2007 motorbike fatalities double
Learner motorcyclists in Northern Ireland are set to face more stringent driving tests in an attempt to halt the rising number of fatal crashs.
Environment Minister Arlene Foster revealed that the number of road deaths involving motorcyclists has almost doubled this year.
She said 24 bikers and one pillion passenger have died this year, compared to 13 at the same stage in 2006.
A new off-road motorcycle manoeuvre test is planned for next April.
"It has caused me considerable concern at the number of deaths attributable to motorcycles in this past year," she told the assembly.
"Indeed the figures are quite startling for this year."
Mrs Foster revealed her officials were currently undertaking a review of road safety.
She said they also intended to bring forward plans for compulsory basic training for all new motorcyclists to the Assembly Environment Committee.
The new manoeuvres test is planned for April 2008, six months ahead of its introduction in Great Britain, to comply with European legislation.