If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 14 January 2013

Another day, another IAM poll

The latest IAM poll is about restrictions on young drivers.  The Association of British Insurers wants to see more restrictions in place - graduated licences, bans on night-time driving, number of passengers, and so on.

As motorcyclists, we have put up with graduated licences for many years now, and although as a liberty-minded chap I am never in favour of more state control of our lives, I would say that generally they have been a Good Thing.  The days when you could turn 17, buy a 100 mph 2-stroke road rocket the same day, pass a ludicrously easy test, and then without any instruction whatever jump onto a bike of any size and power are long gone, and perhaps rightly so.  These days, you have to start small and work your way up.  It's expensive, and there are a lot of very difficult hoops to jump through before you can throw away the L-plates and ride off into the sunset on your new hyperbike - hoops which may involve the selling and purchase of three or four bikes of increasing size and power before a full licence is granted.  If I am honest, today's new riders are far better trained than we oldies ever were, and probably better protected from their own foolishness.

For a youngster to get a car licence is much easier.  A theory test which can be learned parrot-fashion, a reasonable test of your basic abilities, and off you go.  One day, you have never driven without someone sensible sitting beside you, have never driven on a motorway, and have probably never driven after dark or in bad weather. The next, you can fill your car with six drunken mates and drive up the M6 to a rave, in a car which could legally be anything from a banger to a Bugatti Veyron.

Perhaps a more graduated approach to getting the freedom of the road would be a good thing.

Anyway, let them know what you think.  As always, the IAM want as much input as possible, so fill your boots.  You don't have to be a member, ect ect.

The poll is here.


  1. Put my tuppence in. Like you I think young drivers should start small and practice, practice practice before progressing up to more powerful machines. But then I'm an old fogy driving an old Micra who thinks cars just get you from A to B.

    1. SBML, that's what cars are for! Bikes are for fun, cars are for utility.

      Seriously, I work with a lot of young people (I am the old fogey there) and the number who have rolled or written off cars is staggering. And I think the girls are worse than the boys. The modern bike test is quite a good model for an enhanced car test, I think. For one thing, it seems to be designed to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to get your licence, and that may be a good thing for car drivers too. A 2000 kg car can do a lot more damage than a 200 kg bike.

  2. Maybe everyone should have to spend a year on two wheels before being allowed a car provisional licence.

    They'd learn (sometimes the hard way) to become more-aware of their surroundings, the weather, and road surfaces; than when surrounded by air-bags, cocooned in a roll-cage, and having 360-degree protection to protect them from the consequences of their own misjudgements.

    1. Couldn't agree more, Joe. Lots of extra awareness of road conditions and hazards, and also more awareness of the particular issues faced by riders of two-wheeled vehicles. Win-win, but it won't happen.

  3. So where exactly is that rave up the M6? I quite fancy a night out...

  4. Place called Nikos World, or something. It was on Facebook. Loads coming; it'll be a laugh. See you there.

  5. The bike test has some good ideas.
    In particular manouvering and control tested offroad before going on road.
    The practical test should include all types of road and night driving.
    Restricting size and power of vehicle for a year better than time of day restrictions.

    1. I'd agree that there is some good stuff in the 'new' bike test. It's certainly way better than what was there before, which was OK for empty roads and bikes with 30 bhp were a schoolboy's wet dream. But they seem intent on making it so expensive, and so difficult to do (reducing the test centres to a small number of regional ones, for example) that one might almost thing they are trying to discourage motorcyclists from even starting. That couldn't be true, of course. Oh no.


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