The government intends to make it more difficult for moped and scooter riders aged 16 years and older to get on the road by introducing a new test theory.
The CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) system has been in place – and unchanged – since 1990 and only requires a new rider to showcase that they can master simple skills – without having to pass any tests – before being allowed on the road.
But road safety minister Jesse Norman announced on Tuesday that this is due to change with the introduction of a theory test and stricter penalties for those who accumulate penalty points while riding with L-plates attached to their mopeds.
CBT changes afoot: If you’re 16 you can ride a moped on L-plates after undertaking Compulsory Basic Training that includes no tests. However, that is due to change next year with a theory examination proposed in order for new riders to be allowed on the road
Motorcyclists aged 16 who have undertaken their CBT can ride a moped while displaying L-plates, while anyone 17 or over can legally ride a machine up to 125cc with a maximum power output of 15 horse power, though again has to exhibit learner plates.
Any rider who doesn’t take their full motorcycle test within 48 months has to undertake the CBT again, though car drivers who passed their driving test before 1 February 2001 ride anything up to 50cc without having to undergo the training session.
For the last 27 years, there has been no test requirement as part of this basic requirement to be granted access to the road, meaning riders with little experience can be let loose on some of the nation’s busiest routes without having to display a full grasp of the Highway Code.
However, Mr Norman wants that to change as part of an overhaul of motorcycle training.
Following a public consultation including motorcyclists, new rules are set to be introduced towards the end of next year that will enforce a theory test system as part of the CBT.
And to ensure that law-breaking riders are not allowed to continue flaunt rules, provisional licence holders will be banned from riding and have to take further training if they accumulate 6 penalty points.
The changes are part of the government’s desperate plans to reduce the number of road deaths in the UK after statistics showed a four per cent rise last year.
Of the 1,792 fatalities, 319 were motorcyclists – over a third of which were between 16 and 24 years of age.
A consultation by the DfT and DVSA found there was substantial support for improvements to the CBT and those conducting the training courses
Though despite overall deaths being at their highest for five years with car, pedestrian, cyclist and other fatalities all on the rise, the number of motorcyclists killed were down by 13 per cent year-on-year.
That said, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) confined 5,553 reports of seriously injured motorcyclists last year, with one in six being moped or scooter riders.
In a statement released this week, Norman said: ‘We have one of the best road safety records in the world, but we are determined to do more to prevent deaths and serious injuries.
‘Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and have the highest fatality rate of any group. That is why I am pleased to announce these changes to motorcycle training.
‘These improvements should equip learners with a wider range of experience and better riding skills, helping to make our roads safer for everyone.’
Motorcyclist deaths on the road were down by 13 per cent in 2016, however a third of those killed were young riders between the ages of 16 and 24
A survey of 2,200 respondents found huge support for riders to learn more about protective clothing and riding skills as part of Compulsory Basic Training
DVSA head of rider and vocational policy, Mark Winn, added: ‘Our priority is to help riders through a lifetime of safe riding.
‘In 2016, over a third of moped and motorcyclist casualties were aged between 16 and 24.
‘We want to reduce the risk they face by introducing more realistic and individually tailored training, provided by better qualified instructors.
‘Making these improvements to training will help make sure motorcyclists have the skills and knowledge they need to help them stay safe on our busy, modern roads.’
Road safety minister Jesse Norman (pictured) said the new measures would be introduced because motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users
The DVSA teamed up with the Department for Transport (DfT) to gauge opinion from 2,200 respondents about nine proposed changes to improve road safety for new motorcyclists.
Some 85 per cent of those polled agreed that new riders should have to pass a theory test before they take a CBT course, while the same percentage of people said they wanted CBT certificates revoked from provisional licence holders with careless or dangerous riding offences.
People were also widely in support of introducing training courses for existing motorcyclists, restricting riders to only ride automatic scooters if they took their CBT on one and more education about protective clothing and riding skills as part of basic training.
There was also overwhelming support for more DVSA checks on motorcycle training schools and instructor qualifications.
The DVSA confirmed that some of the proposals will require further consultation in Spring 2018 before a decision is made on their implementation.
Driving Instructors Association (DIA) chief motorcycle examiner Mark Jaffe welcomed the new idea and said the DIA had been pushing for improved standard of rider training ‘for a number of years’.
Making these improvements to training will help make sure motorcyclists have the skills and knowledge they need to help them stay safe on our busy, modern roads.
Mark Winn, DVSA head of rider and vocational policy
‘The consultation results shows support for the changes which we believe are long overdue,’ he said.
‘The changes will increase the importance on riders getting the correct training for the machines they are riding and reduce the number of casualties through better and more focused training.’
Others also welcomed the proposals, but pointed out that mopeds and scooters still need to be accessible to new riders as they are an affordable mode of transport for many.
Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) director of safety and training Karen Cole said: ‘We welcome the publication of responses to the consultation on modernising motorcycle training and look forward to working with the DVSA to significantly improve rider safety in the future.
‘It is important that powered two wheelers remain accessible though, as they are the only affordable form of transport for many people and an increasingly important part of our transport mix as commuters seek solutions to creeping congestion.’
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