Save the Isle of Wight Motorcycle Testing Centre

The Isle of Wight is threatened with the loss of its motorcycle testing centre under proposals to deliver the new motorcycle test which will be introduced in October 2008. The new test includes brake and swerve manoeuvres at 50 kph which equates to 31 mph.

Most of the current 225 test centres are within 30 mph urban environments and it would be impracticable to travel to 40 mph areas in order to conduct the tests. As a result 65 multi purpose test centres, (MPTC’s), are to be built across the UK. Each site requires an area of 2.5 acres and each will cost in the region of £1.5m to develop.

The Driving Standards Agency, (DSA), is the body responsible for the development of the new sites and the early indications are that it would be uneconomic to develop a site on the Isle of Wight. This is based on the low volume of motorcyclists who are taking their test, (263 in 2005/6) and the high cost of developing a suitable site on the island.

If the Isle of Wight loses it’s one and only motorcycle test centre it will mean that motorcyclists wanting to take their tests will have to take a ferry crossing to the mainland which takes 50 minutes, not counting check in times, at a minimum cost of about £24 for a return fare for a bike and rider. The motorcyclist will then have to travel to the nearest MPTC on the mainland.

The nearest site on the mainland has yet to be decided. If the biker is to take a direct access test then he or she will have to accompanied by a trainer increasing the cost significantly.

The situation in which the Isle of Wight finds itself highlights a UK wide problem in that some remote areas like Scotland and Wales will not have a MPTC within a reasonable travelling distance. The DSA state that most motorcyclists will not have to make a journey which would take longer than 45 minutes in time or 20 miles in distance to get to an MPTC. Clearly if the Isle of Wight were to lose its testing centre then this would not be the case.

MAG is in discussions with ministers, the DSA the Motor Industry Training Association, (MIRTA), and other stakeholders to seek a solution to the problem. We need you to help with the campaign.

MAG will be organising ride outs and meets to raise the public profile of this campaign.

Details will be circulated on this web page.