Learner riders forced off the road and lost £100,000 in 2020 due to Covid restrictions | NEWS

If you’re a longterm CBT rider, or you’re riding on ‘L’ plates waiting to pass the practical riding test you’re probably amongst the many riders who lost a total of close to £100,000 due to lockdown restrictions last year. You may also be forced off the road temporarily through no fault of your own.

New data reveals that learner riders across the UK could foot a £200,000 bill from a combination of expired theory tests over the 2020 national lockdowns, combined with the cost to retake the tests again in the future. This doesn’t include the cost for riders who also need to retake a CBT if it expired before they could take a practical test. An average year sees 40,000 riders gain a full licence in the UK, that figure was down to 36,200 in 2020.

Lockdown losers

The data, obtained through multiple Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests by insurance firm, Marmalade showed that 4,247 bike theory test certificates expired over the first two national lockdowns of 2020. At a cost of £23 each that amounted to a potential loss of £97,681 for learners who could have passed their practical test before the theory test ran out. If all riders were to retake their theory it would cost them £46 each for a new test and certificate – meaning these lockdown learners would have spent £195,362 on theory tests in total.

What about my CBT?

With an average CBT test costing £100 that’s another potential cost of £424,700 and if it has, or is about to run out, you can’t retake it thanks to current lockdown measures (as of January 26th 2021).

Taking a CBT every 2 years may cause you lockdown issues
Taking a CBT every 2 years may cause you lockdown issues

What happens when your CBT runs out?

Many commuters, delivery riders, key workers and youngsters rely on their scooter or motorcycle for daily transport. Public transport is no longer recommended by the government, yet thousands of riders who currently ride on a CBT will be forced off the road due to lockdown restrictions.

There is currently no extension period for Compulsory Basic Training and all UK training and test centres are closed during lockdown. This means if your CBT runs out before you can retake the test you’re off the road. To make matters worse, because 2020 saw months of delays with practical tests it means training schools will be fighting to catch up with the backlog once they’re allowed to open.

Learner riders forced off the road and lost £100,000 in 2020 due to Covid restrictions | NEWS

Book in early!

If your CBT is coming close to the end we advise you get booked in as soon as possible, many training schools will still take advance bookings whilst closed so give your local ones a try.

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The MCIA

We asked Nick Broomhall of the Motorcycle Industry Association if there were any moves from Government to extend the CBT grace period “We are regularly lobbying government on the expiring CBT issue, requesting an extension as was done with MoTs in the first lockdown. Parliamentary questions on the subject have also been asked, but so far, to no avail. We will keep pushing, as it’s obviously a nonsense that someone could be denied the right to ride through no fault of their own.”

Practical and theory test centres are closed once again and no extensions have been granted for UK learners for their theory test certificates (or CBT) meaning they’re facing the same issue as in 2020 and may be forced off the road once their CBT runs out.

Commenting on the data and what this means for learners, CEO of Marmalade, Crispin Moger said: “I don’t doubt that there will have been many learners that would have planned to take their test during the time periods affected by the multiple UK lockdowns and will now have lost through no fault of their own. Learners whose certificates have expired will need to take the test and pass it again before they can take their practical test, adding yet more time to their wait, adding to the backlog we are already expected to see in 2021.”

“For some, this is just another roadblock to gaining freedom and will be a hindrance to many where a test pass was at the centre of their plans. We have previously launched a petition to ask the Government to extend these certificates by three months to allow learners the chance to qualify as soon as it’s possible, something which will also ease waiting times and pressure on theory test centres once they reopen. Northern Ireland has announced an extension, while the UK government has said they will not be extending the period, something which will have certainly come as a blow to learners.”

The cost in numbers

  • Across all of 2020, 4,247 theory test certificates expired at a cost of £23 each for both parts of the test
  • The cost equates to £97,681 in total 
  • If all learners pay to retake the test, combined with the loss of the expired certificate, that would be a total outgoing of £195,362
  • If just half of the 4,868 retook the test, the combined loss would still equate to £146,522
  • Based on the 149 days of delays in 2020 where tests were paused, an average of 29 certificates expired daily
  • At 29 certificates on average, over the course of the next six-week lockdown, learners could lose £28,014 in total
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