Getting Started | Beginner Motorcycle and Scooter Training
If you're new to scooters and motorcycles, the laws about what motorcycle test you need to pass to ride different motorbikes and scooters can seem complicated.
Get On’s Routes to Riding chart breaks down the new motorbike licensing laws, making it easy for you to see the exact path you need to take to get on two wheels!
Note: Your Route to Riding changed in January 2013.
The UK government introduced new motorcycle licence laws from 2013. These licence requirements will only affect new riders who pass their test on or after January 19th, 2013. Let’s take them step by step:
Your Route to Riding
Provisional Motorcycle Licence
You need a provisional Category A licence, either included in your full car licence or as part of a provisional licence. If you don’t already have a provisional driving licence you can apply online here.
You must complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before you ride any moped, scooter or motorcycle on the road. It’s not a motorcycle test, but the instructor will assess your riding to make sure you are safe to ride before you can get your DL196 certificate.
If you have not gained a full motorcycle or moped licence two years after completing CBT, your DL196 is no longer valid and you must repeat CBT.
If you have a full car licence issued before 1st February 2001 you may ride a restricted 50cc moped on the road without L plates (and carry a passenger), but you still need to successfully complete your CBT to ride any motorcycle over 50cc. However, if you have not ridden a motorcycle or scooter before, it is a good idea to complete CBT as a minimum.
You must pass a motorcycle theory test, including a Hazard Perception Test, before taking any practical motorcycle test, even if you have a full car licence. The Theory Test Pass Certificate is valid for 2 years.
But if you have passed a two part moped test or a lower category motorcycle test since 1st July 1996 you need not take the theory test.
Choices after CBT
The new motorcycle licensing laws mean your choices depend partly on your age.
Aged 16 or over: Moped licence
You may ride a moped with L plates after completing CBT, or you could opt for the new AM licence by taking your theory test and then a practical test. This allows you to ride a moped up to 50cc with a top speed of 45 km/h (around 28mph) without L plates, and to carry a passenger.
Even if you decide not to get your full moped licence, we recommend that you do further training after CBT to improve your riding skills and your road sense.
Aged 17 or over: A1 Motorcycle Licence
You can take a 2-stage practical test, after passing your CBT and theory tests, to get an A1 licence. This allows you to ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc (with maximum power of 11 KW) without L plates, and to carry a passenger. Passing a full motorcycle test can also reduce your insurance costs.
After two years of holding an A1 motorcycle licence, you can take another practical test and get an A2 Motorcycle Licence (see below).
Again, even if you opt to ride on L plates after completing CBT instead of gaining your A1 Licence, we strongly advise you to get additional training for your own safety and confidence.
Aged 19 or over: A2 Motorcycle Licence
You can get an A2 Motorcycle Licence, allowing you to ride a motorcycle or scooter with power up to 35KW (46.6 bhp) which will typically mean up to 500cc engine size, or a restricted version of a more powerful model.
There are two ways to qualify for an A2 licence:
If you have held an A1 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical test.
You can take the Direct Access route by completing CBT, Theory tests and a practical test.
You are then allowed to ride any A2 category motorbike or scooter without L plates and to carry a passenger.
After holding an A2 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical test and get an unrestricted A Motorcycle licence (see below).
Aged 21 or over: unrestricted A Motorcycle Licence
You can get an A Motorcycle Licence, allowing you to ride any motorcycle or scooter of any size or power. There are two ways to qualify for an A Motorcycle Licence:
If you have held an A2 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical test.
If you are aged 24 or over, you can take the Direct Access route by completing CBT, Theory tests and a practical test.
You are then allowed to ride any motorbike or scooter without L plates and to carry a passenger.
Passing your test should not be the end of your training. Further bike training will help you ride more safely and enjoy being in control of your motorcycle. The DSA Enhanced Rider Scheme is one way to improve your riding – and save money on insurance premiums.
Motorcycle Test Prices
If you’re thinking of getting your full motorcycle licence and wondering what current UK motorcycle test prices are, read on. Here’s our guide to what it should cost you to ride a motorbike or scooter legally on British roads.
First, you have to do CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). As the name suggests, this is not a test, but a minimum training requirement to let you ride a motorcycle up to 125cc engine capacity on the road with L plates (but not to carry a passenger or go on a motorway). Most people complete this in one day, but it’s not unusual to be asked to spend a few more hours to reach the level your instructor feels you need to be safe.
Once your trainer is satisfied that you can ride safely on the road, you will be given a certificate of completion – DL196. This allows you to ride for up to 2 years. If you haven’t progressed to a full motorcycle licence within 24 months, you must do CBT again.
Because this is training, rather than a test, and because it often includes hire of a motorcycle and even helmet and gloves, prices of CBT vary widely across the UK. You should expect to pay between £100 - £150, but there may be a good reason why you are quoted a higher or lower price. For example, you could be asked to pay more if you need more training time. Bear this in mind when choosing a CBT trainer.
The next step is the Theory Test. There are two parts, a multiple-choice theory test that is specific to motorcycles, and an interactive Hazard Perception Test. You must pass both parts, or you will have to re-take both parts. This costs £31. Because it is specific to motorcycles, you must take this even if you have already passed a Theory Test for another type of vehicle.
When you have passed your Theory Test you can go on to take your Motorcycle Practical Test. This comes in two parts, the Module 1 (off road) and Module 2 (on road). Practical motorcycle test prices vary according to when you take them.
The Module One Test costs £15.50. The Module Two Test costs £75.00 if you take it in working hours (weekday daytime) but if you take the Mod 2 Test in the evening, at the weekend or on a Bank Holiday it will cost you £88.50.
You may find that your motorcycle trainer will book the tests for you and include the motorcycle test costs in the overall price of your training.
When you have passed CBT, Theory and both parts of the Practical Motorcycle test, you are entitled to a Full Motorcycle Licence. You may still be restricted in what you can ride by your age or how long you have been riding. You may also have to take an additional practical test to ride a more powerful motorcycle if you pass your test on a smaller scooter or motorbike.
NOTE: LICENCE REGULATIONS CHANGED on January 19th 2013 - see our guide to the new Motorcycle Licence Regulations to find out if you are affected.
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