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BikeWise 2019

BikeWise 2019

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Now learners can split new test

Learners will be able to take the two parts of a new motorcycle test on different days following an announcement by roads minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

From April 27 new riders must pass a ‘manoeuvres’ examination at new test centres as well as an on-road riding section. Fitzpatrick’s announcement means they won’t have to cram both into a single appointment.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) had faced criticism for building too few of the new ‘multipurpose’ test centres and accused of asking learners to ride hundreds of miles to the nearest one.

Yesterday’s announcement also means candidates can do the on-road part at an existing test centre without having to travel to a new one.

Fitzpatrick said the move would “provide more delivery options, from a greater number of locations, enabling better utilisation of the current test centre estate and thereby offering improved geographic coverage”.

“It will offer an improved level of customer service for motorcycling candidates and reduce the travel-to-test distance for some candidates,” he said.

Rider groups welcomed the news but pointed out the manoeuvres part would still have to be done at one of the limited number of new test centres.

Chris Hodder, of the British Motorcyclists Federation, said: “There’s still going to be large parts of the country where people will have to travel a long way.”

Hodder also attacked DSA plans to charge £10.50 more for the new test, after already putting the price up by £20 in September to cover the extra cost.

The charge went from £60 to £80 at the end of September, when the new test was originally supposed to come in. The introduction of the test itself was deferred by six months due to a lack of test centres but the DSA did not do the same with the new fee intended to pay for it.

Now bookings for the new test taken from March 30 will cost £90.50.

Hodder said: “It’s a 50% increase within a year.”