The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): Following research into the safety and feasibility of a single event on-road motorcycle test, I am today announcing the conclusion of the motorcycle test review.
The test review was commissioned to consider alternative ways of providing a single event practical motorcycle test that can be carried out on the road in a way that would maintain riding standards, protect safety and increase accessibility of the test for candidates, while meeting the requirements of the European legislation.
The test is currently carried out in two separate modules. Module 1 is undertaken off-road on a purpose-built manoeuvring area and tests the higher speed and slow manoeuvres. Module 2 is the practical on-road ride.
The research, which ended in March 2013, used test-ready learners to complete the proposed on-road manoeuvres and the existing module 1 manoeuvres under mock test conditions. Direct comparisons were made between the on-road and module 1 test.
The research concluded that an on-road test:
would result in a substantial increase in the number of incidents during tests;
increased the duration of the test, which would result in higher costs for both candidates and the Driving Standards Agency;
resulted in significantly more faults than the off-road test; and
was likely to encounter technical difficulties in identifying suitable sites with appropriate signage, and suitable speed measurement equipment.
I have therefore concluded that a single event on-road motorcycle test would not be in the interests of motorcycle test candidates or their trainers and examiners and have decided to conclude the motorcycle test review.
The research findings have been published today on the gov.uk website.
This does not mean that the review has been in vain. It has provided a welcome opportunity for the Department of Transport and the Driving Standards Agency to work with stakeholders to look at how the module 1 test could be improved. The Driving Standards Agency made changes to the module 1 test by reordering the manoeuvres and introducing greater flexibility in the way that riders speed is assessed. These changes were welcomed by both examiners and trainers and have resulted in fewer incidents, particularly during the hazard-avoidance exercise.
Since the review started, the Driving Standards Agency has implemented a range of improvements for stakeholders and customers taking tests in Great Britain. Test provision has been increased by opening three additional sites for module 1 tests and introducing module 2 tests at an additional eight driving test centres. More motorcycle examiners have been made available following a successful recruitment campaign; and improvements to the booking system has resulted in more test bookings being made available at times and dates that provide better access for motorcycle trainers and candidates.
The Government will continue to seek out new ways of improving motorcycle training and tackling motorcycle casualties, so that motorcycle incidents continue to fall.