New MAG report recommends full review of motorcycle licencing regime.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has published a new report recommending a full review of the motorcycle licencing regime.  MAG claims that the licencing regime is delaying the age at which new riders pass a full test, resulting in higher young rider casualty rates.  The analysis also raises significant questions about the lack of data on CBT riders.

motorcycle licencing regime

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, collaborated with Dr. Jessica Andersson-Hudson of Lund University on the analysis.  The study revealed that the peak age for attaining a full motorcycle licence in Great Britain is 24.  This compares unfavourably with the equivalent peak age of 17 for car driving licences.

Full licence status confers no advantage other than the privilege of removing L plates for young riders below the age of 19. Young riders wanting to ride larger capacity bikes will often delay getting a full licence until the age of 24.  For riders whose ambition is to commute on a 125cc motorcycle there is no justification for the cost of obtaining a full licence.  The analysis provides evidence to confirm the fears.

The study reveals that for every five CBT certificates issued, just one full licence is achieved.  MAG believes that many new riders simply abandon riding in favour of less environmentally friendly cars.

Colin Brown comments:

“There is little evidence to fall back on with respect to CBT riders.  We have no way of knowing how many riders are currently riding on L plates, nor how often they choose to renew their CBT.  We are recommending more research is done into this area, but it is beyond the resources of MAG to fund it.  I would like to see Government funding being offered to allow this work to be done.”

As well as the suppression of the numbers riding motorcycles, the safety impacts of the current regime are also revealed by the report.  The analysis shows that young riders account for 28% of all motorcycle casualties.  The figure is 18% for young drivers.  The comparison normalises for the relative safety of the two modes, but clearly shows that young riders are more likely to suffer than young drivers.  The connection to the proportion of unqualified young riders seems hard to refute.

Colin concluded:

“I don’t claim to have all the answers on how to improve the current regime.  But I do think this study reveals that there is a genuine and pressing need for change.  We want better safety outcomes from the system.  Also, we need to remove entry barriers to motorcycling.  As a transport mode it offers a real solution for reducing transport congestion and emissions.  It’s time to accentuate the benefits, not suppress them.”