Major changes to the motorcycle driving licence rules mean that from January 19 next, the minimum age for a full motorcycle test is being raised to 19 years and learner riders can no longer do their motorcycle test on a125cc machine to gain their full motorcycle licence.
Brian McGirr of BMG Motorcycle Training, Coa, Enniskillen, said it would have a profound effect on teenagers wanting to ride motorcycles on the road.
Brian and his wife, Aideen set up the training centre as a diversification project but because of market demands, they have gone full-time, now providing Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists.
He explained that from January 19, 2013, motorcycle licence rules and minimum test vehicles requirements are being introduced as a result of the European third licensing directive.
"The EU-wide rules aim to improve motorcycle safety by ensuring that motorcyclists gain access to more powerful-motorcycles by means of experience and/or age," he said.
The changes are; - The minimum age to ride over 125cc has been raised from 17 years to 19 years.
- Learner riders can no longer do a motorcycle test on a 125cc to gain their full motorcycle licence.
- Riders are no longer restricted to 45mph for 12 months after they pass their test.
There are several parts of the new regulations. For what is known as Progressive Access, learner riders must be over 19 and have a CBT certificate for the relevant category of test and pass the motorcycle theory and practical tests (both off road and on road) on a bike with a minimum engine size of 395cc/have a engine power output of at between 25kw(33bhp) and 35kw(46.6bhp). After two years experience on a medium size motorcycle (minimum age 21), riders can then do their test on a full powered bike.
By the Direct Access method, learner riders must be over 24 and have a CBT cert for the relevant category of test and pass the motorcycle theory and practical tests (both off road and on road) on a bike with a minimum engine size of 595cc/have a engine power output of at least 40kw(53.6bhp). A Suzuki Gladius 650cc will be one of the motorcycles they could undertake their test on after January 19 2013.
There are also changes to the test to include 60mph roads.
The Driver and Vehicle Agency of the Department of the Environment, has also highlighted the changes in a new brochure.
They explain how under the new rules, there will be four categories for motorcycles, mopeds and tricycles. AM covers mopeds with maximum speeds of 28mph where the minimum age is 16; A1 for motorcycles up to 125cc with a minimum age of 17, A2 for motorcycles up to 35KW where the minimum age is 19 years and A for unrestricted motorcycles above 35KW. Learner riders of medium-sized and large motorcycles must be accompanied by an approved motorcycle insructor at all times when on the public road.