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4th May 2005


First we had these...UK Vehicle/Rider Legislation Update

There's been quite a bit of fuss about the new V5C 'logbook', but it isn't quite as scary as it seems. That's the good news...

The bad news is that older motorcyclists might have triggered the next steps in prohibitive rider licensing...

Once upon a time, we just had buff logbooks and that was great.

Then we got the green V5 document from the DVLA, and that was less great because it was more complicated and much harder to correct.

If you sent it back because one of the categories was wrong ('my BSA B31 is not a tricycle' for instance), then you might discover it had changed colour, or lost its Historic Vehicle entitlement next time around. But we were used to the V5, so that was OK.

Then came the V5C, which is an even more complicated form inflicted upon us by people based on the Continent with too much time on their hands who want all of Europe to fill in the same damn form (-sigh-).

...and then we had these...You now need a degree in bureaucracy just to be able to fill in the V5C, and no one quite knows who's supposed to keep which bit and send what off when you sell a bike. But that's not the problem - the problem is that the V5C replaces the V5, and quite a few old bike owners have become concerned that they'll somehow lose their bike's registration if they don't have a V5C by the time the old V5s become invalid.

STOP WORRYING.

Anyone who sends a V5 to DVLA gets a V5C back. If you tax or declare a bike SORN, then a V5C will magically appear.

If you want to send back a V5 and ask for a V5C then just do it - ...and pretty soon we're all going to have these.write to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BA. From 1 July 2005 all existing V5 registration documents will no longer be valid.

HOWEVER: this does not affect your entitlement to your bike's registration mark. The DVLA promise that if you have a valid claim on a vehicle and its registration mark then you will not be disadvantaged.

The V765 scheme, which enables old vehicles to be reunited, with their original registration marks, is completely unaffected by these changes. So if you've got a project under way, or haven't had cause to SORN an old bike which has been stood for a million months in a quiet corner, there's still no need to panic. Your registration is safe - see www.dvla.gov.uk for more information.

*****

And now the bad news. You might have filled in a very tedious questionnaire last year, one which asked people all sorts of multiple choice questions about how fast they rode, how they approached corners, how riding a bike made them feel, and so forth. The numbers have been crunched and the report has been written, and you can find it on the Department for Transport site; www.dft.gov.uk if you search for The Older Motorcyclist.

It's about 150 pages long, so we'll save you reading it all. The conclusions and recommendations are the worrying part. Obviously, they don't really refer to 'our' kind of older motorcyclist, because we wobble along on classic bikes which are no threat to anyone and hardly even start to tickle the accident stat-o-meter. No, the survey refers to gentlemen of a certain age, riding motorcycles of a certain performance category, at a certain speed - the latter sadly exceeding the rider's capabilities on occasions.

The recommendations are thus:-

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  • The risky riding behaviour demonstrated by older people starts in younger people, so the young 'uns should be targeted with 'campaigns specifically aiming to reduce inappropriate speed.'

  • Leisure riders (the ones who display the most risky riding characteristics) tend to ride bigger bikes, so similarly campaigns should be directed at the people who big bikes.

  • Returning riders, who have been off the road for quite while, could be re-trained or assessed. This, the report suggests, 'has implications for introducing an expiry date on a motorcycle licence.'

  • Continual training throughout a rider's career is also suggested, including compulsory refresher courses.

  • Leisure riding and risky behaviour peak (apparently...) in the summer months (fancy that). Thus the report concludes that: 'Discouraging the use of public roads as a form of entertainment should become a focus for policy makers.'

    If these recommendations have sent you into a mild tailspin or a complete frothing fit, then we have a suggestion. As soon as the dust settles after the General Election, go along to your local MP's surgery (www.parliament.uk/directories/directories.cfm). Don't write a letter; don't send an email; don't moan on the message board; don't delegate your responsibility to a pressure group. Do something about it yourself. It'll take one morning of your time. Get to know your MP, ask him or her to keep on top of proposed motorcycling and licensing legislation, and convince him that it would be grossly unfair and wasteful to inflict these measures unnecessarily on the law-abiding many, simply to affect the foolish few...

    Rubber stamps. Real Bureaucracy?

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