Motorbike Licence UK

Sunbeam motorcycle Owners Rally

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The freedom of the open road, there’s nothing quite like it! If you’re thinking about getting a motorbike, there a few steps that you’ll need to take. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through it.

Provisional Motorcycle Licence

The first step on the road to becoming a biker is to get your provisional motorcycle licence. You can either gain a dedicated provisional bike licence, or as part of a car driving licence, although you must ask for motorcycle entitlement to be included when you apply.

With your provisional licence you can learn to ride on a motorcycle up to 125cc, with a maximum power output of 11kW (14.6bhp). You won’t be allowed pillion riders, or to go on motorways and you must display L plates (or D plates in Wales).

Once you have your provisional licence, the next step is to pass your CBT Test (Compulsory Basic Training).

Taking Your Compulsory Basic Training

All learner motorcyclists and moped riders must take the CBT Test before riding on the road. There are, however, a couple of exceptions to this. If you passed your driving test before 1 February 2001, or you have already passed a full moped test taken after 1 December 1990 then you can legally ride a moped (up to 50cc) without the CBT. Most riders in this situation would be well advised to take the test anyway, in order to brush up on their skills.

Generally the CBT is taken in a single day, with off road training in the first half of the day and an on road session in the afternoon. If you have never spent time on a bike, it is worth taking a longer CBT course, over two or more days, to ensure you have a safe place to practice riding before hitting the roads.

The CBT isn’t a difficult course, but it is possible to fail, so don’t assume you’ll be riding the next day! If you do fail, don’t worry you won’t be alone, and most training providers normally offer lower rates or half day sessions to people who just need a little extra training.

Once the CBT has been passed, learners can ride bikes of up to 125cc on the roads but they must display L plates on them (or D plates in Wales).

The Motorcycle Theory Test

So you’ve got your  provisional licence and CBT passed, now it’s time to take your motorcycle theory test. Like the car driving test, there is a theory test which must be successfully completed before applying to take the practical motorbike test. The motorcycle theory test is split into two parts – the multiple choice questions and the hazard perception test.

The Practical Motorbike Test

The practical motorbike test is also split into two parts, or modules. The modules must be taken on separate days and you cannot take module 2 until you have passed module 1, therefore many people leave a decent gap between module bookings.

Full Motorbike Licence

It’s important to understand the different categories of full motorcycle licence. For riders who require a bike with a low cc and power output there is a Category A1 licence, otherwise known as the “light motorcycle licence”. Meanwhile, a standard licence or Category A (also called A2) eventually allows riders to ride any size bike, but there are some size and power restrictions for the first two years of the licence, unless the rider opts for the Direct Access or Accelerated Access schemes.

Motorcycle Licences Issued Outside The UK

If you have a motorbike licence from a European Economic Area (EEA) country then it is legal to ride motorcycles in the UK. If you are becoming a resident of the UK then you have 3 years in which to exchange it to a UK licence (you’ll need form D1 from the Post Office). For countries outside the EEA, you are legally allowed to ride for 1 year, but you will need to either exchange your licence for a UK equivalent, or take the UK test. Whether you need to re-take the test will depend upon the status of the country that your test was taken in.