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TfL and other organisations call on the Government to strengthen basic motorcyclist training

TfL, motorcycling organisations, road safety charities and other transport authorities sign letter calling on the Government to improve compulsory basic training for motorcyclists.

  • Urgent action is needed to achieve the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury from the transport network by 2041 and improving motorcycle training plays a large part in achieving it 

Transport for London (TfL), the Motorcycle Industry Association, the National Motorcyclists Council, and other transport authorities and road safety charities are calling on the Government to make changes to Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for motorcycles to strengthen safety standards and reduce danger on roads.

Current CBT for motorcycles and mopeds, which enables people as young as 17 to ride motorcycles up to the national speed limit with L-plates after one day of training and without a theory test, was developed more than 30 years ago. 

People riding motorcycles face the greatest likelihood of death or serious injury of anyone driving on the roads. In London, people riding motorcycles, mopeds and scooters represent only 2.6 per cent of vehicle kilometres driven, but tragically have accounted for around 27 per cent of deaths and serious injuries over the last five years. On average, around 1,000 people are killed or seriously injured riding motorcycles in London, with the most frequently injured being riders on low-powered bikes and scooters who are riding on L-plates.

The letter calls on the Government to introduce:

  • powers to revoke CBT certificates or take other measures for learner riders who have accrued six penalty points
  • restrictions limiting learners who complete their CBT course on a machine with automatic transmission to riding an automatic machine
  • a combined CBT and DAS instructor qualification assessment
  • changes to the CBT syllabus, including requiring instructors to ensure trainees are appropriately dressed
  • a theory test as part of or prior to CBT

Strengthening CBT would be a positive step to ensure safer motorcycling across the UK. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Department for Transport (DfT) held a consultation regarding changes to motorcycle training in 2017. There was very strong support for the proposals in the consultation document, including 85 per cent of respondents supporting changes to the CBT syllabus, 83 per cent agreeing that trainee riders should take a theory test before attending a CBT assessment, and 84 per cent agreeing that the Secretary of State should have powers to revoke a CBT certificate.

In London, TfL is working in partnership with the food delivery industry specifically to improve safety for their riders and other road users. TfL believes better training for motorcycle riders is crucial and therefore offers a range of free enhanced motorcycle training courses, including the Beyond Compulsory Basic Training course aimed at delivery riders. This work also includes a partnership with the Met Police to deliver BikeSafe training.

Lilli Matson, TfL's Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer, yesterday said:

“People are tragically losing their lives in avoidable motorcycle collisions, which all too often also injure or kill other road users, including people walking and cycling. Motorcycle riders already account for a high number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads. The training requirements for people to be able to legally ride motorcycles is inadequate in preparing them to handle the hazards likely to be encountered on the road. It is vital that more is done to stop these preventable deaths and injuries and we ask that this matter is given urgent attention.

“Every death or serious injury on the roads is one too many, which is why our Vision Zero approach is so important. We hope that our calls will encourage the Government to take action to improve compulsory basic training and help to eliminate death and serious injury on our roads.”

Tony Campbell, CEO, MCIA, yesterday said:

"I stand with the letter signatories in expressing our collective concern for road safety and the need to improve CBT. Although it is disheartening that despite the widespread support, the recommended changes proposed by DVSA following the "Improving Moped and Motorcycle Training" consultation have yet to be implemented, together, we can strive for safer roads and the well-being of all road users.

“The time has come for the Government to listen and act. Let us work hand in hand to bring about the necessary updates and improvements to CBT, ensuring a safer and more inclusive future for moped, motorcycle and other powered light vehicle users across the nation."

NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch, yesterday said:

“The changes we call for in our joint letter today were agreed by Government several years ago and their introduction is long overdue. We urge the Secretary of State and the Department for Transport to commence work to implement this positive and potentially life-saving legislation.”

Notes to Editors

  • The letter to Government can be found here 
  • Data on motorcyclist casualties from the past five years can be found here 
  • Results from the 2017 DVSA and DfT consultation regarding changes to motorcycle training can be found here


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