How to Get a Motorcycle or Moped Licence
The method you use to get a moped or motorcycle licence depends on:
- Your age when you apply for it (the minimum age is 16).
- Whether you already have a licence (and what type).
- What, if any, bike training you have already completed.
If you do not pass both parts of the motorcycle practical test within two (2) years of passing the theory test, you would need to start the process over again.
Note: Different rules apply if you held a motorcycle or a moped licence before the 19th of January 2013 (further details below).
Riding a Motorcycle
There are several different bike categories, age limits, and licence requirements to be aware of. Check the tables below to make sure you are old enough and get the right entitlement on your bike licence.
Riding a Moped
The DVLA have changed the way moped entitlements show up on licences. But, you must still be at least sixteen (16) years old to ride a moped or scooter in the United Kingdom.
If you already hold a valid car driving licence, you can ride a moped (up to 50cc) without taking the moped test and without displaying ‘L’ plates.
Motor Tricycles (trikes)
You now need to get the correct provisional entitlement, and pass the CBT, to ride a motor tricycle or trike (unless you are physically disabled).
But, providing you are over 21 years old and hold a full car driving licence, you can drive a motor tricycle with any power rating.
You must have a full category A1 motorbike licence to ride any motor tricycles with a power output up to 15 kW. You need a full category A motorbike licence to ride any trikes with a power output over 15 Kilowatts (kW).
After completing the CBT, not passing the theory and motorcycle tests within two (2) years would mean you must do the CBT again.
Note: Provisional category B car licences (and provisional category A licences) now only cover people with a physical disability to ride motor tricycles. Driving tests for 3-wheeled vehicles are only available for physically disabled drivers.
Riders with a Full EU Driving Licence
The rules change if you have a full EU driving licence. In this case, before you take CBT motorcycle and moped training, you would need to (either):
- Exchange your non-GB driving licence for a British licence.
- Use a D9 form to register a non-GB driving licence with DVLA.
Note: Registering an EU driving licence means you would need to exchange it for a GB licence after passing the theory and practical tests.
Learning to Ride a Motorcycle
You must have the correct provisional driving licence before you start learning to ride a motorbike or moped. You can learn to ride on your own bike, but you must ensure:
- It has a valid V5C registration certificate (log book)
- It has road tax and a current MOT (where needed)
- You have adequate motor insurance (check vehicle insurance law)
Note: The Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Ride book and the DVSA Guide to Riding are available for purchase online.
Taking Full Motorcycle Tests
DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme
You would be able to take the DVSA enhanced rider scheme after passing the motorcycle test. It is a scheme that checks riding skills and provides extra training to help riders improve.
You would need to be a fully licensed motorcyclist and have already passed the motorbike test. If so, the scheme is most suitable for riders who:
- Have recently passed or are returning to riding after a break.
- Want to upgrade to a bigger bike with a more powerful engine.
- Would like to have their riding standard checked by a DVSA enhanced rider scheme trainer.
As a rule, the DVSA enhanced riding scheme will take around two (2) hours to complete and results in a ‘DVSA certificate of competence’.
Note: There is no ‘pass or fail’ test. But, successful completion of the enhanced rider scheme qualifies you for a discount on motorbike insurance.
Licences Issued before 19th of January 2013
Nothing changes for riders who has held a motorcycle or a moped licence before the 19th of January in 2013. So, you will keep any existing entitlements and you can still ride the same kind of motorbikes you had entitlement to before the rule changes.
But, driving licences changed in January 2013 (to comply with EU rules) and now look different. Anyone who gets a new licence may have their entitlements shown differently.
The new rules for motorbike categories, for ages, and licence requirements below, shows what will happen if you want to get higher entitlements (e.g. for riding a motorbike with a bigger engine size).
Moped Category Changes
The driving licence will show as category P for anyone already licensed to ride a moped and the new rules will not affect them. But, any new licences issued will show categories AM and Q beside the existing category P.
In simple terms, it means you also have entitlement to ride 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with a top speed of no more than 50 km/h.
Car Driving Test Passed before 1st of February 2001
Passing the car driving test before the 1st of February 2001 means there is no need for you to take compulsory basic training (CBT) to ride a scooter. Even so, you would need to complete CBT training to ride a motorbike.
Car Driving Test Passed since 1st of February 2001
You would need to take CBT training to ride a moped if you passed the car driving test from the 1st of February 2001. But, there would be no need to take further theory and practical tests (or repeat the CBT course).
Riders who are already licensed to ride a motorcycle will have category A showing on their licence. So, nothing will change even if it is renewed or replaced after the 19th of January 2013.
Holding category B1 entitlement (e.g. for trikes and quads) will show categories B1 and A on any renewed or replaced licence after the 19th of January 2013. The A entitlement is limited to tricycles. So, you would not be able to ride motorbikes that it previously allowed you to.
Non-disabled drivers would need to pass CBT, as well as the theory and practical tests, on a 2-wheeled motorbike to get entitlement to ride motor tricycles.
Note: The DVLA flowchart has step-by-step instructions on how to get a moped or motorbike licence. A different guide explains which driving licence you need to ride a motorcycle in Northern Ireland.
Motorbike Categories and Licence Requirements
|Category||Types of Vehicles You Can Ride||Licence Requirements||Minimum Age|
|AM||Mopeds with a speed range of 25 to 45 km/h||Compulsory basic training (CBT), motorcycle theory test, practical test on all powered 2-wheeled moped||Sixteen (16)|
|AM||Small 3-wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 kW)||CBT, motorcycle theory test, practical test||Sixteen (16)|
|AM||Light quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h)||CBT, motorcycle theory test, practical test||Sixteen (16)|
|Q||Same as AM (plus 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with a top speed of 25 km/h)||Same as those granted with AM||Sixteen (16)|
|A1||Light motorcycle up to 11 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg) and 125 cc||CBT, motorcycle theory test, practical test||Seventeen (17)|
|A1||Motor tricycles with a power output of not more than 15 kW||CBT, motorcycle theory test, practical test||Seventeen (17)|
|A2||Standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power||Direct access route (theory and practical). Progressive access route (2 years experience on A1 motorbike and a further practical test)||Nineteen (19)|
|A||Unrestricted motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with power output over 15 kW||Direct access route (CBT theory and practical if you are at least 24). Progressive access route (held an A2 licence for a minimum of 2 years – practical test (21 or over))||24 (direct) or 21 (progressive access)|
Note: You can apply for a provisional licence before taking the theory or practical tests. Other sections explain how the theory test works and what happens in the motorcycle, moped, and scooter tests.
Safety Equipment when Riding Motorbikes
The motorcycle helmet law in the United Kingdom is strict and carries heavy penalties for non-compliance. You must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle on any of the roads and highways.
All motorcycle safety helmets sold in United Kingdom must comply with at least one of these regulations:
- British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI (British Standards Institution) Kitemark.
- UNECE Regulation 22.05.
- Any standard accepted by a member of the European Economic Area offering a level of safety and protection equivalent to BS 6658:1985 and carrying a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark.
Note: The Highways Code states that anyone who needs glasses or contact lenses to read a number plate at the prescribed distance MUST wear them when riding a motorcycle or a moped.
Riding with Visors and Goggles
If you wear visors or goggles when riding a motorbike the equipment must comply with (either):
- A British Standard and displays a BSI Kitemark.
- A European standard offering a level of safety and protection at least equivalent to the British Standard and carrying a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark (ECE 22-05).