Motorcyclist of 60 years banned from riding for three years by DVLA

Paul Olsen said the DVLA ‘dropped the ball’ over his licence (Picture: Paul Olsen)

A grandfather and keen biker was wrongly denied a licence to ride his motorcycle for more than three years.

Paul Olsen, a graphic designer who has spent decades working in the film industry, has been riding motorbikes for six decades.

Over the past half a century he has owned Triumph Bonnevilles, Yamahas, Tritons, and Kawasaki bikes.

However, when he tried to have a new motorcycle insured in 2018 he was informed he didn’t have the right type of licence.

Paul, who worked on the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture and also created the film titles for The Abyss, Terminator 2, and Die Hard, said, ‘I had the surprise of my life when they said I didn’t have the right biking entitlement on my licence.

‘I got a British driving licence and motorbike licence when I moved here from San Francisco in 1969.

‘In the early 1970’s, I was reissued a lifetime licence. But somewhere along the way, the DVLA must have dropped the ball.

Keen biker of 60 years wrongly banned from riding his motorcycle for three years (Picture: Paul Olsen)

Paul Olsen was denied his motorcycle license due to a DVLA mistake (Picture: Paul Olsen)

‘This was before everything became digitised, so I didn’t know that my entitlement was no longer on the licence.’

After complaining unsuccessfully to the DVLA, Paul took the issue to the Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA), who said the outcome of his case was ‘perverse and unfair’.

But they couldn’t recommend the DVLA give him a new entitlement because they had followed procedure.

Following their ruling, Paul, who lives in Surrey, then took his case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). 

Keen biker of 60 years wrongly banned from riding his motorcycle for three years (Picture: Paul Olsen)

After taking his case to the ICA, they overturned his ban and awarded him compensation (Picture: Paul Olsen)

The organisation directed the DVLA to apologise, refund the £70 it had cost Paul to cancel his insurance, and give him £1,000 in compensation.

It also asked the DVLA to use their discretion to reinstate his entitlement to drive a motorbike.

The DVLA has complied with all of these actions.

Paul currently owns three classic bikes: a Kawasaki W650 named Izzy, a Triumph Bonneville named Lizzy, a Triumph Sprint named Roxy, and a Vespa scooter named Doodles.

Keen biker of 60 years wrongly banned from riding his motorcycle for three years (Picture: Paul Olsen)

Paul was awarded £1,000 in compensation and had his license reinstated by the DVLA following a ruling from the Ombudsman (Picture: Paul Olsen)

‘The PHSO and ICA were terrific,’ he said. ‘My caseworker at the PHSO was terrific, and a real old-school gentleman who was a quietly persistent terrier.

‘I’m delighted at the outcome because I was so fed up with the DVLA being unreasonable.

‘Riding motorcycles is the mechanical equivalent of riding a horse; you’re out there on your own in nature. It’s just you and your mechanical steed – and like Billy Joel, she’s always a woman. I love my beautiful girls.

‘I live in a beautiful part of the world and go out for two or three hours just riding. It’s simplicity itself, a very personal experience.’

Ombudsman Rob Behrens said, ‘It was clear to both us and the ICA that a mistake had been made. When that happens, organisations should acknowledge what has gone wrong and take steps to put that right.

‘Unfortunately, the DVLA did not do that and were inflexible in handling Mr Olsen’s complaint.

‘I’m delighted we were able to resolve Mr Olsen’s case and have his motorbike entitlements reinstated so he can enjoy his passion for biking.’

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