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NMDA presses minister over licensing

The NMDA has written to the Department of Transport for a second time and is asking for a meeting with the minister to discuss reform of the motorcycle test regime.

The dealer association first wrote to Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport (pictured), a few months ago but was not happy with the response.

NMDA chief Steve Latham told BDN: “Our letter to the minister received a very ‘general’ response that did not address our concerns about the negative effect the licensing system is having on young people, the industry and road congestion.
“Therefore we have now sent a further, more detailed letter outlining the importance to reduce the age restrictions on motorcycle testing and requesting the opportunity to meet with the minister to discuss the issue further.”

“The current test system is at odds with the automotive industry and clashes with the government’s objective to increase apprenticeships as this would mean apprentices working on motorbikes would not be able to take the bike for test rides owing to the age restrictions.

“The age restrictions are complicated and inconsistent with the simpler licence system for driving cars, where a 17-year-old can learn to drive any car regardless of engine size.

“A streamlining of the system would bring motorcycle testing in line with other vehicle tests and simplify the position for learners, as well as apprentices, who would be able to develop their practical skills alongside their apprenticeship.

“This would enable the new motorcycle apprentice standards to be fulfilled and also make the system more economically viable for riders, encouraging growth for the industry during a time when ensuring consumer confidence is paramount.”

In his first response, Jones said motorcyclists were among the most vulnerable road users and, while accounting for less than 1% of traffic, were involved in about 20% of KSIs.

He said he believed the process that learner riders needed to go through to gain a full, unrestricted licence reflected the risks motorcyclists faced.

“We do not wish to make acquiring a motorcycle licence difficult or costly, but taking the correct training and being able to demonstrate skills and competence is key to reducing these high figures.“The licensing regime is intended to ensure that younger, inexperienced riders cannot access the most powerful bikes (some of which can exceed 200mph) until they have accrued at least four years’ on-road experience on less powerful bikes.“As you know, riders can take a direct access test for an unrestricted motorcycle licence at age 24.”

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