Wednesday, 1 October 2008

New Motorbike Test Mess Up

For over a year now, potential motorcylists have been warned that a new test would be in place by the end of September. Yet the date has come and gone and nothing is ready.

Although I've ridden for nearly 3 years, I took my Standard Access test just 5 months ago, with the warning ringing in my ears and in the hope of beating the clock. It worked; I now have a restricted license and Fylix the GS500F sitting outside my halls.

Yet the warning seems to have been all for nothing. Motorbike students have been asked to pay £80 to include the new test, but from the first day the DVLA had to admit it wasn't ready.

The test consists of a series of manouvres, such as a slalom and various breaking exercises, designed to help new riders learn to avoid potential accidents when out on the road.

It is supposed to "improve the standard of road safety for motorcycle and moped riders" and is aimed at complying with EU legislation. In theory, it's a good idea but it seems putting it into practice has been a headache.

Even while I was taking my test, there were mutterings among my instructors about the problems with the sites themselves. It seemed there weren't enough sites; the nearest site would involve a 3 hour road trip, and the BBC picked up on the problems.

For those who missed the deadline and shelled out the full £80, there'll be no refund. We're told thats the cost of the old test version now, though it seems it's more to avoid an administration nightmare.

In fact the DSA have announced that the whole thing is going to be pushed back to March 2009, so they can create more sites. So when you break it down, we've had a year to warn us that the cost of passing your test is going up.

Now it's just a case of wait and see if it'll go ahead next March: but I can say for certain I won't be holding my breath.

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