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Motorbike riders taking their test after October 2008 will be required to sit the new Practical Test. The new two-part test is intended to be tougher than the older test and includes an eight minute machine run, where the rider has to show certain practical skills on a specially designed test centre facility. We’ve been along to sample the new test so any new riders will know what to expect.

The new test, introduced by the EU and rolled out by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in the UK, isn’t without controversy. Riders will be expected to complete a new ‘swerve and braking manoeuvre’ which some instructors have labelled ‘dangerous’. In a bid to curb reckless riding, the new, tougher exam tests your bike skills for eight minutes. If you fail, you’re unlikely to be put forward for the ‘on-the-road’ test. How this will affect your motorbike insurance policy is unclear as yet.

The new addition to the test that has caused such controversy is explained below:

If you’re a new rider on a 125cc bike or above, you’ll have to accelerate to 50kph (approx 31mph), swerve around a cone, then brake hard in an ‘emergency stop’ manoeuvre. This is currently being reviewed by the DSA however, with test runs showing that a re-think on the minimum speed for the swerve may need to take place as it may prove too difficult for novices to pull off. The new move is intended to replicate a rider’s response to a car emerging from a side road – the most common type of car/bike collision according to motorbike insurance companies and official figures.

What’s caused even more concern amongst UK instructors is the fact that other EU nations have separated the ‘swerve’ and ‘brake’ manoeuvres into two separate parts of the test, whereas they are combined into one for the UK test – making it harder for beginner riders to complete.

Concerns have also been raised over the DSA’s plans to build 70 new motorcycle test centres and make sure all 250 bike instructors are well versed in the new test requirements before the changes to the law take place.

The New Test at a Glance

  • Novice riders take CBT Part 1 & receive a certificate if they pass.
  • New eight minute bike control test – takes place off the public highway at a designated test centre.
  • Rider must accelerate to 50kmp and undertake ‘swerve and brake’ manoeuvre. This simulates a rider’s response to a car emerging from a side road.
  • Feet-up slow riding section – taking at least 10 seconds to cover ten metres.
  • Safely park your bike after pushing it backwards around a corner.
  • Figure of eight and zig-zag manoeuvres through a cone section.
  • Emergency stop simulation.
  • A dangerous piece of riding during this eight minute run or serious failure off-road means the on-road test will be cancelled.

Rookie riders may want to swat up for the new test and if you’re a young male rider, you may want to check out the latest online motorbike insurance prices, so you’re fully prepared and raring to go!

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