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The first of the two directives (a new 'break and swerve' course in which they perform high-speed manoeuvres, including an emergency stop at 50mph) is aleady in effect over here in Holland.

Actually it's a bit more sustantial than that. The driver exam for a motorcycle is really 3 exams that you have to pass:

1) Theory - a bit like the theory for a car exam, but with bike-specific questions (position on the road, tire grip, etc.). You have to do this even if you have a car licence.

2) Special manoeuvres - there are 13 (!) special manoeuvres of which you have to do 7 at the exam. Stuff like figure 8, slow slalom, high speed swerve, high speed slalom, emergency stop, low speed manoeuvering, etc. You can see them here:

http://www.motorfreaks.nl/index.php/report/2941/2 and here

http://www.motorfreaks.nl/index.php/report/2941/3

3) Final exam - this is a normal driving exam, i.e. you drive about 45 minutes in traffic with the examinator following you in a car. He gives you directions by radio (you wear an ear piece).

Yes this is very comprehensive and very expenisive. On the average you need 30-40 lessons (50 min/lesson) in order to pass the exams succesfully (a lesson costs around EUR 45 ($50), the exams EUR 100 and 200). So you're spening a lot of money to get your licence.

Oh, you also have to wear full protection (helmet, jacket, pants & boots) during the lessons & 2 riding exams.

Does this suck?

NO!

What happens is 2 things:

-people who want to get their licence & ride a bike are very motivated

-people who pass the exams really know how to ride a bike safely

In the beginning of the process I was really pissed off at all the hassle. Now 2 months after passing the final exam (and 2 months riding, 3000km), I'm glad I got the training that I got. I know how to ride well and safely. Don't forget thet this is one of the most densly populated countires in the world with lots of traffic. So you really need some training if you don't want to kill yourself.

But then again, I guess that some Americans will view killing themselves due to incompetence as their Constitutional right .. Darwinism anyone?
 

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"Thanks for your pompass post emiles."



My, my, touched a sensitive nerve have we?



The problem is not you killing yourself (Darwin would approve), but you splattering 1/2 your brain on the sidewalk and leaving enough in your skull to live. Now society (or your insurance i.e. everyone else, or do you believe in Santa?) gets to pay a zillion $$ to keep you alive till you die of old age.
 

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"Also, if any of you has ever driven in Europe, you would know how truly dangerous it can be (I mean actual driving yourself, not seeing it from the bus). The idea that a MSF-type course can prepare you for that is ridiculous. The Dutch test actually seems just slightly tougher than the one in California, where we have to do some maneuvers in the parking lot."



Guess what, after Malta (of all places) Holland has the lowest number of traffic deaths / million km's in the world .. and it has one of the highest population densities in the world. So I guess good training pays off ...



BTW as for traffic deaths (# deaths/million km's), the EU average is way lower than the US .. and that includes countries like Poland and Portugal ..
 

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"Maybe when gas hits $4.00 here in the U.S. folks might change their attitudes."



That's still cheap compared to current EU gas prices .. now about EUR 1,40 per liter (= almost $5/gallon)
 
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