CBT, A1, A2, A & AM Licence Information
If you’re new to scooters and motorcycles, the UK laws about what motorcycle test you need to pass in order to ride different motorbikes and scooters can seem complicated. But they’re not, so don’t worry. Here we’ll take you through the steps you need to take to get on your way.
Getting Your UK Provisional Motorcycle Licence
To start your journey 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.
You must complete your Compulsory Basic Training (often known as 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 which shows you have completed the training.
Compulsory basic training (CBT) has 5 elements:
- introduction and eyesight check
- practical on-site training
- practical on-site riding
- practical on-road training
- practical on-road riding
You’ll move from one element to the next when your trainer is happy you’ve:
- learnt the theory
- shown the practical skills to a safe basic level
You might train with others and there’s a maximum number of:
- 4 learners per trainer for all the on-site elements
- 2 learners per trainer for all the on-road elements
For most completing CBT takes just one day – for those who are a little more cautious sometimes the instructor will suggest a few more hours instruction to ensure you are safe.
If you have not gained a full motorcycle or moped licence two years after completing CBT, your DL196 certificate is no longer valid and you must repeat your CBT.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) without taking your CBT, 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 so as to be safe on the roads.
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.
However if you have passed a two part moped test or a lower category motorcycle test since 1st July 1996 you don’t need to take the theory test again.
The new motorcycle licensing laws mean your choices depend partly on your age and partly on your experience. Here’s how…
You can ride a moped with L plates after completing your CBT, or if you want you could opt for the new AM licence by taking your theory test and then a practical test. This will allow you to ride a moped (either scooter or motorcycle style) 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 and just ride with L plates after your CBT, we recommend that you do further training after CBT to improve your riding skills and your road sense.
At 17 you can take a 2-stage practical test, after passing your CBT and theory tests, to get an A1 licence. This category will allow you to ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc (with maximum power of 11 KW) without L plates, and to carry a passenger. You might find that 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 if successful qualify for an A2 Motorcycle Licence (see below).
Again, even if you opt to ride on L plates after completing your CBT instead of gaining your A1 Licence, we strongly advise you to get additional training for your own safety and confidence.
At 19 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 bigger more powerful model.
There are two ways to qualify for an A2 licence:
First if you have held an A1 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical test.
Or second if you are 19 or older you can take the Direct Access route by completing your CBT and passing your Theory Test and Practical Tests.
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).
At 21 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:
One, if you have held an A2 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical test.
If you haven’t held an A2 licence for two years and 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 more – you’ll end up having more fun this way! There are many ways to do this. Your local training school will offer advanced rider training, or you could contact the Institute of Advanced Motorists to find out how to pass their course. Alternatively the DSA Enhanced Rider Scheme can improve your riding as can an assessment with BikeSafe. All these will improve your riding, ensure you have more fun than before and stay as safe as possible. They may even save you money on your insurance premiums.
If you’re thinking of getting your full motorcycle licence and wondering what it will cost, 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 your 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. 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.
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.