Kids ‘at risk’ over tougher bike tests

AN O’Connor-based motorcycle instructor has warned that young people are risking their lives by riding mopeds and motorcycles without a licence because the WA government has made testing too onerous.

Under new measures introduced in 2018, riders seeking to obtain a licence must complete a “hazard perception test”, a six-month learning period and a two-year restricted licence phase before attempting the practical test to earn an unrestricted licence. 

While they sound like sure ways to keep riders safe, CR Motorcycle Training owner Cody Russell fears they’re doing more harm than good. 

“People are not studying for the practical riding test because they don’t know if they’ll ever be able to take it,” he said.

Unlicenced

“Unable to go through official channels, people are riding around unlicensed or with L-Permits.”

A 17-year-old moped rider admitted that prior to passing his test, he and many of his friends rode unlicensed due to the difficulty of the test.

“The test is based on impractical situations that you just would not encounter in real life,” he said.

“I had to complete an emergency stop and perform a figure of eight across two lanes in order to change direction.”

Mr Russell believes the increasing difficulty of the practical test is a ploy by the government to keep motorcyclists off the road, but fellow motorcycle instructor Silvio Vincini disagrees. 

“Getting your licence isn’t meant to be easy,” he said. 

“The test has definitely gotten harder, and riders must be more prepared.

“But I think the government just wants riders to be safer, not keep them off the road.”

The new regime aims to reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities relating; according to the Road Safety Commission, 19 motorcyclists have been killed on WA roads so far in 2021, two  riding unlicenced. 

Having been involved in an accident shortly after passing his test, the moped rider said more focus should be given to educating car drivers on the vulnerability of motorbike and moped riders, so they can be more alert to them when sharing the road.

“I’m not saying that the government’s tough rules for motorbike drivers aren’t reasonable,” he said. 

“But I think that other drivers can be at fault for accidents with mopeds. 

“Other drivers have to be especially cautious around them.”

Mr Vincini, who is originally from Italy, also said drivers in Australia were not as considerate and respectful of motorcyclists as European drivers. 

Cautious

“Everyone in Italy either rode a motorbike or knew someone who did,” he said. 

“People would always be more cautious around them.”

Having been an instructor for 13 years, Mr Vincini said it’s become harder to obtain a motorcycle licence, but he believes the more stringent government measures were the right move to keep riders safe.

“One of the biggest changes is that the waiting period between getting an RE class licence and an R class licence is now two years instead of one,” he said.

“But I think riders need that time to become more experienced. 

“At the end of the day, motorcyclists are more woundable and less visible, and I think the Government did the right thing.”

by TRINITY HATCH

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