I am today (20 December 2010) publishing an interim report on the review of motorcycle testing in Great Britain, which I launched on 8 June 2010. Last week I met the working group established to conduct the review and we agreed a set of high level findings and next steps. This group included members of the motorcycle industry, trainers, riders’ representatives, road safety and local authority bodies as well as DSA and DfT officials. I will be placing the report on the departments website and in the libraries of the House.
While there is more work to be done on the detail, the review has helpfully identified a set of changes to the test which have the potential to deliver my objectives for a new motorcycle test. My goal is to see the practical test delivered as a single on-road event in a way which will maintain riding standards, protect safety and increase accessibility of the test to all candidates. The work delivered by the group includes a new hazard avoidance manoeuvre which - subject to further trialling - can be carried out on the road, as well as ways to perform the other specified manoeuvres on the road. The working group has also suggested that the slow manoeuvres (manual handling, slalom, figure of eight, U turn and slow ride) might better be examined at training centres, ahead of the main test, by delegated examiners employed by the training industry. It could be followed by a single event on road test conducted by DSA, including the remaining manoeuvres and the other elements of the road based test. This approach needs further development with the training industry.
The next step for the review will be to hold wider trials, with test-level candidates, to verify the standards, suitability and safety of the new manoeuvres, including a number of on road sites, to establish the criteria for safe on road testing. This will be followed by public consultation on the proposed changes. We will aim to implement a new test by the end of 2011 or early 2012, including on road testing initially in priority areas which are poorly served by the current network of off road test centres. Any changes to the manoeuvres would be implemented for all tests at all locations. Subject to further work on safety, cost and value for money, there would be a phased introduction of on-road testing moving to general adoption as soon as possible. Changes to the test will need to be monitored and kept under review to ensure that the review objectives are delivered in practice.
I am grateful to the members of this group for their work and note that many of them have given up their own time to contribute to the review.