• Denise S.

#TeachingTuesday -Getting a full motorcycle licence – what’s involved?

Thinking of getting a bike and not sure what you can ride and when? Let’s try to explain it here (simply).

Under age of 19

From age 16 you need to undergo Compulsory basic training (CBT), theory test and practical test on all powered 2-wheeled moped.

Age 16, with the above, you can ride Mopeds with speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/h (AM Licence).

Age 17, with the above, you can ride Light motorcycle up to 11 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg) and 125 cc (A1 Licence).

Aged 19-23

From aged 19, you can ride a standard motorcycle up to 35 kW by taking the Theory and Practical test (see detail below) known as Direct Access. For more detail check here: https://www.gov.uk/ride-motorcycle-moped/bike-categories-ages-and-licence-requirements (A2 Licence). NB anyone over 19yrs of age can take this licence, eg if they don’t ever want to ride over 35kW bike.

Aged 24+

From this age, you are unrestricted to ride motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar by taking the Theory and Practical Test (see detail below) (A License). NB you have to take these tests even if you hold an A2 licence, if you want to ride any size motorbike.

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

First thing to mention, CBT is not a “test” which you pass or fail. You will receive your certificate from the riding school if they deem you safe to be on the road on your own. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with going back for another day to ensure they and you are satisfied you are at the right standard.

There are a few exceptions to taking the CBT, see here: https://www.gov.uk/motorcycle-cbt

The CBT Certificate lasts for 2 years, if you have not progressed to A2 or A Licence in this time and want to carry on riding, you must retake the certificate. You can however retake this every 2 years if you only ever want to ride a 125cc.

Theory Test

You must have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months before the day you take your theory or driving test and hold a Provisional Licence.

Also, worth noting, if you have had your A1 licence for at least 2 years and are taking A2 licence, you don’t need to take another Theory test. You do however, have to take a Theory test for a motorcycle even if you hold a full car driving licence.

You will need to have passed the Theory Test prior to starting the next stage to a full Licence.

Refer here for more detail on how to book and costs: https://www.gov.uk/motorcycle-theory-test

Direct Access (aka Mod 1 & Mod 2)

Aged 19+ you can progress to Direct Access which consists of two tests;

Mod 1 – off road / slow manoeuvres

Mod 2 – on road

Mod 1 covers all aspects you need to master when manoeuvring and controlling the bike manually or at slow speeds – often it can take several go’s to pass this part of the test but in my view, it makes you better at it! I am not embarrassed to say I took a few go’s but when I got on the road, I know I was safer for it.

Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/motorcycle-test/module-1-offroad-test

Mod 2 often many pass this easier than Mod1 as we practice this more being out on the road, especially if you have had time on a 125 beforehand. Invaluable experience in my view.

Key areas covered, an eyesight check (can you read a number plate 20m away), vehicle safety questions (your school will cover these beforehand), and then the key bit, riding on the road.

Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/motorcycle-test/module-2-onroad-test

Key Points to be aware of

The Mod 1 certificate will expire on the same date as your motorcycle theory certificate. If you fail to sit/pass your Mod 2 test before this expiry date, then you will be required to re-take your theory and also re-sit the Mod 1 test.

If your CBT runs out whilst taking the other tests, you have to retake it but you don’t lose your Theory or Mod 1 if you have already passed those.

So. when you are ready, go and speak to a few recommended Riding Schools, have a chat, see their bikes, and see if you get on. You have to trust them enough to do what they tell you even if you aren’t confident, that is their job! So, choose someone you feel comfortable with and most of all ENJOY IT!

Useful links


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