Rush to beat Europe and get Belgian motorbike licence

Belgian driving schools are being inundated by people hoping to beat the deadline for the introduction of the new European driving licence for motorbikes. In a month's time the Belgian driving licence is being replaced by a European one that is a lot harder to get.

Jeroen Smeesters of the Federation of Recognised Driving Schools told the daily Het Belang van Limburg that schools could currently not meet demand: "The schools are fully booked up for driving tests."

Youngsters eager to get hold of a driving licence for a motorbike will in future have to complete the exam procedure in several steps. First applicants will be tested on vehicles with a smaller engine and the engine size will increase over the exam procedure. As obtaining your driving licence will be spread out over several steps, the price will also go up.

In all there are five steps. To proceed to a higher stage you will have to pass an exam and follow lessons. This could cost up to 500 euros a stage. Only people over 24 can try and get the licence in one go.

Jeroen Smeesters confirms that many youngsters are worried that the new tests will be harder: "That's why many people are trying to get hold of one before the 1 May deadline."

Theo Beeldens of the Motorcycle Action Group believes that many people will be obliged to wait until they are 24 before attempting to get their motorbike licence.