. No EU government has had sufficient confidence in its national training network to implement it yet, but the MCIA has been lobbying for this behind the scenes since 2013. 

Knowing the DVSA needed to be convinced that there were enough high-quality training schools to deliver a seven-hour upgrade was one of the driving forces behind developing “accredited” training through MCIAC (Motor Cycle Industry Accreditation Centre). The seven-hour upgrade was one of the suggestions in the DVSA’s recent public consultation, Improving Moped and Motorcycle Training. If it is introduced it will make it easier for those riding a mid-range bike to trade up to a bigger one. 

Many of the potential changes and reforms touched on in the DVSA consultation are also identified in the framework. One is to restrict those who take CBT on an automatic to automatic bikes only, unless they do additional training on a geared bike. Many of you will have sold a bike to someone who was legally entitled but technically unqualified to ride a geared machine. We have heard countless stories of people falling off by the time they reach the end of the road, because they didn’t take the right CBT. 

Another aim of the framework is to make the case for extending standards checks to all forms of training. At the moment only CBT instructors are checked every four years; those taking riders to licence or teaching post test training are not inspected. This is obviously one of the strengths of MCIAC-accredited schools, which require annual inspections to stay accredited. In addition, every customer is surveyed after their experience and rewarded with a free ticket to Motorcycle Live. This brings a new demographic to the show and hopefully introduces a hard-to-reach group to the biking world.

PUBLIC LAUNCH

Up to now, news of MCIAC has been confined to the trade press, but it is due a public launch soon. This will highlight the searchable function in the website so that those looking for training can find their closest accredited ATB and will shift conversations about training to quality. Although some trainers have voiced concerns in BDN that this is ‘just another scheme’, you can be assured that expanding the availability of high quality ‘accredited’ training underpins many of the actions in the framework.

Encouraging all riders to wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) will also be a priority, and the framework partners will be lobbying for VAT to be removed on protective clothing  in the same way that helmets are exempt. The campaign will serve to raise awareness of the specific benefits of PPE and how it can make the difference between a slight and a serious injury. If the VAT exemption is successful it will make it more affordable for many people who may feel it is currently too expensive.

Safer riders will get more out of their riding and are therefore more likely to remain on a PTW. We have our best chance ever of turning learners into licence-holders and leading licence-holders to post-test training and we hope you will support this where ever you can.

The framework series continues in the April issue of BDN. Let us know your thoughts: [email protected]

 

 

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