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Blog of events happening to and around Lightning Motorcycle Training in 2010

DECEMBER 2010 - First day of winter and a dose of snow. Well at least it gets it out of the way. - Might have spoken too soon! Three weeks of doing nothing apart from having to constantly ring students to rebook their dates.

After quite a lot of silly industry in-fighting news about a test review has surfaced. To be honest this is a bit premature as there is a great deal of work to be done before a sensible way forward can be sorted out. We have been very fortunate in being closely involved in this process, along with several other members of the motorcycle industry. For the most part they have been very supportive, particularly MAG, MCIA, BMF and two very forward thinking training schools: Biketrain Wales and Streetwise from Birmingham. We have all worked very hard for the past six months to arrive at a solution that will provide a better, safer and more meaningful test that is local and does not cost the earth. And all this within the constraints of the 2nd/3rd EU Licencing Directive.

Frankly one foot of snow has been easier to deal with.

NOVEMBER 2010 - Nice Mr Mike Penning - Transport Minister, who we like a lot due to his largely pro-motorcycling views (and his general not very impressed with the mess the DSA have made of it opinions) - has decided that the Theory Test questions will no longer be published. Or more to the point they won't be able to make any money out of changing the questions every 15 minutes so they can release yet another Theory Test DVD to punt out to the public. The sooner the DSA is privatised the better - oops did we say that out loud??

OCTOBER 2010 - It's time to ride independently for at least 10 minutes. We all held our breath in excitement and then let it out in a sort "what the hell was that all about" kind of way. So students ride around without being told where to go - nothing new there then. Anyway the good news is that nobody has noticed and nobody has found this difficult (or failed on it). Didn't stop the DSA trumpeting to the four corners of the earth that it was all change.

SEPTEMBER 2010 - Already!!! Been a very steady summer for all here at Lightning. Emma has got married and is now Emma Turner - so congratulations Em. Gordon is to be a father - well done mate! William has said goodbye to his Harley Davidson and hello to a Suzuki Katana 1100 dating back to the early 80's - a bike equally heavy and equally wobbly. Fair weather biker Duncan has done a runner to Israel to live with his wife's family - good luck Dunco we miss you.

AUGUST 2010 - The MCITA (Motor Cycle Industry Trainers Association) celebrates two years of campaigning on behalf of the training industry and can now boast over 220 schools as members. It can also has William Rodwell, from Lightning, as one of its committee members. This has been a busy month for William but also a busy month for Lightning.

JULY 2010 - The DSA have announced that along with a review of the current motorcycle test they will also be reviewing the Quality Assurance process for Motorcycle Instructors, the CBT and the Trainer Booking Facility. This will keep the DSA, the Motor Cycle Industry Trainers Association (MCITA) and training schools in general busy for the foreseeable future! It will probably be easier to herd cats. Ben now owns a new Suzuki 1200 Bandit - mad, bad and dangerous to know.

JUNE 2010 - Hurrah the DfT (Department for Transport) have announced that they will revisit the implementation of 2DLD. Moreover they are taking a more hands-on approach to motorcycle training (as clearly the DSA have been less than spectacular in this respect). The new Minister also announced a more inclusive approach to motorcycles in general, which again is good news. The only bad news is that there is no money - so no new test centres.

Football starts this month - boo...but it's Cassington which was huge this year.

MAY 2010 - At last a new government! Let's hope that they are more generous to motorcycling than the previous lot. This month sees the retirement of Brian Gilhooley from the DSA who was a perfectly pleasant individual, but who did not do much for promoting the availability of motorcycle tests. Again let's hope his replacement not only listens but understands what is being said.

Oxford test centre has been reduced to three days a week on the basis that last year was supposed to be slow (but by all accounts was busy when it was open 5 days a week), so now that now it is busier they will reduce the number of days. As ever the great minds that think these things through have clearly been distracted by thoughts of bonuses and pensions. Meanwhile there are very few tests available.

APRIL 2010 - More new bikes (Honda CG 125's) from the ever helpful MTC Motorcycles in Reading. Otherwise a fairly steady month with much wondering about what the General Election will bring. Also warmer weather at last!!!

MARCH 2010 - Still bitterly cold but at least it is not snowing! This has been a busy month fitting in all the people who had their tests cancelled by bad weather. It has also been busy with new customers which is excellent news.

FEBRUARY 2010 - 3DLD Consultation closes amid much acrimony about a poorly worded document and representations to the Department for Transport (DfT). The DSA have set up the Learning To Ride Program with a view to getting insight into the motorcycle training industry, and then giving guidance for root and branch changes to the Motorcycle Safety Group. Fingers crossed that the very high aspirations and hopes are met by this imitative.

Despite very cold weather this has been a busy month, helped by the Get On campaign feeding new people onto motorcycles. We have started a new program for our local dealers to put them in touch with potential customers. Spring can't come soon enough.

JANUARY 2010 - Wow Lightning is 10 years old today! Time to start wearing long trousers and stay up a little bit later. To everyone from Kelly and Andy, through Alan and Loz right through to today with Ben, Jon and all the hard working instructors along the way - thank you very much! To all our 15,000+ customers thank you and to our many suppliers (Fowlers of Bristol, Jaycee Distributors, Bike Tyrestore etc) a big thank you too!

Snow, snow snow! This is the longest period of sitting at the window looking outside and doing nothing that any of us can remember. Happily nearly everyone that had courses cancelled due to the snow have managed to get their courses done by the end of the month.

We filed our response to the 3DLD Consultation this month. In the absence of any clear direction from the DSA how Training would take place or be policed we have opted to go for the Testing route. This will involve more continuity, less cost to the public and training schools and most importantly of all encourage a higher pass rate and better standards from the training school industry. Happy New Year!

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