UK MOTORCYCLE LAWS & LICENCES

What can I ride on a Provisional Drivers Licence?

ALLOWED

Aged 16 or over with completed CBT

Can ride with L plates – Moped or scooter up to 50cc – Max speed 45 km/h

ALLOWED

Aged 17 or over with completed CBT

Can ride with L plates – light motorcycle up to 125 cc (11 kW max)

NOT ALLOWED

At any age you cannot

1. Ride on motorways 2. Carry a pillion passenger 3. Ride without L-plates

The Provisional Driving Licence

The following information is for Licences issued after 19th January 2013, if you held a motorcycle or moped licence before this date then you keep your existing entitlements and can still ride the same category of bikes as before.

To ride a motorcycle on the road you must

  • Be at least 17 years old (16 for a moped – speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/h)
  • Have completed Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)
  • Have a provisional Category A driving licence

Learners who wish to ride a side-car outfit can do so with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.16kW/kg.

That licence can be any of the following

  • A provisional driving licence with motorcycle entitlement
  • Full car licence. This automatically provides provisional motorcycle entitlement
Almost all learner motorcyclists must complete CBT before riding on the road.When you’ve completed CBT you’ll be given a DL196. You must produce this before you can take the practical motorcycle test.
You dont need to take a CBT to ride a moped if you:
  • Passed the car driving test before 1st Feb 2001
  • Live and ride on specified offshore islands
  • Passed a full moped test after 1 December 1990

Full UK Bike Licence

You will need to complete a Compulsory Basic Training course (CBT), before taking any full motorbike licence practical tests.

For all the options below you will need to take and pass a motorcycle theory and hazard perception test and a two part practical test on a motorbike with the relevant engine size.

As from the 19th of January 2013 there are four moped/motorcycle licence categories.

Full Motorcycle Licence Categories

AM – Moped Licence (Age 16+)

An AM category motorbike licence will allow you to remove the L plates and carry a pillon passenger on your moped or scooter. 

Q: What motorcycle can I ride on an AM licence? 
A: Moped up to 50cc

Max engine size: 50cc

Max speed: 45km/h (28mph)

A1 -LIGHT MOTORBIKE LICENCE (AGE 17+)

If you are aged between 17 and 19 this is your only option. This can be taken on a machine between 120 and 125cc.

When you have held an A1 full motorcycle licence for a minimum of two years you may upgrade to an A2 licence by taking another 2 part practical test. You will not need to take the CBT and theory test again if you choose this route.

In reality most bikers don’t bother with the A1 licence and wait until they are 19 when they can can do the A2 licence for the same cost. 

Q: What motorcycle can I ride on an A1 licence? 
A: Anything up to 125cc

Max engine size: 125cc

Max power output: 11kW

A2 – MOTORBIKE LICENCE (AGE 19+)

If you are aged between 19 and 24 this will be your 2nd option.

The test and training must be taken on a machine of a minimum engine size of 395cc that produces a maximum of 35 Kwh (47bhp).

This usually means up to 500cc or many training schools run restricted versions of higher powered bikes.

Upon passing you can ride any size/cc of motorbike but the power is capped at 35 Kwh (47bhp) this will never increase!

See here for  A2 licence restrictions.

When you have held an A2 full bike licence for a minimum of two years you may upgrade to an A unrestricted licence by taking another 2 part practical test on a bigger bike.

This is the preferred route for many young riders looking to get a full unrestricted licence in the quickest time. 

Q: What motorcycle can I ride on an A2 licence? 
A: Typically any motorcycle up to 500cc

Max power output: 35kW

Power to weight ratio: not more than 0.2kW/kg

What motorbike can I ride on my Car Licence?

Car driving test passed on or after 1 February 2001

  • After completing  CBT you will be able to ride a moped or motorcycle with L plates – up to 125cc (11kW max). 
  • If you want to remove the L plates or ride a more powerful machine you will need to take the relevant practical tests.
  • Before taking your full bike licence tests, you will need to take a motorcycle theory and hazard perception test.

 

Car driving test passed before 1 February 2001

  • You can ride a moped (max 50cc) without L plates.
  • If you want to ride a motorcycle over 50cc and up to 125cc you will need to take CBT.
  • Once you have a valid CBT certificate you can ride a 125cc with L plates.
  • If you want to remove the L plates or ride a more powerful machine you will need to take the relevant practical tests.

How to get a licence

Get your provisional driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle from the DVLA – apply online. Or you can use Form D1 which is available from the Post Office.

To be approved you must

  • Be a resident of England, Scotland or Wales – Northern Ireland has a different service.
  • Meet the minimum age requirement
  • Meet the minimum eyesight requirement
  • Have a valid UK passport or other valid ID
  • Provide National Insurance number if known
  • Provide addresses for previous 3 years

As of September 2015 the cost is £34 payable by debit or credit card.  

Vehicle Documents

The Registration Document (VRD)

This contains your name and address and details of your motorcycle:

  • Make and model
  • Year of first registration
  • Engine size and number

If you buy a new motorcycle the dealer will register it with the DVLA. A registration document will then be sent directly to you from the DVLA.

If you buy a second-hand one you’ll receive the VRD from the seller. Fill in the “Change of ownership” section and send it to the DVLA at the address given on the document. You should do this immediately as it is an offence not to notify the DVLA.

Tax your motorcycle

Your motorcycle must be taxed before going on the road.

As of 2014 the paper tax disc has been abolished on the vehicle.You can tax your bike online at the DVLA, on 0300 123 4321 or at the post office.