The number of people taking their practical bike tests declined in the first quarter of this year, according to government figures.

In the first three months of 2018 module 1 tests fell by 14.1% compared with the same period in 2017. The drop was even bigger for module 2 tests, down 17.1%.

That equates to 9612 people took module 1 tests in the first quarter compared with 11,185 in the same period of 2017. For module 2, the 2018 figure was 8854 compared with 10,678 in the same period of 2017.

The figures for bikes were mirrored in the declining number of people taking their car driving tests – down by 10.5% in the first quarter of 2018 to 428,041 compared with 478,061 in Jan-March 2017.

When it comes to test passes, the latest figures show that learner motorcyclists still far surpass their four-wheeled equivalents for competence. Overall, just 45.4% of people taking the practical car test in Jan-March 2018 passed, whereas 71.7% of module 1 bike test candidates ripped up their L-plates afterwards. For the module 2 test, the figure was higher still, with a 73% pass rate, the highest since records began.

While the most recent figures show a decline in the numbers taking their tests, the overall picture for the past 12 months reveals there were 57,237 candidates for the module 1 test and 56,110 for the module 2 from April 2017 to March 2018. Those numbers are marginally down on the previous 12 months, and still higher than the equivalent figures for 2015/16, 2014/15 or 2013/14.