Safety improvements for motorcyclists and lorry and bus drivers

Safety improvements for motorcyclists and lorry and bus drivers

Measures to boost safety for motorcyclists and lorry and bus drivers have been put forward in Parliament.

The measures – which also strengthen requirements for driving examiners and impact on the rules for drivers towing trailers – will come in to force on 19 January 2013 as part of new European requirements aimed at improving road safety.

The changes are being implemented by the Department for Transport in conjunction with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The main aspects of the new rules are:
•Motorcyclists – Access to more powerful bikes will be staged subject to competence, age and previous experience. The minimum age to ride the largest bikes without previous experience will rise from 21 to 24.
•Licence renewals for bus and lorry drivers – At present, drivers of medium-sized and large buses and lorries need to renew their licences every five years once they reach the age of 45. Over 45s also need to demonstrate their fitness to drive through a full medical report. From 2013, all new or renewed bus and lorry licences will be renewable every five years. However, drivers under 45 will not require a full medical report and will still only need to renew their photograph every 10 years. All other drivers and riders will continue to renew their driving licences every 10 years as is currently the case.
•Driving examiners – Compulsory initial qualification, periodic training and quality assurance checks will be required for driving examiners. Britain already fulfils most of these requirements but the new rules will enhance the Driving Standards Agency’s existing arrangements.
•Trailer towing – Under the new rules car drivers will be limited to towing 3.5 tonnes.

New Laws in france require all road users to carry a breathalyser Kit in your car

As from July 1st all drivers visiting France will need to carry a breathalyser in their cars, the rules apply to anyone travelling to or through France by car in the summer holiday season even just for a day trip.

IAM ( the Institute of Advanced Motorists) is advising motorists in France to have at least two breathalysers at all times, so that if one is used you still have one to produce for the police if you are stopped.  Neil Greig, director of policy and research said “the new French rule is a genuine attempt to reduce the number of alcohol related-accidents.  France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well.  As always, the best advice for motorists is not to drink and drive at all.”

The legal limit in France is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood   lower than in the UK (the UK limit is 80mg).  The breathalysers cost between £1 and £2 and will be available at ferry and tunnel terminals for crossings to France. It is intended that people will be able to test themselves to check whether or not they are over the French limit.  Single-use breathalyser kits will satisfy this requirement.

Module one of the motorcycle test is changing

Module one of the motorcycle test is changing as of the 16th of May 2011 the alterations proposed are listed below:

Change to the sequence of the manoeuvres

(see revised order below)

So that all the slow speed elements will be carried out before the higher speed exercises. This will allow candidates to demonstrate the necessary competence in motorcycle control before moving onto the more demanding manoeuvres.

Controlled stop

This provides an opportunity for candidates to ride the circuit bend of the motorcycle manoeuvring area before coming to a controlled stop. There will not be a minimum speed requirement to this manoeuvre which will allow the candidates the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the layout before moving on to the emergency stop.

Emergency stop manoeuvre

This is to take place before the avoidance exercise. If candidates fail the emergency stop they will not be permitted to carry out the avoidance exercise. This should significantly reduce the likelihood of incident for poorly prepared candidates.

Choosing preferred riding line

Re-position cones on the exit of both left and right hand bends to allow the rider to choose their preferred riding line.

The slow ride

This will now be conducted whilst the candidate rides between the figure of eight and the U-turn manoeuvres. The examiner will observe rather than walk beside the candidate. This will make for a smoother transition from one manoeuvre to another whilst compensating for the extra time required for the candidate to benefit from the additional ride around the circuit bend.

Altering requirements for the controlled stop following

the avoidance exercise

The requirements for the controlled stop following the avoidance exercise will be altered. The first pair of blue cones that currently form the stopping box will be removed for this exercise. The examiner will ask the candidate to stop near the remaining two blue cones. This will allow the candidate a greater length to stop in and also allows flexibility in where they stop. Candidates will still be required to stop under control.

Flexibility of speed assessment

For the high speed manoeuvres, DSA intends to introduce a degree of flexibility into the assessment of the speed requirement. There will be a five per cent tolerance of the speed required. (2 km/h below 50 km/h). Providing the candidate commits no faults other than not reaching the speed within this tolerance, the examiner should record this as a riding fault rather than a serious fault. (A riding fault will contribute to the result of the test. A serious fault would result in failure)

Rider faults

The maximum number of rider faults a successful candidate is allowed will remain at five; the number of attempts allowed for the higher speed exercises will also remain unchanged.


To summarise, these changes are designed to address those aspects the motorcycle industry felt needed to be changed.

The key message is that the exercises will remain the same; it is mainly the order in which they are delivered that will change. This will give candidates more time to settle down and familiarise themselves with the updated layout. This will also give them the opportunity to build up their speed gradually, reducing the risk of candidates riding too fast.

Revised sequence of set exercises for module one

of motorcycle test

manual handling
slow control steering (slalom and figure of eight)
slow ride: this will be observed as the candidate rides to the next exercise
circuit bend and controlled stop carried out between 30 km/h and 50 km/h (about 20 mph to 30 mph) followed by a controlled stop in the area marked by the four blue cones; speed not measured
cornering and emergency stop; speed measured
cornering, avoidance exercise and controlled stop; speed measured
Click on this link to view new diagrams for mod one test as of 16th May 2011

The new motorcycle test

The new motorcycle test aims to improve the standard of road safety for motorcycle and moped riders.

The new test event will contain two elements. The higher speed exercises and other exercises will be tested on safe off-road sites and take about 10 minutes to complete. The accompanied on road element of the test will follow, consisting of a road ride covering a variety of road and traffic conditions and will also include normal stops, hill and angle starts. Candidates who have demonstrated riding skills of a dangerously incompetent level during the off-road part of the test will not be permitted to proceed to the on-road element.

These new exercises include:
At least two exercises carried out at slow speed, including a slalom
At least two exercises carried out at higher speed, of which one exercise should be in second or third gear, at a speed of at least 30 km/h (approx. 19 mph) and one exercise avoiding an obstacle at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (approx. 31 mph)
At least two braking exercises, including an emergency brake at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (approx. 31 mph)

On the day of the test, candidates will be asked by the examiner to demonstrate their riding ability on either the left-hand or right-hand circuit. Please note that the standard off-road layout may change due to local conditions on the casual sites.

Click link below to see the standard layout of the left and right-hand circuits

MMA Dimensions

The practical moped riding test

The practical moped riding test (which does not include the high-speed requirements) will also be carried out from the new test centres, where both the obstacle avoidance and emergency braking exercises will be carried out at 30 km/h (approx. 19 mph).

A test for the drivers of motorcycle and side car combination is also under development.

New Powers to tackle Uninsured Drivers

New powers to tackle uninsured driving will come into force within months, Road Safety Minister Mike Penning announced today.

Under the new powers it will be an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured. Currently every responsible motorist pays an average £30 each year within their premiums to cover crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers. It is also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year.

Mike Penning said: “Uninsured drivers push up premiums for other motorists and often drive with no regard for other road users, so it is vital that we do everything we can to keep them off the roads.

“More than 400 uninsured vehicles are already being seized by the police every day but it is simply not possible to catch every uninsured driver in this way. That is why we are bringing in these new powers which will help us to take targeted action while freeing up police time to deal with the hard core of offenders.”

“Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) will complement and run alongside existing police roadside enforcement, which has already reduced uninsured driving by 20%.”

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DSA to stop publishing questions used in theory tests

  • Candidates need to understand theory
  • End to memorising answers
  • Unpublished questions used from 1 January 2012

The Driving Standards Agency is to stop publishing the multiple choice questions and answers used in theory tests, Road Safety Minister Mike Penning announced today.

This will help to ensure that new drivers learn the principles behind driving theory rather than just learning answers. The move follows the introduction of independent driving into the driving test and the DSA’s decision to stop publishing test routes in October 2010, to make sure the test assesses a learner’s ability to drive and not their capacity to memorise routes.

In September 2011 DSA will change the format of books and other learning materials available to help people prepare for theory tests. This will take place at the same time as more challenging case studies are introduced to car and motorcycle theory tests.
Then, from 1 January 2012, DSA will create theory tests using questions which will not be published. Practice questions and answers, not used in theory tests, will still be available to help candidates with revision.

Other companies which publish products containing DSA theory test questions will also no longer have access to the questions used in the tests.

Independent driving explained

From 4 October 2010, learner drivers will be tested on independent driving as part of the practical driving test.

During their test, candidates will have to drive for about 10 minutes, either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.
To help candidates understand where they’re going, the examiner may show them a diagram.

It doesn’t matter if candidates don’t remember every direction, or if they go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

DVLA finally ends licence debacle

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will now be returning original driving licences (with an invalidating hole punched through the photo) to motorcyclists who request a replacement licence. But not automatically.

You have to request that your old licence is returned.The new procedure has been introduced because a number of motorcyclists had been issued with replacement licences (after moving house or applying for a photo licence) that had ‘lost’ their motorcycle entitlement resulting in them having to retake their bike test simply because they were unable to prove they’d previously held entitlements.

In one case highlighted on the BBC’s Watchdog programme, a long-serving police motorcycle mechanic found that he’d had his entitlement for a category A motorcycle licence removed.

Despite having held a licence for 28 years and written support from his police superiors, he still had to take a new driving test. The decision to return the defaced original licence follows months of lobbying by the BMF and others over the issuing of replacement driving licences to motorcyclists applying for a replacement licence due to change of address, loss, renewal etc, who have then found that their replacement licence has not included the all-important ‘Category A’ motorcycle entitlement.

Previously photocopies or other written evidence of entitlements were unacceptable to the DVLA, but the BMF’s solution, similar to passport renewal, provides proof of entitlement.

Vehicle Registration Certificate becomes more secure

A new, more secure V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate will be introduced from 15 August 2010.

The new registration certificate is being introduced following the theft of a number of blank certificates in 2006. The aim is to reduce the risks to motorists of buying a stolen or cloned vehicle.

The new documents will be issued from 15 August 2010 for all newly registered vehicles and when there are changes to an existing registration, such as a change of keeper or address.

From the middle of next year, the new certificate will be issued to all remaining vehicles when they are re-licensed or declared to be off the road.

The existing blue V5C will remain valid for these vehicles until it is replaced and DVLA will not be asking for the old V5C to be returned.

Find out what’s new about the new registration certificate and get useful tips for when buying a used vehicle.