Germany plans to allow drivers to ride motorbikes without need to take test

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Germany plans to allow drivers to ride motorbikes without need to take test
Two motorcyclists in Göttingen. Photo: DPA

The Government wants to relax licence rules so that car drivers can ride motorcycles that reach speeds of over 100km/h without having to take a test, German media reported Thursday.


It means everyone with a licence would be able to ride so-called light motorcycles without having to do additional exams, according to German news website Spiegel Online.

But the proposal, being put forward by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, has already come under fire from experts.

According to the draft amendment to the Driving Licence Rules viewed by Spiegel, the only requirement for drivers would be six practice hours and the completion of a theoretical training unit.

But accident experts are horrified by the proposal. There are no "sufficient reasons to relax the access to the second most dangerous vehicle class on German roads," said a statement from the German Road Safety Council.

Figures show that more than one in five people killed on Germany's roads are motorcyclists, despite far fewer of them on the road compared with other drivers, The Local reported earlier this year.

Of the 3,265 people who died on roads nationwide last year, 699 were motorcyclists, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about getting a German driving licence

What does it mean?

Spiegel reports that if the rules are changed then drivers would be able to extend their standard B-Class driving licence (B-Klasse-Führerschein) by a so-called key number (Schlüsselzahl) 195, which would allow them to ride light motorcycles. Typical manufacturers of these vehicles are Piaggio, Yamaha and KTM.

These lightweight motorcycles have a maximum engine output of 15hp but can travel at speeds of over 100 km/h. Previously, a separate A1 driving licence was required for this.

An examination and extensive training on the motorbike would no longer be necessary. Instead, under the changes, it'd be sufficient for the driver to complete a 90-minute theoretical unit and six practical driving lessons. The latter can take place outside road traffic, for example at a traffic training area.

Drivers must be at least 25 years old and have had their driving licence for at least five years.

Increase in accident victims

Experts say that more people will be killed or injured in motorcycle accidents if the changes go ahead.

It can be assumed that "there would be an increase in the total number of accident victims," according to an analysis by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BAST) available to Spiegel.

Changing the current regulations is "not recommended from a scientific point of view," researchers added.

It's not clear why Scheuer wants to relax the rules. The draft only states that the legislator wants to use the possibilities offered by EU law.

However, in addition to motorbike manufacturers, sharing providers would also benefit from the changes. For example, they could lend scooters to customers that are faster than the 45 km/h that have been the norm so far.

Neighbouring country Austria has already relaxed the rules but, according to BAST's analysis, this has led to a "deterioration in road safety".



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