Motorcycle Industry Concerns about New Test Vindicated by Parliament
By: londonbikers.com | Published 24 March 2010, 19:23 | Views: 1,600 | tags: motorcycle industry, test, new, mci, select committee, report, european, tsc, dsa
The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has today welcomed the publication of a report by the influential Parliamentary Transport Select Committee (TSC) on the new European motorcycle test. The test, which was introduced early in 2009 as a result of European regulations, has been widely criticised by the industry, trainers and riders groups.Implementation of the test involved cutting motorcycle test centre numbers from over 200 sites to under 50 (despite a commitment to provide 66 sites) and the introduction of so called ‘Multi Purpose Test Centres’. The result has been a collapse in test numbers and concerns about the nature of the test and road safety for candidates who now sometimes need to travel long distances to attend a riding test.
The TSC report follows ‘enquiry’ hearings, held in Parliament during October 2009. The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), along with its sister organisation, the Motor Cycle Industry Training Association (MCITA) and riders groups, took an active part in the TSC’s enquiry and appeared before MPs to give evidence.
The TSC has been damning in its assessment of the Driving Standards Agency’s (DSA) handling of the new test and has said that The Government’s decision to introduce large Multi Purpose Test Centres
(MPTCs) and close down many small, convenient motorcycle test sites was unjustified. The Committee concluded that the implementation of the new MPTCs was ‘bungled’. The Committee also concluded that it is unacceptable that the Driving Standards Agency failed to get all 66 planned centres operational, inconveniencing motorcyclists and trainers and driving up the cost of doing a test.
Launching the report, Transport Select Committee Chair, Louise Ellman MP said,
“many candidates and trainers now have to travel too far for their motorcycle test. This adds to the cost , and in some cases, exposes candidates to fast and dangerous roads on the way to a test site — before they have even taken their test. The Driving Standards Agency needs to give much greater priority to customer service and convenience for test candidates and trainers.”In its report, MPs conclude that the Driving Standards Agency was slow and dogmatic in its approach to test centres, failing to listen adequately to the motorcycle industry. Smaller test sites could have been retained, saving millions of pounds. No other country in Europe has found it necessary to build ‘super test sites’.
Steve Kenward, MCI’s CEO said:
“The industry strongly welcomes the TSC’s report, which we feel has totally vindicated the industry’s position on the new test, in particular the inept introduction of new test centres. Even now, the number of test centres is lamentably low and we call on Government to deal with the issue as a matter of urgency, or consider changing test requirements to allow a less restrictive definition of what a test site should offer.
“The test centre issue has been enormously damaging to the DSA whose actions have threatened training businesses and risked the credibility of the test itself. This, coupled with the industry and motorcycle community’s strong concerns about the DSA’s approach to further EC regulations on motorcycle testing and training, means that we renew our call for decisions on headline motorcycling training and testing policy to be returned to the direct control of Ministers and senior officials at the DfT in London.”
“The Select Committee called for the DSA to work more closely with and take more seriously the views of the motorcycle industry and trainers. We strongly supportthis call and feel that many problems with the new test could have been avoided if this had previously been the case. We call on the Government to take greater notice of industry, trainer and rider group views as we approach the implementation of further EC regulations.”