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Page last updated at 06:12 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 07:12 UK
Bikers complain about new test
By Tamasin Ford
Newsbeat reporter

Vickki Huntley
Vickki Huntley said the new test is going to be an uphill struggle
There are fears changes to the motorbike test will price new bikers off the road.

Motorbike groups have told Newsbeat the test, which is introduced in September across England, Wales and Scotland, is going be too expensive and is not being offered in enough places.

Officials say it will make the roads safer.

Mum of two Tracey Huntley from Axminster in Devon has just passed her test. She is one of thousands trying to get it done before 29 September.

She said: "I just feel sorry for everyone else now. I've managed to do it thank goodness but it's going to price people out."

New law

A new European law will mean, for the first time, the tests have to include off road manoeuvres.

Officials say it will make the roads safer, but the problem is they can only be done at new super test centres.

Only 60 of these are being built, compared to the 200 already being used around the country at the moment.

Of those 60, only 38 are ready to use. Bikers, like Tracey, are worried it's going to cost too much for people to get to them.

She said: "Closing down so many test centres is going to be hard for people. If they've got to travel a 100 miles plus to go to a test centre and then have to do it two or three times, that's a lot of money."

'Uphill struggle'

Motorbikes
Some fear the new tests will force bikers off the road

Tracey's daughter Vickki is also a biker. She works at a local butchers in Dawlish.

She has done her Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) but to be able to ride a bigger bike, she now has to do her full test.

She added: "You know, for people like me who struggle to get by in life and need a bike to get to work and stuff, it's just going to be an uphill struggle."

Vickki says the changes to the test and the closure of so many centres has made her think twice about doing it.

"Itís put me right off," she explained. "I'm going to stick on a 125 for a couple of years."

Safe roads

Motorcyclists make up 1% of road users but 20% of the casualties. Officials say this new test is all about changing that.

Rosemary Thew, from the Driving Standards Agency, said: "This revised test is designed to make motorcyclists safer on the roads. I don't think therefore that it is something that is to be other than welcomed."

The DSA said it has seen an increase in the number of people applying for tests. Biker groups and instructors say it's because people are rushing to get them done before the changes come into force in September.

Rosemary Thew said they are only trying to make the roads safer for everyone.

I want to get a big bike but with these new rules and regulations it's put me right off it and scared me half to death
Vickki Huntley
She added: "It is a bit perverse if people are trying to get their test done before these new safety measures come in because frankly, they're designed to improve their safety on the road."

But itís still put some people, like Vickki, off going through with it all.

She said: "I was up for doing my big bike test because I'm a biker. I want to get a big bike but with these new rules and regulations it's put me right off it and scared me half to death."

Others, like Vickkiís boyfriend Rory Brownlow, are worried itís going to force bikers off the roads.

He said: "I think sooner or later the bike trade is going to die because people wont want to do it because it will be too expensive won't it really."

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