Practical test for motorcycles

Once you have passed your motorcycle theory test, there are two practical tests. The first is a manoeuvres test and the second is the on-road practical test.

Motorcycle manoeuvres test

The motorcycle manoeuvres test involves:

  • a slow riding exercise, where the candidate rides alongside the examiner at walking pace
  • a slalom and figure of eight exercise, riding around cones
  • walking and riding U-turn exercises, including use of the motorcycle stands
  • a curve, to be ridden in second or third gear, at a minimum speed of 30 kph (18.75 mph)
  • a combined avoidance and braking exercise at a minimum speed of 50 kph (31.25 mph)
  • an emergency stop at a minimum speed of 50 kph (31.25 mph)

The manoeuvres test is only available from the following Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) test centres: Ballymena, Craigavon, Downpatrick, Londonderry (Newbuildings), Mallusk and Omagh.

On-road motorcycle riding test

Before you start your riding test on the road, you will be asked to read a number plate to prove you can meet the eyesight requirements. You will also be asked two motorcycle safety check questions before moving away. 

The examiner will check your licence and identification and if you wish, will tell you what the test is about and how long it will take (about 40 minutes). They will help you to fit the radio and earpiece, and explain how they work.

You will be asked to do an angle start (move off from behind a parked car) and several normal starts (moving off from the side of the road). You may also be asked to move away on a hill (a hill start). You are to follow the road ahead unless directed otherwise on the radio. After the practical part of the test you will be asked a question on 'balance when carrying a passenger'.

Clothing requirements

You must wear:

  • a motorcycle helmet that meets the minimum British or European safety standards (this doesn't apply if you're Sikh and wearing a turban)
  • motorcycle boots or other sturdy footwear that provides support and ankle protection
  • textile or leather motorcycle trousers or heavy denim trousers
  • a textile or leather motorcycle jacket or a heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath
  • motorcycle gloves

Your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee if you don't meet these standards.

Adverse weather

DVA does not conduct riding tests in adverse weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner.

Practical riding tests are managed locally on a test by test basis, subject to local conditions which are reviewed regularly throughout the day. All attempts will be made to cancel tests in advance; however this is not always possible as local conditions can change quite quickly.

You can get contact details for your local test centre at the link below:

If your riding test is cancelled, another appointment will be arranged automatically at no further cost, but compensation is not payable. You will be contacted with a new appointment date as soon as possible.

Independent riding

There will be a section where the candidate will be asked to drive independently. For all other parts of the test, examiners will give candidates step-by-step instructions.

In the independent riding section of the test, you'll have to ride independently by either following:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions
  • a combination of both

To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.

More information about independent riding is available at the following page:

After the on-road test

Whether you pass or fail, the examiner will explain any faults marked on your driving test report (DL9). The debrief will give you a word picture of how you did during the test. It will include all the serious/dangerous faults and any repeated minor faults if you have failed.

You can have your instructor present during the feedback so you should make sure they are on hand at the end of the test.

If you pass

If eligible, your licence can be issued to you automatically. If not, you will be given a pass certificate which should be sent along with your licence with provisional entitlement to DVA as soon as possible. Your full licence will be posted to you.

DVA Driver Licensing Division 
Coleraine County Hall
Castlerock Road
BT51 3TA

If you fail

If you fail, the examiner will give you an explanation, as above, to help prepare you for your next test. Your riding test report form will show you where you made mistakes.

Difference between a moped (category AM) and a motorcycle

A moped must have an engine capacity not exceeding 50 cc and a top speed of no more than 28mph (45km/h). If first used before 1 August 1977, it must be equipped with pedals.

A riding test for a light motorcycle (category A1) must be taken on a solo machine with an engine capacity of at least 120 cc but no more than 125cc, with a power output up to 11 kilowatts (kW) (14.6 bhp). If you pass the test for the A1 class you can ride bikes up to these power limits and with a maximum engine capacity of 125 cc.

If your motorcycle is less than 75 cc it's not acceptable for the practical motorcycle test. If you pass your practical test on a motorcycle with automatic or semi-automatic transmission, this will be recorded on your licence and your driving licence will be restricted to this type of transmission.

All motorcycles and mopeds must be fitted with either a side stand or main stand.

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