Motorcycle licence requirements

Part of: The Highway Code, The Highway Code Annexes

Motorcycle licence requirements.

If you have a provisional motorcycle licence, you must satisfactorily complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course.

You can then ride unaccompanied on the public road a motorcycle up to 125 cc with a power output not exceeding 11 kW, with L plates, for up to two years.

LAW RTO 1981 Art 13

To ride a moped, learners must:

  • be 16 or over
  • have a provisional moped licence
  • complete CBT training

Law RTO 1981 Arts 13 & 17

You can then ride unaccompanied on a public road a two-wheeled vehicle with a maximum design speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), with L plates, for up to two years.

You must first pass the theory test for motorcycles, the manoeuvres test and then the moped practical test to obtain your full moped licence.

Law MV(DL)R regs 27 & 32

If you passed your car driving test before 21 February 2011 you are qualified to ride a moped without L plates, although it is recommended that you complete CBT before riding on the road. If you passed your car driving test after this date you must complete CBT before riding a moped on the road.

Laws RTO 1981 Arts 13 & 17, & MV(DL)R regs 27 & 32

Licence Categories for mopeds and motorcycles

Category AM (moped) – minimum age 16

  • two-wheeled vehicle with a maximum design speed of 45 km/h (28 mph)
  • three- or four-wheeled vehicle with a maximum design speed over 25 km/h (15.5 mph), up to 50 cc and with a power output not exceeding 4 kW

Category A1 – minimum age 17

  • motorcycles up to 125 cc, with a power output up to 11 kW
  • tricycles with power not exceeding 15 kW

Category A2 – minimum age 19

  • motorcycles with a power output not exceeding 35 kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg

Category A 

  • unrestricted motorcycles with a power output over 35 kW (minimum age 24 under direct access, or 21 under progressive access)
  • tricycles with a power output over 15 kW (minimum age 21)

Progressive access is a process that allows a rider to take a higher-category practical test if they already have at least two years’ experience on a lower-category motorcycle.  If you have held a category A2 licence for a minimum of two years, you can take the category A practical test at age 21.  There is no requirement to take another theory test.

If you want to learn to ride motorcycles larger than 125 cc and with a power output over 11 kW, you must meet the minimum age requirements, satisfactorily complete a CBT course and be accompanied by an approved instructor on another motorcycle in radio contact.

Law MV(DL)R regs 6 & 12, & RTO 1981 Art 13

To obtain your full moped or motorcycle licence you must pass a motorcycle theory test, manoeuvres test and practical motorcycle test on a two-wheeled motorcycle.

Law MV(DL)R reg 27

You must not carry a pillion passenger or pull a trailer until you have passed your test. Also see Rule 253 covering vehicles prohibited from motorways.

Law MV(DL)R reg 12

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