Scootering - - Kickstart - Nik

It’s come to our at­ten­tion that a num­ber of stan­dard Vespa Pri­mav­era 125 au­to­matic scoot­ers are be­ing re­fused an MOT thanks to a clause buried away in the re­cent changes to the reg­u­la­tions (item 4.4.3 to be pre­cise), which says that in­di­ca­tors have now to be a cer­tain dis­tance apart. The reg­u­la­tion change isn’t a ma­jor one, but the spec­i­fied dis­tance of 240mm be­tween in­side edges means that this model, with its sep­a­ra­tion of 180mm be­tween lenses, is now go­ing to fail as they are 60mm too close. And it’s not just the Pri­mav­era that’s af­fected.

One MOT in­spec­tor we spoke to said that he’s spent the last cou­ple of weeks re­fus­ing cer­tifi­cates on some un­mod­i­fied mod­els of sports bikes for this rea­son, much to the own­ers’ ob­vi­ous dis­gust. The tester also told us that the DVLA had told him to hand out a VT17 form to com­plain about the re­sult, but that they would refuse the ap­peal re­gard­less.

We have heard of at least one MOT sta­tion which is treat­ing the change as only ap­ply­ing to ma­chin­ery reg­is­tered after the date that the new re­quire­ments came into force, although there is noth­ing in the tester’s hand­book which sug­gests that this is a cor­rect in­ter­pre­ta­tion, as other sim­i­lar changes are back­dated.

Here’s what you may call the kicker though… it seems that this sep­a­ra­tion re­quire­ment has been em­bed­ded in Con­struc­tion And Use reg­u­la­tions since at least 2011 – pos­si­bly go­ing as far back as the late Eight­ies. We’ve seen a copy of a let­ter dated De­cem­ber 8, 2011, headed ‘Mo­tor­cy­cles Class I & II Rear Num­ber Plates’ from the En­force­ment Di­vi­sion of the Bris­tol & Glouces­ter Area Of­fice of VOSA re­gard­ing a cus­tom tail light which states, among other things, that “...There must be a min­i­mum sep­a­ra­tion of 240mm be­tween in­di­ca­tors on ei­ther side of the ma­chine”. The in­fer­ence of this is that VOSA is al­low­ing ve­hi­cles to be passed for use on the UK roads which do not meet their own min­i­mum re­quire­ments, as they have al­lowed ve­hi­cles such as the Pri­mav­era to be sold, re­gard­less of their con­tra­ven­tion of VOSA’s own rules!

We asked the DVLA for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the sub­ject, and were passed on to the Ve­hi­cle Test­ing and Road­wor­thi­ness Team. An an­swer even­tu­ally ar­rived say­ing that they are “aware of the sit­u­a­tion and will be tak­ing steps to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity”.

Call me cyn­i­cal, but that doesn’t re­ally seem like an an­swer. If we get any fur­ther up­dates on the sit­u­a­tion, we’ll keep you up­dated. In the mean­time, just hope your test­ing sta­tion has a lit­tle bit of com­mon sense and a blind eye when it comes to test­ing time!

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