04/12/2008

Motorbiker Minister Launches Test

A Stormont Minister who is well known for his passion for motorcycling has today leapt into the saddle to test drive a new NI test for motorcyclists.

It was launched by Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson, who has several bikes himself, and even fell foul of the law recently when he was prosecuted for keeping one of them on the road without a valid MoT test - while he was taking it for a pre-MoT repair. However, today's changes in the way two-wheel road users are required to qualify for a licence are all aimed at better safety on the roads.

In order to obtain a full licence, motorcyclists will, from 8 December, have to pass one more test, making a total of three – a theory test, a motorcycle manoeuvres test and a practical on-road test.

Previously motorcyclists have had to pass the theory test and an on-road test.

Mr Wilson, a keen motorcyclist, welcomed the new manoeuvres test.
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The Minister said: "It is important that motorcyclists are fully equipped for the challenges they will face on the road. The new motorcycle manoeuvres test will enable examiners to test core skills in an off-road environment."

The manoeuvres test is being introduced by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) as a result of a European Directive.

The new test will last approximately 30 minutes and will consist of a slow riding exercise, with the candidate riding alongside the examiner at walking pace; a slalom and figure of eight exercise; walking and ridden 'U' turn exercises and use of the motorcycle stands.

The test will also involve a curve, ridden in second or third gear at a minimum speed of at least 30 km/h (18.75mph) as well as a combined avoidance and braking exercise at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (31.25mph) and finally, an emergency braking exercise at a minimum speed of 50 km/h (31.25 mph).

The Minister said that the manoeuvres test will be available at DVA centres in Ballymena; Craigavon; Downpatrick; Londonderry; Mallusk and Omagh.

(BMcC)

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