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Proposed Motorcycle licence changes

So whats this all about? More European interferance? If the UK government backs proposals from Europe that would make it more difficult, costly and take many more years to obtain a full motorcycle license it would have a dramatic impact on the whole UK motorcycle industry.

The key proposals are:

  • The minimum age for riding motorcycles larger than 125cc is likely to rise from 17 to 19
  • Direct Access to larger motorcycles will not be allowed until the age of 24 (currently 21)
  • There will be new categories of motorcycle licence created, which will mean two-year “stepsâ€? between motorcycles of different engine size
  • Riders will have to take another motorcycle test between steps.

For full details visit the Motorcycle Industry Association for full details and use their links to lobby your MP and MEP. The direct link to the page is Motorcycle Industry Association Campaign Page

The letter that the site sends to your MP/MEP is as follows:

Dear Recipient,
Third European Directive on Driver Licenses

As one of your constituents, I am writing to protest about European plans to change the provisions for gaining a motorcycle licence and to ask you to support calls for the Government to make effective use of the UK’s Presidency of the EU to put a stop to EU proposals. These proposals are not based on researched road safety evidence and are unlikely to contribute to road safety. The effect of the proposals will be to discourage people from taking up motorcycling and discriminate against the use of motorcycles as a low-polluting and zero-congesting alternative to the car.

In particular I am angry about plans to raise the age of access to bikes bigger than 125cc from 17 to 19 and plans for a second motorcycle test on medium-powered machines as a route to a licence for large motorcycles.

The effect of this change will mean that riders aged 17-19 working some distance from home may no longer have the option of motorcycle or scooter use, as 125cc machines will not have an adequate performance for these journeys.

In a letter to the Motor Cycle Industry Association the Minister of Transport, Stephen Ladyman, says: “I share your concerns ..[and].. am concerned by the plans for staged access for motorcycles which would require a two year gap between categories. In effect this would raise the minimum age of access to medium sized machines from 17 to 19 in the UK. There is no road safety case for this proposal, and I recognize the problems it would cause motorcyclists and the motorcycle industry.�

I am also concerned about the increase of the Direct Access age from 21 to 24. Research shows that it is not the age of access to motorcycles which is the key factor in motorcycle safety but the amount of experience that riders gain. The Directive does not address longer-term rider training issues, merely discriminates against riders and discourages motorcycle use. It does appear that the EU is becoming excessively cautious with regard to motorcycle licensing, particularly when compared to other activities that the Members States may require of its citizens aged 17-24 (for example military service).

British support for such measures would be at odds with the UK Government’s own National Motorcycle Strategy which talks about ‘mainstreaming’ motorcycling in UK transport policy.

In addition, our contacts with police are already finding that unlicensed riding and driving are on the increase and adding yet further complexity to motorcycle licence conditions can only multiply the number of riders “opting out� of the licensing process. As far as enforcement is concerned the same contacts advise that the existing motorcycle licence rules are already too complex for the non specialist officer to understand. The result of the new directive will be more largely unenforceable legislation, to the detriment of respect for the law.

I ask for your support in persuading Ministers to take a stronger line in support of motorcycling in the UK and to oppose European plans to make getting a motorcycle licence more difficult and expensive.

Yours sincerely,


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