Edmundas Pupinis: Should the right to drive a motorcycle with a category B driving license be granted?

Currently holding a category B driver’s license only mopeds or light ATVs belonging to category AM can be driven automatically. To manage A1 category vehicles (50 to 125 cm)3 engine capacity, up to 11 kW), it is necessary to attend additional courses, pass the driving theory and practice exam in the “Regitra”.

The Petitions Commission of the Seimas received a petition from a resident, by which the citizen proposed to automatically grant the right to drive a motorcycle up to 125 cm3 for those who have acquired the right to drive a category B car.

According to the petitioner, Lithuania could follow the example of foreign countries. And indeed Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Britain, the Czech Republic, Italy and so on. there are states where the procedure proposed in the petition works in practice.

The Seimas Petitions Commission supported the idea and the draft law reached the Seimas meeting room. In the first of the three stages required for the adoption of the law, the bill was approved by a majority of parliamentarians.

If the Seimas approves, in about a year, ie from 2022. From 1 March, drivers entitled to drive a category B car will automatically be able to drive motorcycles as well.

The second stage – the reading in the Seimas plenary hall – is waiting for next week. The process of considering the law took a bit of a long time, as there was a lot of discussion and consensus between the different institutions: to allow or not, safe or unsafe, if allowed, from what age, what the driving experience should be, when to start, what legislation additional preparation is needed, etc. – there were many questions.

Finally, after searching for the most appropriate wordings, a compromise was found. So what’s on offer?

If the Seimas approves, in about a year, ie from 2022. From 1 March, drivers entitled to drive a category B car will automatically be able to drive motorcycles as well. True, this will be possible if:

1. You are at least 25 years old.

2. You have at least 5 years of driving experience in category B vehicles.

3. The engine displacement of your motorcycle does not exceed 125 cm3.

4. You will attend a mandatory training course. The duration and nature of the training will be determined later by by-laws. You will not need to take the exams in the “Register”.

It is worth noting that these provisions are not yet final and may change before the final adoption of the law.

It should also be emphasized that these amendments to the law will not prevent any person who does not meet the listed criteria (eg 16-24 years or less than 5 years of driving experience) from obtaining the right to drive A1 vehicles in the normal and current way, ie after completing the A1 driving license. courses and passing theory and driving tests.

Why is it not good to give the right to drive not the most powerful motorcycles with category B (and in terms of age, length of service)?

I believe that excessive bureaucracy and administrative burdens for citizens would be reduced, potentially solving the problem of congestion in big cities, and at the same time reducing air pollution, as modern motorcycles are less polluting than cars. In general, driving such a vehicle gives a lot of people a lot of pleasure and good emotions.

There are many who say that a motorcycle is not a car after all – their driving is fundamentally different, other skills are needed, which increases the threat to traffic and the safety of people themselves. And, it must be acknowledged that such remarks are in part well founded.

In the past, even tractor drivers with a professional driving license were required to have a tractor driving license.

But I think we need to trust people. Everyone has to evaluate their readiness, skills, possible consequences. In addition, there are safeguards in the law – the youngest drivers will not have access to the changes, they will need at least 5 years of driving experience, and training is expected to provide the necessary practical knowledge of motorcycle driving.

In general, this debate on allowing car drivers to sit at the wheel of a motorcycle automatically is partly reminiscent of a situation in which, after a decade ago, we proposed allowing people to drive tractors and self-propelled agricultural vehicles with the appropriate categories of driving licenses. I would point out that, in the past, even tractor drivers holding a professional driving license were required to hold a tractor driving license.

Although the situations are different, even then there was no shortage of heated discussions from different interests. However, the changes have been accepted and I believe that the people, especially in rural areas, have benefited greatly from the changed legislation.

And the example discussed in this article shows that petitions that are substantiated, meet the requirements of the Law on Petitions, and propose specific legislative changes, can produce a tangible result that is really beneficial to some people.

The consideration of the law in the Seimas is scheduled for April 13.

Edmundas Pupinis is a member of the Seimas and the chairman of the Petitions Commission.

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