The days when one could ace the motorcycle license test after practicing a few times may soon be a thing of the past, if draft regulations requiring applicants to complete a driver’s education course before they can take the motorbike exam are implemented.
Under the proposed changes, a new driver would have to pay NT$3,000 to take a three-day driver’s education course before being eligible to apply for a motorcycle license, for which they must pass a written exam and a road test.
The draft regulations would also make passing an additional road test a prerequisite for obtaining a motorcycle license.
Currently, those licensed to drive a car are not required to take a separate test to be approved to drive “light motorcycles” — those with engines no larger than 50cc.
The motorbike road test is also set to be made more challenging under the proposed regulations, which are expected to take effect by the end of this year.
The changes would also require motorcyclists employed by food delivery and dispatch companies to take safety lessons each year.
Three major local manufacturers of motorcycles and scooters have said that they will pay one-third of the NT$3,000 fee that unlicensed riders who purchase a new vehicle would have to pay for the driving course.
The reforms were proposed after Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) put the prevention of fatal traffic accidents at the top of the ministry’s agenda.
Statistics show that one-third of the 853 people killed in motorcycle-related accidents last year were aged between 18 and 29.
In the three years to April last year, a total of 1,337 people in that age group died in motorcycle-related deaths.
Last year, 853 people died in accidents involving at least one motorcycle, accounting for 44 percent of traffic-related deaths. However, that figure is the lowest recorded over the past nine years.
Motorcycles and scooters are by far the most commonly used vehicles in Taiwan, with 15 million of them in use among the nation’s 23 million population.