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What is the Direct Access Scheme (DAS)

What is the Direct Access Scheme (DAS)

What is the Direct Access Scheme (DAS)

To answer the question, “What is the Direct Access Scheme (DAS)”. In simple terms it is learning to ride a larger motorcycle than a 125cc. You must be accompanied by a qualified Motorcycle Instructor if you want to ride anything bigger than a 125cc motorcycle.

The Direct Access Scheme (DAS)

The Direct Access Scheme is referred to as Direct Access or DAS for short. 

It was introduced in 1997 to allow new riders gain experience on bigger motorcycles with a qualified trainer before they purchased one.

This meant that learner riders could be taught to ride larger powered motorbikes under instruction, before they bought one and then had problems on the road on a bigger motorcycle. 

Prior to 1997

Prior to 1997 a learner rider could pass their motorcycle test on a 125cc machine. Then the crazy thing was, they could then buy and ride any size motorcycle and ride it legally. 

Progressing to a larger machine via this route meant there were a lot of incidents. New inexperienced riders had no previous experience of riding bigger motorcycles and invariably had accidents and incidents because of the unexpected power of the motorcycle.

This is because they lacked skill, experience and ability. There were considerably high accident statistics from back then regarding a lack of a new rider’s ability. Most accidents happened because of speed and a lack of motorcycle control.

Direct Access rules now

There are a number of conditions for a person wishing to complete a DAS course, you must:-

  • Be 24 years or above
  • Take and pass both Module 1 and Module 2 practical tests
  • Take the test on a motorcycle of at least 595cc
  • Ride a motorbike of at least 40 kW (54 BHP)
  • Hold an A2 licence for more than 2 years if under 24 years old

Maximum of 2 Students to 1 Instructor

So what is the Direct Access Scheme (DAS) training ratio and why have one? During the DAS training there should be a maximum of 2 learner riders to 1 instructor. 

This is a legal requirement and both trainees must be in radio contact. It means the Instructor can keep an eye on both learner riders as they go through the process of riding a larger machine.

Learning to ride a larger motorcycle can be daunting for the student but equally difficult for the Motorcycle Instructor. The new rider should not think it is a right to go up to a bigger machine just because they want to.

The experience of a new rider and their ability to learn and understand the basics on a smaller motorcycle is required first. If there are any training gaps, new riders will be vulnerable and put at risk when being put onto a larger motorcycle prematurely.

The Motorcycle Instructor should also be riding a motorcycle of equal or more power than the learner riders. 

Choose the best training school

The learner should demonstrate competence on a smaller machine in riding ability before being allowed to progress to a larger motorcycle. The learner rider also has a say in this progression, if they do not feel ready they should not step up until they feel comfortable.

There are far too many incidents that occur because the learner rider has progressed too quickly. There are a number of reasons why this happens, one of them is because it is what is normally done in the training plan.

The motorcycle training must always have a client centred learning approach to ensure the correct level of coaching can be given. This also means learner riders progress steadily and safely throughout their journey.

Are DAS courses good enough

The motorcycle training given is to prepare learner riders for the DAS motorcycle test and any basic riding that they do directly afterwards. The coaching and training to test standard does not necessarily prepare learner riders for their future riding objectives. 

This is because most riders who pass their test head off on longer and more rural journeys. Typical training sessions are done where the test takes place and not on the roads where riders really do need the guidance and experience.

Motorcycle Training Instructor and student


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Further training is highly recommended

Direct Access as a starting point is adequate enough to give learner riders the experience of riding a larger motorcycle. But taking further guidance post-test is extremely important and highly recommended.

A DAS course is typically quite short in length of time. This is sometimes because of business needs and objectives, also because the training industry still uses antiquated training plans. The current market trend of how many days the training takes is down to a number of factors.

Back in the 1980’s training was given in 3-5 days on a 125cc motorcycle. This time frame is still being used now, and bear in mind there was only 1 ‘on-road test’ back then and it was on a 125cc motorcycle. It is not fit for purpose now with the onerous testing regime.

Short training plans cause problems

Training schools still have this mentality to train in this short space of time but we now have two motorcycle tests to train for and the step up to a larger machine has been introduced. Is it any wonder why learner riders still have incidents during training and early in their riding careers.

A lot of training plans are in existence because they are inherited from old school trainers. It has been passed on from long ago, the only thing it does is put pressure on both the learner rider and the Motorcycle Instructor. 

Learner riders budgets have a lot to do with the supply of minimal training. If you want to learn how to ride properly and not just get through the test as quickly as possible, you must take thorough training.

The advice is to take each stage at a time by not trying to get to the end goal as quickly as possible. Riders who do the latter are far more vulnerable, especially if they do not take further training straight after passing their motorcycle tests.

Mod 1 and Mod 2 training on the day

The type of guidance that should be given to a learner rider is to attain the necessary standard to pass both the Module 1 (Mod 1) and Module 2 (Mod 2) motorcycle tests. Learners should undergo guidance for both tests during their training sessions. This eliminates boredom, making mistakes and creating barriers if things aren’t going well.

Training for the Mod 1 will entail a number of set exercises that are conducted in a safe environment. This training should not be on the public road but in the safety of an off road training ground. The purpose built test centre is available to rent to training schools at certain times of the week and should be used as part of a learner rider’s development.

The Mod 2 is an on road pursuit test. This is where an examiner will usually follow on another motorcycle giving directions to the candidate on the test.

Thorough training is required

The training must consist of all exercises that are conducted during the motorcycle tests. This is to ensure that a learner rider is fully prepared and ready to take the motorcycle tests. 

Trying to rush the process or cut down on training days will have a detrimental effect on the learning experience and test outcome! Short or quick training plans mean riders are ill prepared and at risk of failing the motorcycle test.

A full training programme must be taken with skills discussed, demonstrated and taught. This is to give the learner rider the chance to demonstrate their understanding and progress throughout their training sessions. 

Set the skills properly

Completing the exercises just once or twice is not good enough for a learner to properly obtain the correct level of competence. A new rider needs time to set the skills needed for their development, understanding and confidence.

Home study is also a great way to learn and develop while in comfortable surroundings. It means new riders have the ability to absorb more information whilst not stressed and overloaded during practical training. 
There is a saying that states ‘knowledge is power’, it certainly helps to elevate knowledge and skill levels by knowing what to do before it is attempted. Join the Motorcycle Riders Hub today.

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