New Zealand Mulls Updated Licensing Scheme

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New Zealand government officials hope to reduce motorcycle accidents by proposing tougher rules plus measures to improve training.

Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven announced the motorcycle safety proposals targeting novice motorcyclists as part of the ?Road Safety to 2010? strategy. The motorcycle safety proposals include restrictions on the use of powerful motorcycles by novice riders, changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing System to encourage riders to take up more motorcycle-specific training and the introduction of safer motorcycling practices such as improving the visibility of motorcycle and moped riders to other road users.

The package aimed at novice riders proposes restricting learner and restricted motorcycle license holders to less powerful motorcycles. It also offers further training incentives to novice riders to progress through their license and puts a cap on the time riders can spend on a learner license.

?The emphasis is on ensuring novice motorcyclists are aware of the increased risks they face on the road and that these riders are well equipped for the responsibility of motorcycle ownership,? Duynhoven says.

Key motorcycle stakeholders have been consulted through the Motorcycle Safety Reference Group, which is convened by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). The reference group involves the motorcycling industry, manufacturers, retailers, trainers and motorcycle interest groups. The group broadly supports the proposals.

Key proposals include:
  • restricting the use of powerful motorcycles by novice riders. Learner and restricted motorcycle license holders would only be able to ride motorcycles which did not exceed a power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per ton and were not too physically large for rider;

  • changing the Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS) to reduce the restricted motorcycle license period by six months for riders who completed approved motorcycle-specific training courses;

  • introducing a motorcycle-specific competency assessment option as an alternative to the restricted and full license tests for riders that did an approved motorcycle-specific training course in the learner license phase;

  • setting a maximum three-year validity period for all learner motorcycle licenses;

  • removing the 70km/h speed limit restriction - which applies to learner motorcycle license holders;

  • introducing 25 demerit points for not wearing helmets but reducing the level of fine from $150 to $50;

  • requiring daytime running on headlights at all times; and

  • increasing the minimum time period motorcyclists over 25 spend on a restricted license from six to 12 months.
Read more at the New Zealand Ministry of Transport website.