MCN please make this a sticky
Changes to bring UK driving licences in line with those around the EU mean new rules for Motorcycle Licences and tests from 19th January 2013. The key changes are:
- A new "progressive" model that limits riders under 19 to motorcycles up to 125cc and riders under 21 to a new category - approximately up to 500cc.
- An end to automatic "upgrading" of A1 and A2 licences without taking a further test.
- The minimum age for doing Direct Access training and getting a licence allowing you to ride any motorcycle will go up from 21 to 24
If you already have a motorcycle licence, your entitlement to ride will not be affected. But if you haven't yet taken your test, or if you don't have a full licence, here we detail the new rules, or you could check out our simple flow diagram here.
You will still need to have a provisional licence and a certificate of completion of CBT (DL196) before you are allowed to ride any moped, scooter or motorbike on public roads in the UK. The only exception is if you gained a full car licence before 2001, in which case you may legally ride a moped with L plates (or D plates in Wales). However, we strongly recommend that you do CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) as a minimum before riding any powered two wheeler on the road.
If you're aged 16, you will still be able to ride a moped (up to 50cc engine capacity) after CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). But you will still have to ride with L plates unless you take a full Moped test -- theory and practical. In any case, we recommend that you do some additional training after CBT.
If you're aged 17-19, you will be limited to a new category A1 licence that allows you to ride a motorbike or scooter only up to 125cc. You will need to complete CBT and then pass theory and practical tests to get an A1 licence. Again, until you have the A1 licence you won't be allowed to ride without L plates or to carry a passenger. Having the full licence will also make you a better rider and bring your insurance premiums down.
From 19-21 you can get a category A2 licence. This allows you to ride larger motorcycles, up to 46.6 bhp -- typically that means up to 500cc. If you don't already hold an A1 licence you will need to do CBT before taking the theory and practical tests.
After you have held a category A2 licence for two years, you can move on to bigger motorbikes with a category A licence, but from 2013 you will need to take another test.
You must be over 21 to hold a full (category A) licence. However, if you start learning to ride after 19, you will be limited to a category A2 licence for 2 years after passing your A2 test, regardless of your age.
Direct Access to a category A licence -- which means training and taking the test on a bigger motorcycle -- will only be available to riders aged 24 or over (currently 21 and over). You will still need to do CBT and pass your theory test before taking your practical test. You will then be allowed to ride any motorcycle.
As you can see, if you have been thinking about getting onto a motorcycle and are under 24, it's worth doing so this year instead of waiting for the new rules in 2013. Whether you're after an easier commute, cheaper transport or simply the fun of riding, don't delay learning to ride, only to find your choices are more limited under the new rules.