Wednesday, 17 December 2008

New Test in Northern Ireland

The new motorbike test that was supposed to come into force in September this year has just been introduced in Northern Ireland.

The new test involves having to complete the original theory test and practical test, but now also includes taking part in a manouvres test as well.

It has been introduced by the Driver and Vehicle Agency as part of the European directive.

The test was supposed to come into force across the whole of the UK in September 2008, however there was a mix up. It will now be introduced in the UK in March 2009.

Whats Involved

The new manouvres test will involve a number of exercises that have to be completed. These include:
  • A slow riding exercise where the rider has to ride alongside the examiner at a walking pace.

  • A slalom and a figure-of-8 exercise. In the UK these are taught at a basic level during the CBT test.

  • Walking the bike in a 'U' turn, and then riding in a 'U' turn.

  • Getting the bike both on and off the motorbike stands.

  • Riding the bike in a curve, in either second or third gear at a minimum speed of 30km/h (roughly 19mph).

  • Emergency braking exercise, as well as an avoidance test at a minimum speed of 50km/h (roughly 32mph).
After passing the test you will be given a certificate, that like the theory test, is valid for two years and must be presented when taking a full test.

Comments on the Test

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson, who is a biker himself, has said of the test that "it is important that motorcyclists are fully equipped for the challenges they will face on the road. The new motorcycle manouvres test will enable examiners to test core skills in an off-road environment".

Others have suggested that it will help to reduce the number of motorbike casualties on the road.

DVA Chief Executive Brendan Magee has said that "only candidates who demonstrate the ability to carry out these manouvres safely will be able to progress".

UK Centres

In the UK, the test was due to be introduced at the end of September. It involved various new test centres being set up where the manouvres test could take place.

However the centres were not ready in time for the introduction date, and the government faced a lot of embarassment as learners were charged for the new test but could not take it.

In the end the introduction of the new test was put back until March 2009, so that the new centres could be set up. This did however leave a lot of angry new riders out of pocket, having paid for the new test.

So we'll have to wait until March to see if this time, the new test will go ahead.

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