Letter: Motorbikes cause less pollution than cars yet their tests in Northern Ireland cost more
For many years, it has been more expensive to learn to ride a motorcycle than to drive a car because of the extra practical manoeuvres test a novice rider must undergo which can only be carried out on purpose-built tracks which are only available at a few DVA (Driver Vehicle Agency) testing centres across the country.
Apart from the added expense compared to car testing, this also leads to long journeys to and from those special tracks for many novice riders.
From October 1 2023, the DVA Northern Ireland is increasing all practical driving test fees and vehicle test fees. The new charges, along with the £23 theory test fee, will mean a novice rider will have to pay £148 (at the weekday rate) to complete their licence tests.
When you add on the cost of Compulsory Basic Training, this total can rise to £300+. By comparison, a novice car driver will pay only £88 (weekday rate) for their licence tests. As usual, no reason has been given why motorcycle testing costs so much more than car testing. Neither is there any explanation why a motorcycle MOT test increases by over 50% to £34 (£4.35 more than the rate in GB) yet a car MOT test, by comparison, only increases by about 26% to £38 which is £16.85 below the current Great Britain rate.
Motorcycles are an accepted form of sustainable, economical, low-impact, low-pollution and congestion-beating form of transport relied upon by many for daily commuting to work and places of learning. In fact, almost 50% of NI riders use their ‘bikes for commuting to work or college and a number of local authorities in GB actively include motorcycles in their transport strategies, yet the DVA in Northern Ireland is actively penalising us.
This is blatant discrimination against motorcyclists based on our choice of transport and this institutionalised robbery of Northern Ireland’s motorcyclists will not go unchallenged.
Martyn Boyd, NI Rep for Motorcycle Action Group UK, www.mag-uk.org