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Call to raise bike licence age

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Junior Transport Minister Paul Clark has called for an increase in the minimum age that motorcyclists can ride the most powerful bikes from 21 to 24 years.

He believes younger riders who want to progress to larger machines should undergo a new test or training programme.

The plans are part of the EU's Third Directive on Driving Licences, and motorbike campaign groups hailed them as an "opportunity not to be missed".

Other changes include a new category for car and light van drivers wishing to tow a medium-sized trailer, with qualification through a test or training programme, Mr Clark said in a written Commons statement.

Licences for buses and lorries as well as medical fitness tests must be renewed every five years. Currently, drivers are required to follow the five-yearly renewal only after the age of 45.

Consultation on this plan and other changes will continue until February next year, and regulations will become law in the UK by 2011 depending on the comments received.

Only people first acquiring driving licences on or after January 19, 2013 will be affected by the changes. Future changes such as withdrawal of all paper licences by 2033 are also expected, Mr Clark added.

© Press Association 2009