As details of new motorcycle licence test arrangements for late 2008 are finalised by the Government, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) is launching a major campaign to encourage people to take up motorcycling and get their full licence.
Driven by European legislation, The Second European Driving Licence Directive, or 2DLD, will come into force in September 2008 and will introduce new elements to motorcycle testing and training.
Despite the fact that motorcyclists are already the best trained non vocational road users in Britain, there will be an additional element to the current practical test, in the form of a new manoeuvring test at 'super test centres' which the government is currently building around the country.
The new manoeuvres, including the slalom, figure of eight, hazard avoidance and cornering skills, will all be tested during the new off road test.
Whilst the new elements to the bike test will help riders understand more about the capabilities of their machines, there is concern about the additional expense to take the test, the increased cost of training and the fact that the number of test centres across the country will significantly reduce.
With the prospect of facing longer waiting lists for tests and possibly more expensive training, many would-be motorcyclists are likely to take their test over the next two summers before the new legislation comes into effect.
MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said: "The last time major changes to the motorcycle test were brought in, back in 1997, we saw a huge rise in the number of people taking their test before the changes came into force and a reduction immediately after the changes. We expect history to repeat itself.
"These European directives pose challenges to the industry, but there are also great opportunities. Our aim is to assist forward planning and to improve knowledge about these directives, so the industry and riders are better placed to prepare for the changing motorcycling environment.
"Over the coming months, we plan to raise awareness about the 2DLD legislation and promote the benefits of getting on two wheels in order to motivate those who don't have a full motorcycle licence to get one now."
For more information please visit www.takeyourbiketestnow.co.uk.