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What happened when the motorcycle test and the law changed in 2009

Update - January 20092009 motorcycle test

After the DSA's extremely short consultation process - the results of which they mostly ignored - they have broken cover and explained how the new test is conducted.

The new test will be in two parts; 

Module 1 being a fifteen minute off-road test (as shown on the diagram below) costing £15.50. If you fail Module 1 you will have to wait three working days before you can retake the test. You must have passed the CBT and Motorcycle Theory Test before taking the Module 1.

Module 2 is a thirty-five minute on-road test costing £75.00. You can't take this test unless you have passed the CBT, Motorcycle Theory Test and Module 1. If you fail this test you will have to wait ten working days before you can retake it.

The Module 1 will take place at the DSA's MPTC's (Multi Purpose Test Centre's), some VOSA sites and some "casual" sites. The DSA's web site has more details of the exact locations. The Module 2's will either take place at existing DTC's (Driving Test Centres) or at MPTC's. It is hoped that by splitting the test out like this then more people will be local to a test centre. The downsides are quite bad though; firstly, the extra level of complication is not welcome, secondly it will be hard for training school's not to pass on the extra cost of having to take students to test twice (and this is before you take into account the extra cost the training needed to complete the Module 1), thirdly it will involve having to take more time off work to take tests, fourthly the travel distances are still not that wonderful, fifthly the door is wide open for the DSA to hike the test fee further and they have wasted no time in announcing that they overall test fee is to rise to £90.50 in October, and finally the old style of intensive courses is pretty much dead as a result of this.

The main thing to bear in mind when considering booking a course post 24th April 2009 is timing. You will not only want to make sure that there is sufficient time between taking the Theory Test and the Module 1, but also consider the time between the Module 1 and Module 2. No one wants to lose a test fee because they have failed the previous test. So essentially the ease with which people used to ring up and say "I want to take a week off in August to learn to ride and take my motorcycle test" is completely buried by this.

From the point of view of training schools we have a lot of work to do in order to sort out the how our courses will be structured and how we will price them. It is going to be a steep learning curve and on top of all the economic woe is extremely unwelcome. So well done the DSA another triumph of bureaucracy over common sense and road safety!

What does the 24th April 2009 Motorcycle Test mean to me?

1/. In late 2008 and early 2009 motorcycle training schools were very, very busy with the high demand from people trying to pass their motorcycle test before the law changes. You will need to book early to avoid missing the deadline.

2/. After the new test is introduced there will be the following implications:

You will almost certainly have to travel further to get to a new Multi Purpose Test Centre (MPTC). At the time of writing the DSA acknowledge that 60% of people are not within a sensible distance of a MPTC. The nearest MPTC's for Reading and Oxford are Enfield, Hertfordshire and Gloucester, Gloucestershire. To see the full list go to and note that when you are there that they only have four working centres with less than a year to go!

The cost of the test fee has gone up to £80.00 to pay for the cost of the new MPTC's.

The cost of the training to pass the new test will go up as more time will be needed to prepare for the new off road manoeuvres.

The cost of the CBT will go up as training schools attempt to offset the lack of demand for full licence training which currently produces more than 50% of their revenue.

Although the demand may drop for full licence training the waiting list for a motorcycle test will probably increase for three reasons, firstly the huge drop in test centres, secondly the DSA having difficulties in having enough motorcycle examiners at each MPTC, and thirdly physical limitations on how many tests can be run at each test centre.

The variation and number of training schools will diminish as the new legislation will put many out of business. The 1997 Direct Access Scheme effectively put the largest training school in the country out of business inside 3 years.

Training accidents and their severity will increase as a consequence of being asked to do higher speed manoeuvres. The seriousness of an injury increases almost exponentially with speed. Accidents during the off road part of a test will potentially impact of the tests that follow it.

This doesn't sound very good - what can I do?

The short sighted and ill-conceived decision to introduce the new test has already been taken, as well as much of the money spent. So it is unlikely that the whole concept will be shelved. However, the current proposals are up against a time limit - the legislation from the EU must be in place by October 2008 at the latest (or so we were told!). If the DSA does not meet this deadline then almost certainly sanctions or fines will follow. This deadline, which the DSA has known about for years, means that the DSA are proposing to roll out the new test, even though 60% of the public are too far away from a MPTC and a great many issues have not been addressed, for the sake of political expediency.

This is the key issue and one which we, the training schools, and you, the public, need to lobby the government, MP's and the DSA. The DSA must ensure that all the angles are looked at and that there is an availability of MPTC's that suits the public and does not potentially tear apart the training school industry. Please feel free to contact Rosemary Thew, the DSA Chief Executive with your questions and concerns at .
A delay to the test would not put anybody’s lives at risk, while it’s early introduction may well mean people ride without training or a licence in which case lives may well be lost. Remember this 24th April 2009 deadline was compliance for compliance's sake and for no other reason.

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module 1 motorcycle test layout right circuitmodule 1 motorcycle test layout left circuit

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