A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
We will work to ensure the implementation of the ‘seven hour minimum’ training upgrade for those using the Progressive Access route to motorcycling. Progressive Access to a full category A or A2 licence should be available via training or testing. Taking the same test several times only assures that the rider remains at the same standard. Following a minimum seven hour training event, many riders who were already at test standard will gain new knowledge and skills to make them better, safer, riders. Riders could also be allowed to take their 7 hour training upgrade on the machine that they wish to ride on their new licence. This would enable them to familiarise themselves with the machine’s unique characteristics before riding unsupervised. It will also provide the benefit of reducing the pressure on DVSA Examiners and reduce the long waits for tests during the summer months.
There are 4 types of PTW licence categories:
- AM – Moped up to 50cc not exceeding 45km/h
- A1 – Small motorcycle up to 125cc up to 1kW15bhp
- A2 – Medium motorcycle typically around 500-600cc not exceeding 35kW (46.6bhp)
- A – Any size motorcycle
The 3rd Driving Licence was implemented on 19 January 2013. The Directive allowed some choice to member states about how riders moved from a lower licence category to the higher licence category. For example riders may wish to move from an A2 – medium motorcycle to a full A licence. This moving slowly through licence categories is known as Progressive Access. There are also age restrictions on these categories, and some complex rules. For full details see www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/551465/routesto-your-motorcycle-licence.pdf
The Directive allowed riders who have gained a full motorcycle licence of some description to move to the next category (Progressive access) via either a minimum 7 hour training or by taking another motorcycle test.
The UK chose to implement the testing route only and insists that all riders utilising the progressive access route must take exactly the same module 1 and module 2 tests that were required for their original licence acquisition. The only difference being the size of the motorcycle being used for the test.
Novice riders who opt to follow the 3rd Driving Licence Directive (3DLD) progressive access route, should have the option to upgrade to a higher category of licence via a minimum seven hour training course delivered by Instructors rather than being forced to take the same test repeatedly. The 7 hour stipulation is only a minimum, and riders who need extra support will be required to take extra training to reach the prescribed standards. In future we will no longer be bound by EU legislation, so careful consideration should be given to ensure that our licensing regime allows riders to travel Europe-wide. Despite the fact that no other member state has utilised the 7 Hour training upgrade it is still allowed for in EU legislation so this should not cause a problem.
Instructors are currently checked by DVSA every four years and it is felt that allowing instructors to upgrade licences without more regular, stringent, standards checks would not be in the interests of road safety. Therefore it is essential that an improved quality control process which checks standards constantly, not just at required intervals (possibly utilising the robust quality assurance regime approved by the IMI and already in use by the MCIAC), is adopted.
All elements of rider training should be subject to a minimum annual mandatory quality assurance check including any 3DLD upgrade training. Customer feedback is key to this process as it gives insight into the day to day business of the ATB. Actions 11 (Improving the Current Pre-Test Training Regime) and Action 16 (Improving Standards of Post-Test Rider Instruction) of this Framework focus on improving the qualification process and quality assurance of motorcycle instructors.
A 7 hour training can only be an improvement on the current regime during which a rider will pass a test on a 600cc machine and then often go out and buy a larger motorcycle which will respond very differently in terms of acceleration, handling and braking. We wish to see this option made available to all riders who have passed at least one Module 1 and Module 2 test. This option already exists in the 3DLD text as adopted by the EU and requires only domestic regulatory change.
The option was not taken in the UK when 3DLD came into force as concerns were raised about the quality and consistency in motorcycle instruction. See Action 10 (Developing vocational programmes for approved training bodies, to raise standards beyond those prescribed by DVSA).
With a robust quality assurance regime in place, we are confident that ATBs will be able to offer a valid and effective training course allowing customers to progress to the next licence category in a much more beneficial but less stressful way.
MCIA believes that in order to secure continuous rider development to a high standard, reflecting the need for enhanced hazard awareness and defensive riding, the correct route should principally be training, not testing. A mere repetition of the motorcycle test is unlikely to offer anything tangible to road safety or offer riders the focussed support that they will need to develop their riding in a safe manner.
In 2010 as part of the 3DLD Consultation response, the Motorcycle Industry Trainers Association (MCITA) responded regarding the training upgrade: “Industry will, in the medium term, continue to press for the progressive training option, recognising the opportunity to improve long term rider safety with embedded progressive training processes, delivered to a common standard, quality controlled and wisely governed”.
- Liaise with DVSA to introduce an improved quality assurance regime for motorcycle ATBs and Instructors which routinely includes the intelligent use of customer feedback.
- Make necessary changes to domestic legislation to allow consumers taking the progressive access route the choice between a minimum 7 hour training or a test (after at least one Module 1 and Module 2 test have been passed).
- Ensure appropriate IT systems are developed top allow trainers to notify the DVLA of those successfully completing the training course.
UPDATE – Action 14 – Implementation of a Licence Upgrade via the 7 Hour Minimum Training Route
Please note, this work stream was previously included within the action Quality Assured Rider Training. For the purposes of this rewrite it was decided that this merited a separate action point.
It is likely that the DVSA’s consultation expected in Autumn 2016, will consult with the industry on allowing ATBs to upgrade licences via the 7 hour training option. This is due to the consultation proposals to give DVSA new powers to allow them to quality assure all pre-test training. Whilst we are delighted that the 7 hour training option is now under consideration, we are concerned that checking individual instructors every 4 years will not be sufficiently robust. This system has been used for many years to assure CBT training with very mixed results and we urge DVSA to consider further quality assurance improvements that routinely includes annual checks and the intelligent use of customer feedback to enable this worthwhile change which will raise rider standards and reduce pressure on DVSA examiners.