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Revealed….The Underlying Reason Why Today’s Youth Aren’t Big Fans of Motorcycling?

Revealed….The Underlying Reason Why Today’s Youth Aren’t Big Fans of Motorcycling?


Take a quick look around at any major biking event & one thing becomes apparently clear, there aren’t really any “young” people involved in the scene any more. Flip back some 40 years & it’s a completely different story as we really were living in a completely different world.


The majority of Riders now in their mid to late 50’s were the “Sports Moped” generation, raised on a diet of Japanese 2 stroke & adrenaline fueled 50mph rockets, The Yamaha FSIE , Suzuki AP50, slightly less reliable Gilera models & slightly more sedate 4 Stroke Honda SS50’s..

 It was in fact the FS1E, a machine capable of 60mph with the right tuning tweaks of a banshee inspired expansion box on the exhaust, that was responsible for the passing of legislation in 1977 limiting mopeds to 30mph.

 There’s no doubt that government changes over the past 40 years have made it increasingly difficult for the teenager to take to 2 wheels, here’s a run down of the changes in law since 1977.


                                  Read it and Weep!


1982 New two part test

1982 New One Year Ban from riding motorcycles if you didn’t acquire some form of full licence within 2 years

1983 Learner Motorcycle reduced to 125cc

1990 Learners can now no longer take Pillion passengers, previously they could if the pillion held a full licence

1990 End of Part 1 & 2 tests & introduction of CBT Compulsory Basic Training

1996 CBT certificates were only valid for 3 years from their date of issue

1997 Introduction of 5 types of motorcycle licences including the introduction of 12bhp & restricted 33bhp access for 2 years   CBT Syllabus now includes a monitored 2 hour road ride.

2001 New Theory Test for motorcyclists. CBT certificates now only valid for two years.

2002 Hazard perception videos add 20 minutes to the theory test.

2003 New practical maintenance question added to the theory test.

2009 A huge range of proposals to bring the test in line with the rest of Europe.

The test was now two parts again, including an off road section featuring a slow ride & U turns, a 32mph emergency stop & a 32mph swerve. This was followed by a road test. The number of test centres that could provide this more expensive training fell from 200 to less than 50.

So on 29th April the UK now complied with the rest of Europe, who had by & large ignored the whole process!!

The whole thing was a compete disaster, with increased costs for the public & training schools alike….no wonder so many schools gave up & stopped trading & the number wanting to take the tests plummeted.

2013 the 3rd European Driving Licence Directive

This really continued with tweaks, completing the ridiculously complicated & burdensome process.

But there could be an even simpler answer as to the lack of “New Blood” engaging in motorcycling.

The average teenager of 2016 lives in a world that to their 1977 counterpart is mind blowing. The internet, social media, immersive video games, 100’s of TV channels. Put bluntly, there’s a lot more diversions & stuff happening than back in the day.

A recent survey of learner age teens by motorcycle brand Lexmoto came to the mind blowing conclusion that the NUMBER ONE reason the kids weren’t looking at biking was


        “I’d be really interested but my Mother says it’s really dangerous”!!!


Hell, that’s probably why I took it up!!


  • I am amazed. Didn’t realise that so much had changed but that most of that change was driven by the EU which the rest ignored. I have a real problem trying to decide if the EU is to blame for everything, including “global warming” (joke) or if it our disingenuous politicians that use the EU as an excuse for tighter control of the population. Makes you think.
    The reason I got into biking was I wanted a bit of independence and a bit of a thrill. My parents encouraged me (let me add I am now 66!!). All these namby, pamby risk averse parents have turned the young into “scaredy cats”, frightened to do anything which is marginally risky. Life is risky.

    Craig Barson
  • Great piece of writing!

    Dan Fraser
  • Excellent article and (being 48) not something I’d thought much about.

    But now you mention it, at my local biking burger vans etc, where are the 50’s screaming up and down the road?

    Hopefully this is just another one of those eternal ‘loops’. We were worried motorcycling was going to die in the 80’s & 90’s. Now it’s everywhere.

    The same with film photography and vinyl records, maybe bikes will become cool again ?


    Kevin Shelley
  • We now live in a risk averse society – except that the risks on the internet etc are maybe even worse than that on 2 wheels. If we don’t learn to assess risk and make our own decisions then we have a non achieving culture – take this forward and if kids don’t get on bikes just for the hell of it the future looks a bit bleak.

    Simon R-J
  • The cost and time of getting a bike licence without parents help is very low. maybe we can get a realistic test put back in place for learners.

    p cavanagh

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