New test aimed at safe scooter riding

WOBBLY LINES::Despite the addition of four new items, most riders taking the test yesterday found the most difficult part was riding in a straight line for seven seconds

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 4

The motorcycle license test is about to become more rigorous, with the Directorate-General of Highways’ (DGH) updated requirements to be implemented in June.

The new provisions included in the test are designed to lower the number of traffic accidents caused by motorcycles and to reduce the number of people killed or injured in them, the directorate said.

Four new criteria have been added, including the ability to perform a hook turn when making a left turn at an intersection, to change lanes, to make a right-angle turn and to stop and start, the directorate said.

To make a successful hook turn, motorcyclists have to ride on the right-hand side of the road they want to turn on and wait in a designated spot.

Failing to perform a hook turn when making a left turn at an intersection, failing to turn on indicators when changing lanes or running over the stop line would each cost test-takers 32 points under the new test.

Test-takers lose 16 points if their feet touch the ground when they are about to make a right-angle turn, or if their wheels run over the borders of the stipulated test areas.

Test-takers lose 8 points if one or both feet touch the ground while riding, rather than putting them on the footrest. Should they operate the vehicle by twisting the throttle and applying the brake at the same time, they lose 8 points for improper maneuvering.

The perfect score of the test is 100 points, with a threshold of 70 required to pass.

The directorate invited the media and some volunteers to try the test.

Agency Director-General Chao Hsing-hua (趙興華) took the test, passing on his second attempt, saying that he failed the first time because his vision was blocked by reporters when he was trying to make a right-angled turn.

A man surnamed Lee (李) volunteered to take the test. He failed the test — scoring only 50 points — having one foot dragging on the ground while he was making a right-angle turn and running over the stop line. He also lost two points for improper maneuvering of the vehicle.

The test is quite challenging, Lee said, adding that people should try to pass the current test rather than taking the new one in June.

Despite the addition of four new items, most people taking the test yesterday found that the most difficult part of it was the straight-line stability test, which is not a new item. During the stability test, people have to ride their scooter in a straight line for at least seven seconds, and they may not put their feet on the ground for balance.

Chao said that the new road test was designed to help riders establish good habits.

“The pass rate for the new road test would be low at the beginning, but it would gradually go up once people get used to it,” he said.

Statistics showed that about 400,000 people took the motorcycle road test last year, with about 70 percent passing.