Motorcycle handling test provides more precise testing of capabilities, moped theory test turns out to be challenging

10/4/18, 4:00 PM

The reforms to driving instruction brought changes also in the acquisition of mopeds and motorbikes licences. Four out of five people pass the new motorcycle handling test on their first attempt. Only around one third of people, however, pass the moped theory test first time.

The new motorbike handling tests were taken into use at the start of the driving season in April. This new handling test has already been taken by around 8500 people. Between April and August 2018, 82% of first-time examinees passed the motorcycle handling test, compared to 90% for first-timers taking the test in 2017.

“It was feared that the reformed handling tests would be too difficult for beginner drivers, but now, half a year on, the situation is looking good. Pass rates for the handling test have dropped somewhat, but it is not a radical reduction when compared to last summer, and now the areas emphasised in the handling tests – control of the motorbike and the driver’s preparedness for different kinds of traffic situations – are being more precisely tested”, emphasises Advisor Marjo Immonen.

Over 7700 motorbike in-traffic driving tests were carried out between January and August 2018, which is almost as many as during the same period last year. Of those taking the light motorcycle licence driving test (A1 licence) in July and August, 72% passed on the first attempt, while those applying for the unrestricted motorbike A licence passed first time in 94% of cases.

Professional teaching supports the acquisition of licences for two-wheeled vehicles – pass percentages for driving instruction permit students are lower

For two wheeled vehicles, there is no sign of the changes in pass rate levels of driving instruction permit students that have been seen for those seeking personal car driving licences. Pass rates for A1 licence driving tests were clearly different for those that received instruction with a driving instruction permit compared to those that received professional instruction. The pass rate for first timers who had received professional instruction was 75%, while the pass rate for driving instruction permit students was only 59%. For 2017 the corresponding pass rates were 77% and 64%.

The percentage of those obtaining a motorcycle licence through a driving instruction permit has increased steadily in recent years. Following the changes to the law, this percentage now stands at 11%, compared to 10% for last year and 8% for the year before. The percentage of those acquiring a moped licence through a driving instruction permit has been around 5% in recent years.

“It is worth noting that, for moped and motorcycle licences, there is no sign of the changes in pass rate levels of driving instruction permit students that have been seen for those seeking personal car driving licences. It would seem that professional teaching contributes towards success in both moped and light motorcycle driving tests. It is probable that the learning of the particular skills for controlling two-wheeled vehicles and moving around in traffic requires absorbing the kind of know-how that is best obtained through professional instruction”, Immonen suggests.

In the light motorcycle theory test, in contrast, the driving instruction permit students succeeded better than those that had received professional instruction. Driving instruction permit students passed on the first attempt 70% of the time, while the pass rate for those receiving professional instruction was 59%. Before the reforms, around 90% passed first time regardless of the form of instruction.

Reformed moped theory test is more demanding

For mopeds, as for all other vehicle categories, the theory test questions now but greater emphasis on the particular characteristics of the vehicle category in question.
The pass rate has dropped significantly for people taking the moped theory test for the first time. Since the start of July, only 36% passed the test on the first attempt, compared to 83% for 2017.

“This probably reflects the changes to focused moped licence instruction to make it more general traffic safety instruction for first-time licence applicants. Now, the moped licence applicant must learn both the traffic rules that apply to mopeds and two-wheeled vehicles and also the special characteristics of their vehicle category, as these are emphasised more in the current theory test”, explains Immonen.

“According to preliminary reports, people have had most problems with basic rules on giving way – who has to give way to who in different priority-level and signal-controlled junctions. In contrast, more challenging situations and the new risk tasks have been better understood. We are following the situation closely and will make a more detailed analysis during the autumn”, Immonen continues.

The pass rate for people taking the moped handling test for the first time was 89%, compared to 97% for the beginning of the year and one year ago. The total number of people taking the moped handling test in July and August was around 4500, which was significantly lower than last year’s corresponding figure of 5600.

Adviser Marjo Immonen, marjo.immonen (at), tel. +358 29 534 5588, Twitter @ImmonMar
Special Adviser Ari Väisänen, ari.vaisanen (at), tel. +358 29 534 6177 (statistics)