The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has confirmed that vanishing motorcycle licence entitlements are thankfully rare. MAG asked the DVLA questions following recent news stories of a motorcyclist being denied a licence for over three years thanks to a mistake they made.
The story of the three-year wait to resolve a mistake and the compensation received by Paul Olsen was covered on a number of media outlets in early January. Coverage appeared in MCN, VisorDown, The Sun, and Metro. This coverage led to MAG receiving emails from concerned riders. The need for Mr Olson to resort to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman to get the case resolved is certainly not a good look for the DVLA.
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said:
“Unsurprisingly, losing your right to ride your motorcycle due to an administrative error is not a situation that riders want to face. Stories often surface of riders finding their motorcycle entitlement left off when their licence has been renewed. We thought it was reasonable, therefore, to contact the DVLA to establish how common a problem this is, and what a rider should do if they find this happens to them.”
The response from the DVLA states:
“The DVLA has a range of measures in place to ensure our records are accurate, and mistakes are rare…. Since August 2019 there have been two cases where a driver has written in to the DVLA to lodge a complaint about an alleged missing motorcycle entitlement. Neither complaint was upheld.”
The letter also explained:
“If a driver thinks that they are missing an entitlement from their current driving licence they will need to return their driving licence to, ODL Casework Team, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ. The driver will need to include a covering letter which should contain what entitlement is missing, when the test was passed and provide the DVLA with as much information as possible along with any evidence they hold. We would also advise customers to take a copy of their driving licence for their own records before sending it in to the Agency. We will then be able to carry out thorough investigations of the enquirer’s driver record.”
Stories such as Mr Olsen’s are not new and often crop up on online forums. There was even an investigation carried out by the BBC’s Watchdog programme in 2009.
In conclusion, Colin Brown said:
“I have no doubt that similar stories will periodically appear. Of course, the rarity of these errors is what makes them newsworthy when they do happen. We do not know why the two most recent complaints were not upheld, and the delays in resolving the Paul Olsen case seem to have been unnecessary. The key is to check your licence and make sure you keep a copy of it if you ever need to send it back to the DVLA for any reason. We are happy to hear from any riders who have been personally affected, whether in the past or going forward. We are here to help riders maintain their access to legal and responsible riding.”