Bikers stage test centre protest

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Bikers stage test centre protest

Post by Admin on Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:17 am

A convoy of bikers from mid and west Wales has ridden to Swansea to protest at a lack of centres where riders can take the new motorcycle test.
They say there are only three Welsh centres - Bangor in Gwynedd, Swansea and Newport - which leaves many novices with lengthy journeys to take the exam.
Protesters travelled from Pembroke Dock, Aberystwyth and Storey Arms.
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) said the centres' locations were in places that best met the demand for tests.
Saturday's demonstration, which was joined by about 30 bikers, was organised by the Welsh region of The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).
The new two-part test was introduced in late April.
Part one includes new manoeuvres which must be carried out at speeds of between 30 and 50 km/h and can only be done at one of the DSA's centres.
Campaigner Phil McFadden, from Pembroke Dock, said: "We feel particularly aggrieved in Wales because we know of only three test centres.
Remote areas
"Our biggest concern is people are riding too far to take these tests and by the time they get there they are worn out.
"Far from improving the safety of new riders the difficulties and added expenditure of the new test risks alienating riders from remote areas.
"There will be delays in taking tests and the consequent frustration may lead to illegal riding among those for whom the difficulties and added expense prove too great a barrier," he added.
The bikers were meeting at the services at junction 47 off the M4 near Swansea and riding through Morriston and Landore to arrive at the DSA centre off Fabian Way at midday.
The DSA said the UK had to comply with a European Directive which introduced changes to the way learner motorcyclists were tested.
A spokeswoman said: "Following a major consultation and with the support of the motorcycle industry it was agreed, for road safety reasons, these new manoeuvres should not be carried out not on public roads but at a network of multi-purpose test centres (MPTCs).
More sites
"When it started to look for locations, DSA established accessibility criteria that most candidates should be able to reach a motorcycling test facility within 45 minutes, travelling no more than 20 miles.
"A key factor was the requirement to establish sites which provided the best geographical coverage for most test candidates and would be used effectively, based on demand for tests.
"It therefore follows that areas with a low population density were not main search locations.
"Nationally, for the module 1 test, 88% of the population is now able to reach a testing facility within 45 minutes/20 miles.
"There are 66 locations offering the module 1 tests, including casual-use and weekend-only sites. DSA is still looking for further permanent locations."
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