Motorcycle Test and Licence Changes from 2013 FAQ
Changes to bring UK driving licences in line with those around the EU mean motorcycle licence changes from January 2013.
We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the new motorcycle licence laws below. If we haven’t answered yours, please ask us! Or check out our complete guide to your routes to riding.
I am 17. How will the new motorcycle licence laws affect me?
The new laws make no difference to what you can ride. You can still ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc after completing CBT.
By going on to pass your motorcycle theory tests and the 2-part Practical test, you can get an A1 Motorcycle licence to ride without L plates and carry a passenger, as before. After age 19, you can still move onto a bigger motorcycle (see below).
I’m 19 and want to ride a motorcycle. How will the changes affect me?
You now have more choices of motorbike or scooter available to you than before. You can ride a category A1 motorcycle (up to 125cc) with L plates after completing CBT.
You can then pass your Motorcycle Theory Tests and your practical test and obtain your A2 motorcycle licence by the Direct Access route.
This lets you ride any category A2 motorcycle at once (typically up to 500cc, but certain models of motorbike up to 750cc also fall into this category).
I am 21 – can I still get straight onto a big bike by taking Direct Access training?
You can still take the Direct Access route. Until you are 24, the Direct Access route can only lead to an A2 Motorcycle Licence, which allows you to ride any category A2 motorbike or scooter.
Typically, this means 500cc, but it also includes larger models up to 750cc. So you can still ride a motorcycle that can handles motorways and carry passengers after just one practical test. Many of the popular “first big bike” models are category A2 motorbikes.
After you have held your A2 licence for 2 years, you can attain an unrestricted Motorcycle A licence by taking your practical test again on a category A motorcycle.
I have already passed my test and hold a full Motorcycle Licence. How will the changes affect me?
The changes only affect people who take their practical test on or after January 19th 2013. If you already hold a motorcycle or moped licence your entitlement to ride is not affected.
I have already passed my test and hold an A1 licence. How will the changes affect me?
Your current entitlement to ride is not affected. The only difference the changes make to you is that you will no longer qualify automatically for an unrestricted Motorcycle A Licence after 2 years of holding an A1 Licence.
To upgrade your licence, you will need to take the 2 part Practical Test again on a motorbike or scooter of the category you wish to ride. If you are under 24, you can take the test on a category A2 motorcycle after 2 years of holding an A1 licence. If you are 24 or older and old a valid Theory Test pass certificate, you can take the Practical test on a category A motorcycle and gain an unrestricted licence at once.
I am 16. Can I still ride a moped?
Yes. You can ride a moped (up to 50cc) with L plates after completing CBT, but not carry a passenger. This has not changed.
After completing CBT, you can also take your Motorcycle Theory and Practical Tests on a moped to obtain an AM (Moped) Licence, which replaces the old moped (category P) licence. This allows you to ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates, and to carry a passenger.
What are the new motorcycle licence age restrictions?
You can only ride a 50cc moped that is restricted to 28mph.
Aged 17 or Over
You can ride any motorbike or scooter with a maximum engine of 125cc (A1 category)
Aged 19 or Over
You can ride any machine up to 35kW (47bhp) – typically 500cc but some larger models are also A2 category.
Aged 21 but under 24
You can ride any machine of your choice, but you must have held a category A2 licence for 2 years and then taken an additional Practical Test.
Aged 24 or Over
You can ride any machine of your choice (A category)
I have a full Car Driving Licence - Can I still ride a moped?
If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 February 2001, you can still ride a moped (up to 50cc, with a maximum speed of 28mph) after completing Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for as long as your car driving licence is valid. You can ride without L plates and carry a passenger.
If you passed your car test before 1 February 2001, you may ride a moped without L plates and carry a passenger. However, if you haven’t ridden a scooter or motorbike before, we strongly advise you to complete CBT as a minimum.
Can I still get a Moped Licence?
After completing CBT, you can take your Motorcycle Theory and Practical Tests on a moped to obtain an AM (Moped) Licence, which replaces the old moped (category P) licence. This allows you to ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates, and to carry a passenger.
If you already hold a P Licence, the next time you replace or renew your driving licence it will be converted to AM.
Has the Motorcycle Test changed?
No. The CBT (Compulsory Basic Training), the Motorcycle Theory test and Hazard awareness Test, and the 2-part Motorcycle Practical Test, are unchanged. The only change is what type of motorcycle you must use to take the test.
How do I know what type of motorcycle to use for my test?
For category A1 you must use a motorcycle without side car, with engine size at least 120cc and no more than 125cc, power not to exceed 11kw (14.6bhp), capable of at least 90km/h (55mph).
For an A2 licence you must take your test on a motorcycle without side car, of at least 395cc with a power output between 25 and 35 kW (33bhp and 46.6bhp). There is no upper engine size limit, but the power to weight ratio must not exceed 0.2kW/kg and it must not be derived from a motorcycle of more than double its power. This may change at the end of 2013.
For a full A Motorcycle Licence you must take Module 1 and Module 2 tests on a motorcycle without side car of at least 595cc with a power output of at least 40kw (53.6bhp), normally the same one you have ridden during training.
You must take both parts of the Practical test (MOD 1 and MOD2 ) on the same category motorcycle.
Your motorcycle instructor will know whether your scooter or motorbike is suitable for your category of test. If you are in doubt, you can check the DVLA list of permitted motorcycles for the Practical Test.
Can I still get a Free Ride to see if I like it?
Of course! Simply sign up for your free ride here and we’ll get you rolling with a friendly, qualified motorcycle instructor near you. When you’ve tried riding, you can also ask the motorcycle trainer any other questions you have about CBT or getting your motorcycle licence.
Still unsure how to get onto two wheels? Get On's Routes to Riding Flow Chart gives you a clear overview of all of your options!
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