New Rules and relevent information

Changes to rules for motorcycles used for riding tests

The European Union Commission is to introduce new rules for motorcycles that can be used on test. They are due to come into effect at the end of 2013.

An amendment to the Third Driving Licence Directive will change the existing criteria. (Further details)

For Category A it increases engine power from 40kW (approx 54 bhp) to 50 kW (approx 67 bhp). It also includes a minimum weight of 180 kg unladen mass weight. We understand from the Commission that this means “kerb weight”. The change means that the range of motorcycles available will reduce. We estimate that around 10% of vehicles listed against the existing Third Driving Licence Directive minimum test vehicle (MTV) requirements for Category A will be affected.

We did not support this change at such a late stage and raised concerns about the impact this would have on the industry. However, we were in the minority seeking a longer period for implementation from the Commission, and we have not been able to secure any longer period than the end of 2013.

It is still possible the Commission’s plans will change as they are subject to EU Council and European Parliament approval.

The changes to the rules decrease the minimum kW output for A2 motorcycles from 25kW (approx 33.5 bph) to 20 KW (approx 27bph) which will increase the range of motorcycles available. The earliest these changes will come into effect will also be the end of 2013. So there will be a period when the more restrictive provisions of the original directive (for example the 25kW minimum engine power for medium sized motorcycles) take effect before the amendments are put in place.

In summary:

  • the rules for categories A2 and A have been updated to confirm the 5cc tolerance on engine capacity
  • a power to weight ratio (as distinct from engine displacement) to cater for electric motorcycles is included; and
  • a change to the minimum engine power (kW) for medium sized motorcycles (Category A2) with a decrease from 25 kW to 20kW;and
  • a change for the largest of motorcycles (Category A) with an increase from 40kW to 50 kW. For Category A, the directive also includes a minimum weight of 180 kg unladen mass weight)

Changes to rules for motorcycles used for riding tests table

Licence category Min. speed (km/h) Engine displacement(cm3)* Power to weight ratio if powered by an electric motor Power (kW)**
Min. Max. Min. Max.
AM 4
A1 90kph Min 120 0.08 0.1 11
A2 *** Min 395 0.15 0.2 20 35
A **** Min 595 0.25 50

Motorcycle test and training

The Department is reviewing the motorcycle test and is working with trainers and rider groups to consider alternative ways of providing a motorcycle test that maintains UK riding standards and improves accessibility and safety of the test candidates, while meeting the requirements of the European Directive. The aim is to devise changes to the motorcycle test that will enable us to deliver a single event test that can be carried out on the road, as far as possible, in all parts of Great Britain.

Meanwhile, the existing module one manoeuvres test was amended on 16 May 2011, to address some of the concerns raised in the review about the content of the test, in existing locations.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is also taking forward broader improvements to the way the motorcycle training is delivered, to ensure that riders are equipped to ride safely and to raise standards in the training industry. This is in line with similar moves regarding car driver training.

Subject to these trials, there will be a public consultation on any proposals for changing the motorcycle test, with the aim to implement a new test during Winter 2012/13.

THINK! motorcycling

The THINK! motorcycling strategy aims to create empathy between car drivers and motorcyclists, whilst at the same time raising awareness about the steps that can be taken by both parties to avoid crashes. Car drivers are encouraged to notice motorcyclists on the road by thinking more about the person riding the motorcycle.

Motorcyclists are encouraged to take steps to manage and reduce their own personal risk through wearing appropriate safety gear and taking up further training. The latest THINK! campaign ‘named riders’ aims to raise awareness of motorcyclists by humanising them in the eyes of drivers.

Research shows that empathy with motorcyclists is important. Drivers with relatives who ride motorcycles have been reported to have fewer collisions with motorcyclists and have better observation skills in regard to motorcycles.

Motorcycle helmets

SHARP, the safety helmet assessment and rating programme, tests and rates motorcycle helmets to a higher safety standard than the basic CE standard they all must meet. The SHARP rating system helps riders make a more informed choice when choosing a helmet.