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Highway Code Motorcycle licence requirements

This Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone.

If you have a provisional motorcycle licence, you MUST satisfactorily complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course. You can then ride on the public road, with L plates (in Wales either D plates, L plates or both can be used), for up to two years. To obtain your full motorcycle licence you MUST pass a motorcycle theory test and then a practical test.

[Law MV(DL)R regs 16 & 68]

If you have a full car licence you may ride motorcycles up to 125 cc and 11 kW power output, with L plates (and/or D plates in Wales), on public roads, but you MUST first satisfactorily complete a CBT course if you have not already done so.

[Law MV(DL)R reg 43]

If you have a full moped licence and wish to obtain full motorcycle entitlement, you will be required to take a motorcycle theory test if you did not take a separate theory test when you obtained your moped licence. You MUST then pass a practical motorcycle test. Note that if CBT was completed for the full moped licence there is no need to repeat it, but if the moped test was taken before 1/12/90 CBT will need to be completed before riding a motorcycle as a learner.

[Law MV(DL)R regs 42(1) & 69(1)]

Light motorcycle licence (A1): you take a test on a motorcycle of between 75 and 125 cc. If you pass you may ride a motorcycle up to 125 cc with power output up to 11 kW.

Standard motorcycle licence (A): if your test vehicle is between 120 and 125 cc and capable of more than 100 km/h you will be given a standard (A) licence. You will then be restricted to motorcycles of up to 25 kW for two years. After two years you may ride any size machine.

Direct or Accelerated Access enables riders over the age of 21, or those who reach 21 before their two-year restriction ends, to ride larger motorcycles sooner. To obtain a licence to do so they are required to

  • have successfully completed a CBT course
  • pass a theory test, if they are required to do so
  • pass a practical test on a machine with power output of at least 35 kW

To practise, they can ride larger motorcycles, with L plates (and/or D plates in Wales), on public roads, but only when accompanied by an approved instructor on another motorcycle in radio contact.

You MUST NOT carry a pillion passenger or pull a trailer until you have passed your test.

[Law MV(DL)R reg 16]

Moped licence requirements

A moped MUST have an engine capacity not exceeding 50 cc, not weigh more than 250 kg and be designed to have a maximum speed not exceeding 31 mph (50 km/h). From June 2003 all EC Type Approved mopeds have been restricted to 28 mph (45 km/h).

[Law RTA 1988 (as amended) sect 108]

To ride a moped, learners MUST

  • be 16 or over
  • have a provisional moped licence
  • complete CBT training

You MUST first pass the theory test for motorcycles and then the moped practical test to obtain your full moped licence. If you passed your driving test before 1 February 2001 you are qualified to ride a moped without L plates (and/or D plates in Wales), although it is recommended that you complete CBT before riding on the road. If you passed your driving test after this date you MUST complete CBT before riding a moped on the road.

[Laws RTA 1988 sects 97(e) & 101 & MV(DL)R regs 38(4) & 43]

Note. For motorcycle and moped riders wishing to upgrade, the following give exemption from taking the motorcycle theory test

  • full A1 motorcycle licence
  • full moped licence, if gained after 1/7/96
[Law MV(DL)R reg 42]




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