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Motorcycle and Moped Tests Explained

As a learner preparing for your practical riding tests you may be looking for answers to some common questions, such as when can you make a booking and what should you take with you?

You might also be wondering... what happens in the two modules and what happens if they cancel it? This section explains everything you need to know about taking DVSA motorcycle and moped tests.

When to Book a Motorcycle or Moped Test

The pass certificate number from the motorbike theory test stays valid for two (2) years. During this time, you should take and pass:

  • DVSA Module 1 (an off-road bike riding test)
  • DVSA Module 2 (an on-road practical riding test)

You can either choose to book the two riding tests at the same time or as separate bookings. But, you must take and pass Module 1 before taking Module 2.

Important: The fee for each module differs. Check the current driving test prices when booked through GOV.UK (some unofficial websites may charge higher fees).

The criteria for passing the motorcycle, moped, or scooter tests means being able to:

  • Ride the bike safely in various road and traffic conditions.
  • Show that you are familiar with the British Highway Code (shown by the way you ride).

The DVSA produce the national standard for riding mopeds and motorcycles. It provides guidance on what you must be able to do and what you must know and understand to be a safe and responsible moped or motorcycle rider.

Note: There is no minimum or maximum number of lessons you must have. A DVSA report suggests it will take most novice motorbike riders around fifty (50) hours of lessons.

How to Check or Change Test Details

What to Take to the Riding Tests

To avoid the test centre cancelling your motorcycle or moped tests you will need to take:

  • Your driver’s licence (e.g. United Kingdom photocard licence).
  • The pass certificate you received from the theory test (it has a unique number).
  • A vehicle to use (e.g. a moped or a motorbike).
  • The certificate you received from your CBT course (unless the test is to upgrade a full motorcycle licence).
  • The test pass certificate from Module 1 (if taking module 2 test).

Note: Failing to bring the correct things to your test can result in a cancellation. In this case, you would not get a refund of the money.

For Motorcycle and Moped Tests You MUST wear:

  • A motorcycle helmet meeting British safety standards (exceptions apply for Sikhs wearing a turban).
  • Motorcycle boots (or some other sturdy footwear that will support and protect your ankles).
  • A leather or textile motorcycle jacket (e.g. a heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath).
  • Leather or textile motorcycle trousers (heavy denim trousers may suffice).
  • Motorcycle riding gloves (will be a different thickness for winter and for summer).

Note: Failing to wear suitable clothing means they may stop your course and charge you to take it again.

United Kingdom Driving Licences

You can replace a driving licence online if your is lost, damaged, or stolen. But, keep in mind that it can take up to two (2) weeks to get a replacement.

  • Take a valid passport along with your paper licence if yours is not the new photocard version.
  • Take the Northern Ireland photocard along with the paper counterpart if yours is a licence from Northern Ireland

Note: It may mean having to change a riding test appointment if the new licence fails to arrive in time.

What if You Lose the Theory Test Certificate?

You should contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you lost your theory test certificate. Give them your full name and your driving licence number.

DVSA Theory Test Enquiries
Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 200 1122
Monday to Friday: 8am to 4pm
Check call charges to 0300 numbers.

Note: The DVSA would send you a letter to take to the driving test (instead of using the pass certificate).

Using Motorcycles or Mopeds in the Tests

The rules for using a motorcycle, moped, or a scooter for the tests are such that the vehicle must:

  • Be a solo machine (the use of a sidecar is only allowed for people with certain disabilities).
  • Have a speedometer that measures speed in miles per hour (mph).
  • Display the correct L plates on the front and rear of the bike (can be ‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales).
  • Be insured, taxed, and roadworthy (e.g. cannot have any engine warning lights showing).

Note: The DVSA has a comprehensive list of A2 and A motorcycles that can be used for motorcycle riding tests.

Motorcycles and Mopeds Subcategories

There are four (4) different subcategories of mopeds and motorcycles. For both of the modules of the test, you would need to use:

  • The same subcategory as the licence for which you are applying.
  • A vehicle with the same type of transmission (e.g. automatic, manual, or semi-automatic).

Subcategory Moped, Quad Bike, or Tricycle Light Motorcycle Standard Motorcycle Unrestricted Motorcycle
Licence category AM A1 A2 A
Minimum age of rider 16 17 19 24
Engine capacity (cc) Up to 50cc 120 to 125cc At least 395cc At least 595cc
Maximum speed Up to 28mph 55mph or above N/A N/A
Engine power Up to 4kW Up to 11kW 20 to 35kW At least 50kW
Motorcycle weight (without a rider) N/A N/A N/A At least 180kg
Power to weight ratio N/A N/A Up to 0.2 kW/kg N/A
Power to weight ratio (if using a sidecar) N/A Up to 0.16kW/kg N/A Up to 0.16kW/kg

Automatic and Semi-automatic Motorcycles

Passing the tests on a motorcycle that has an automatic or semi-automatic transmission means you would only get a licence for that particular type of motorcycle.

Engines with Restricted Power

You would be able to restrict the engine power of a motorcycle so it fits within subcategory A2 (20 to 35kW). But, you cannot restrict it below half of its original power.

You would need to take some proof along to the tests. So, it must be on headed paper, and:

  • From a main dealer, recognised specialist, or an official importer.
  • Show the number plate (registration number) of the motorcycle.

Important: The testing centre will not allow a dyno test certificate as proof of the restriction. Failing to bring proof of a restricted motorcycle to subcategory A2 means they will cancel the test.

Motorbikes with Variable Power Modes

You can use a switchable engine control unit (ECU) or a variable power device. But, in this case the motorcycle cannot have:

  • An exhaust manifold restrictor.
  • A hidden ECU (the power mode that the motorcycle is in needs to be made clear).
  • Interchangeable carburettor heads.

Electric Motorcycles

You can only use an electric motorcycle or electric moped, if (both):

  • It has the same engine power as the petrol version.
  • It has a continuous power rating (it can hold the power for at least thirty minutes).

Adjustments for People with Disabilities

You would be able to use a motorcycle with a sidecar for the tests if you have certain disabilities. But, you would not be able to have a passenger sitting in the sidecar during the actual tests.

It would also mean that your licence would only allow you ride these types of motorcycles (e.g. with sidecars).

Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) before making a booking if you need to use a different vehicle because of your disability.

DVSA Customer Services
Telephone: 0300 200 1122
Monday to Friday: 8am to 4pm
Information on phone call charges.

DVSA Module 1: Off-road Test

Module 1 will take place in a safe off-road circuit called a motorcycle manoeuvring area. As a rule, this part should not take more than twenty (20) minutes to complete, and will include:

  • Wheeling the moped or the motorcycle and using the stand
  • Riding a slalom and figure of eight (8)
  • Performing a slow ride
  • Carrying out a U-turn
  • Cornering and a controlled stop
  • Cornering and an emergency stop
  • Cornering and hazard avoidance

The hazard avoidance exercise and the emergency stop procedure both have minimum speeds that you must ride. They are:

  • 19 miles per hour (mph) on a moped
  • 31 miles per hour (mph) on a motorcycle

Getting the Test Result

The examiner will inform you whether you passed module 1 once you complete all of the exercises. They will also make a note of whether you made:

  • A riding fault (has little potential for danger but could become a serious fault if repeated).
  • A serious fault (something that has the potential of becoming a dangerous situation).
  • A dangerous fault (involves actual danger to the driver, the test examiner, members of the public, or to property).

You will pass mod 1 if you DO NOT make:

  • More than five (5) ‘minors’ (riding faults)
  • Any ‘majors’ (serious or dangerous faults)

If you pass the examiner will:

  • Tell you if you made any riding faults.
  • Give you the pass certificate to use for Module 2 on-road test.

You would need to pass module 2 within six (6) months if you are using ‘progressive access‘ to upgrade a licence. If not, you would need to pass module 1 again.

If you fail to pass:

Not passing means you would need to book another module 1 test and pay the fee again. You must schedule a date that is at least three (3) working days later.

You must pass module 1 off-road before taking module 2 on-road. Therefore, you may need to change the date if you already booked it for the module 2 test.

Note: Failing to give three (3) full days of notice to cancel a Module 2 test means you may lose the fee. Keep in mind that Sundays and public holidays do not count as working days.

DVSA Module 2: On-road Test

Providing you already passed module 1, the second module usually takes around forty (40) minutes to complete and includes:

  • An eyesight check (reading a number plate)
  • ‘Show me, tell me’ (practical questions about vehicle safety)
  • A road riding section
  • Independent riding

Important: You will need to have the same documents that are required for the Module 1 test as well as your pass certificate from that exercise.

Pass Mark for the Eyesight Check

You will need to read out the correct letters and numbers on a vehicle number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres (for vehicles with the new-style number plate).
  • 20.5 metres (for vehicles with the old-style number plate).

Note: The new-style number plates begin with two (2) letters followed by two (2) numbers (e.g. AB99 ABC). Failing the eyesight check means you will also fail the riding test. If this happens, the process would end.

‘Show Me, Tell Me’ Safety Questions

The primary purpose of the two (2) ‘show me, tell me‘ motorcycle riding test questions is to confirm you can carry out some basic safety checks.

Road Riding Section

Apart from riding on motorways, you will ride your bike in various road and traffic conditions. During which, the examiner will ask you to carry out:

  • Normal stops
  • An angle start (e.g. moving the bike out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • A hill start (where it is possible to do so)

DVSA do not publish riding test routes. Therefore, there is no way you can check the route beforehand. Instead, the examiner will follow you on a motorcycle and give clear directions to you by radio.

10 Minutes of Independent Riding

The purpose is of the independent motorcycle riding section is to assess your ability to ride in a safe manner while making decisions by yourself (and without using a sat nav).

You will not fail if you do not remember every direction given to you. Instead, stay calm and ask the examiner to confirm the directions for you.

Getting the Test Result

The examiner will inform you whether you passed once you finish all the exercises from Module 2. They will also make a note of any:

  • Riding faults (little potential for danger but could become a serious fault if repeated).
  • Serious faults (something that has the potential of becoming a dangerous situation).
  • Dangerous faults (involves actual danger to the driver, the test examiner, members of the public, or to property).

You will pass mod 2 if you DO NOT make:

  • Any ‘majors’ (serious or dangerous faults)
  • More than ten (10) ‘minors’ (riding faults)

If you pass the examiner will:

  • Tell you if you made any riding faults.
  • Present you with a pass certificate.
  • Ask whether you want the full licence sent to you by automatic process. If so, you would need to hand over your provisional licence.

There is no need to wait for the full licence to arrive before riding on the roads without L plates. You can ride your bike straight after passing the test. Allow up to three (3) weeks for the new licence to arrive before contacting the DVLA.

If you do not reach the pass mark:

If you fail, the examiner would tell you which faults you made. You would need to pay again to rebook Module 2 test. It would have to be a date that is at least ten (10) working days later.

If the Test is Cancelled (e.g. bad weather)

There are several reasons for cancelling motorcycle and moped tests. They may stop because of bad weather, due to health problems, or because of issues with the bike setup.

Cancellation Due to Bad Weather

DVSA will not conduct motorbike riding tests in dangerous or in adverse weather conditions. So, they will cancel it if there is thick fog, high winds, or if the roads are flooded or icy.

It is best to phone the test centre if there are any bad weather conditions in force on examination day. You will find the phone number on the booking confirmation email.

If the test cannot go ahead the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will:

  • Book the next available date for a test (you would be able to change your riding test appointment).
  • Send the rescheduling details to you within three (3) working days. Although unusual, long periods of bad weather may force a delay of up to seven (7) days.

Note: Learner riders cannot claim out-of-pocket expenses if the DVSA cancels the test because of bad weather.

Cancelled Due to Vehicle or Health Problems

You must book your practical riding test again, and pay the exam fee once more, if the problem that causes the cancellation is (either):

  • A fault of yours (e.g. you feel unwell during the evaluation).
  • A fault of your vehicle (e.g. the motorbike breaks down during the test).

Other Reasons for Cancelling the Test

There may be another reason why the DVSA needs to cancel the schedule (e.g. the examiner is not feeling well). In this case, they would send you a new date.

Note: You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses for a cancellation at a short notice (less than 3 clear working days).

Making Adjustments for People with Disabilities

After making the booking, you should let the testing centre know if you have:

  • A disability
  • A health condition
  • A learning difficulty

Note: Even though you would need to ride to the same standard to get a pass mark, the examiner can make some adjustments to ease the exercises.

Riders who are Deaf

Examiners can start the test using written notes for riders who are deaf or for those with a hearing impairment. The notes will make it easier to understand what is involved in the DVSA motorcycle test.

They will also face you when they speak, and may give directions as hand signals. Thus, anyone who can lip read will find it easier to understand what they are saying.

Using a Sign Language Interpreter

If you take a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter along with you they need to be at least sixteen (16) years old. It can be your motorcycle riding instructor.

You would need to arrange your own interpreter and pay for any fees that they charge you. But, you can apply for a refund for using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter at a motorbike riding test.

If You are Pregnant

There are no motorcycle test rules that stop a pregnant woman taking part at any stage of the pregnancy. Even so, you would need to be able (and willing) to carry out the required exercises and perform an emergency stop.

If You have Reading or Learning Difficulties

Anyone with a reading difficulty can still perform the eyesight check at the beginning of Module 2 riding test. You can achieve it by writing down the number plate instead of reading it out aloud to the examiner.

If you have some learning difficulties, the examiner can make adjustments for the independent riding segment. For example, you might prefer to follow traffic signs instead of the examiner’s verbal directions.

Another alternative is to follow a set of directions given to you (e.g. on a diagram). As a rule, examiners would ask riders to follow up to three (3) directions at a time. But, they can reduce it to two (2) directions for someone who has a learning difficulty.

Motorcycle, Moped, and Scooter Tests Guide for United Kingdom