Road Safety News

New motorcycling rules introduced last week

Tuesday 15th January 2013

New rules affecting the motorcycles people can ride, and the age they have to be to ride them, came into force last week (19 January).

The rules also apply to the motorcycle people can use for their practical riding test; the test will be cancelled and fees may be lost if a vehicle doesn’t meet the new rules.

Access to more powerful motorcycles will be staged subject to competence, age, and previous experience. The minimum age to ride the largest motorcycles without previous experience is rising from 21 to 24 years.

These requirements are being introduced in Great Britain as part of the changes under the third EU licensing directive.

The official Driving Standards Agency (DSA) learning materials have been updated to reflect the new rules.

Click here for more information and to see a video explaining the new rules.


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For some reason many motorcyclists will not accept that there is a reason for the SMIDSY accident. Motorcyclists can be difficult to see and it is not helped by wearing dark colours. Helmets with patterns that break up their outline. No lights even in twilight, lurking around in a car's blind spots, and travelling at such speed that other drivers have very little time to see you before you are on top of them. There are definitly a large number of car drivers that are not looking properly, but it is extremely foolish to not make an effort to be easily visible.
John Kinsella, Swansea

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Elaine. First, we can complain and have every right to do so if the powers that be appear to have got it wrong and one shouldn't just lie down and take if it is considered so.

We don't necessarily need to know about under age motorcyclists in France or others in Europe unless it will have a bearing later on our own shores.

Yes the CBT should be all day which many people will know consists of nothing more than 6 hours. Some training organisation have been known to be not quite as literal as that and a trainee may be pleased to be released early. However that's a matter for the authorities to address and police.

I dont think that anyone would jib at spending the same amount of monies but getting some longer, more fulfilling training than is presently available. Or indeed a post CBT requirement to fulfill at least 10 hours training within say the first 3 months of obtaining a licence.
bob craven Lancs

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Well this was an interesting read... Let's put aside the EU conspiracy and the potential threat of a 4th and 5th Directive.

Although there is talk in the wind of a riders organisation wanting a 4th Directive to rescind the 3rd Directive. A bit like playing poker!

We've got what we've got and we need to make the most of it. This European wide Directive means that young 14 year old riders in Italy and France have to have some form of basic testing (and/or training). It's not just about the UK, though one could argue that the government could have used its right to derogate in order to increase the age limits to perhaps 14 year olds. But anyway, that's water under the bridge now.

What is possibly more important and relevant is that the CBT is not just half a day, but is broken down into three modules and five elements which should effectively include a minimum of four hours of road riding, (practical riding skills). Although this refers to Northern Ireland, - I understand that it is different in GB. In Northern Ireland, the overall length of the course will vary depending on your ability, knowledge, understanding and skills.

With regards to the "blame" of who causes collisions - that is a huge can of worms and there is need to take a deep breath and work together to improve the lot of motorcyclists in terms of casualty reduction. Better training for emergency situations e.g. braking and machine handling - not just the "progress" methods used by the orthodox advanced training schools.

Car drivers expect to "see" other cars, so there needs to be a review of car driver training. Unless a car driver is in a situation where he or she is confronted with a SMIDSY or simply where a motorcycle or other vulnerable road user "appears", they don't "see". Perhaps there should be consideration to simulators or similar in a driving course?

Whatever works! But please can we stop the anti-EU, anti-car driver, anti-my Aunt Fanny rhetoric?
Elaine Hardy

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I would like to see more motorcycle safety in the Highway Code and with the other vehicle driving test and instructions, and a police force that would enforce such life saving measures that all are now getting away with. Itís no use having laws to protect and make our roads safe if there is no deterrent in the form of law enforcement. Finally, not just a half day for £90 to take a cbt before one can ride on the roads on whatever size bike is lawful. I would like to see something like 10 or 12 hours instruction for new to twv at a reasonable cost.

It could be argued that many motocyclists are the authors of their own demise and that can certainly be argued out in the country, but 66% of incidents occur within the urban environment and the majority of those involve another vehicle so there is a massive cost in suffering and cost to NHS and society.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

This is only the implementation of the third driving licence directive. You should see what our 'friends' in the EU are working on for the fourth and fifth driving licence directives!

It's all rubbish of course as the main things that kill riders are SMIDSY's and misjudging corner severity. The size of bike and amount of experience have no bearing whatsoever on these events.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (2) | Disagree (8)

This is just the latest in a long line of petty fiddling by bureaucrats who have to find easy targets to set themselves to justify their existence .... and 'safety' is the easiest justification of all and they know that motorcycling is less likely to bite them and their politician masters. I have zero faith in such expensive policy changes when obvious major needs such as the raising of awareness in car drivers about all narrow, two-wheeled contraptions, and techniques as to how to actively look for them, are established within driving lessons and tests. However the politicians are not brave enough to put the cycle and motorcycle accident ball in the court of car drivers. I drive 4 various-wheeled machines on the road (including a unicycle) and I know that being a motorcyclist makes me a far better driver. We should encourage economical and environmentally better transport and also fun in moving ourselves around the land.
Doug Harris

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I would only like to add a simple observation for those on two wheels to keep in mind whenever they go out on their bikes: There is a long queue to the cemetary - don't jump it! Ride defensively at all times and assume that everyone else hasn't looked at you and those who have don't understand about the problems regarding stopping or turning (banking) on a bike [ie how much space is needed]. Don't become a statistic!
Paul from Barking

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I agree with Dave, this isnt going to change much. Under 125 cc capacity and still capable of doing 90 mph. Youngters will still be at greatest risk whilst town riding. They will still suffer the greatest number of accidents which include other vehicles though their injuries in general will be less serious due to reduced speed etc.

The over 35 age group will still be at greatest risk on larger capacity machines and on country roads where the greatest number of KSI occur.

Nothing in these new regulations will alter and of those facts so in my view they have it all wrong again.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

Given that the two biggest casualty groups for motorcycle riders are 16-19 years of age on machines of 125cc or less and those aged 45-55 on machines of 500cc or more you have to wonder why the EU went to such great lengths to introduce this as it's unlikely to have an affect on either group. Harmonising the age of access to all vehicles to 17 would have been a much better move and cost substantially less to implement.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (16) | Disagree (1)