Bike categories, ages and licence requirements
|Licence category||Requirements for licence||Minimum age|
|Mopeds with speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/h||AM||Compulsory basic training (CBT), theory test, practical test on all powered 2-wheeled moped||16|
|Small 3-wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 kW)||AM||CBT, theory test, practical test||16|
|Light quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h)||AM||CBT, theory test, practical test||16|
|Same as AM plus 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with top speed of 25 km/h||Q||Granted with AM||16|
|Light motorcycle up to 11 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg) and 125 cc||A1||CBT, theory test, practical test||17|
|Motor tricycles with a power output not more than 15 kW||A1||CBT, theory test, practical test||17|
|Standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power||A2||Direct access route – theory and practical
Progressive access route – 2 years experience on A1 motorbike and a further practical test
|Unrestricted motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with power output over 15 kW||A||Direct access route – CBT, theory and practical (you must be at least 24)
Progressive access route – held an A2 licence for a minimum of 2 years – practical test (21 or over)
|24 (direct) or 21 (progressive access)|
Step One – Get your provisional driving licence (if you haven’t got one, or a full driving licence already)
Get your first provisional driving licence for a car, motorbike, moped or other vehicle from DVLA online. To apply you must:
It costs £34 when you apply online.
You might be asked for additional information, such as your National Insurance number if you know it.
You’ll get a confirmation email from DVLA after you’ve applied.
Your licence should arrive within one week if you apply online. It may take longer if DVLA need to make additional checks.
Step Two – Book your motorcycle theory test
You need to have a provisional motorcycle licence to book your theory test.
There are 2 parts to the test:
You book and take them as a single test. You have to pass both parts to pass the test.
When you can take the theory test
You can take the theory test from your:
You can take the theory test before or after you’ve taken compulsory basic training (CBT).
Who needs to take the theory test?
You usually need to have passed a motorcycle theory test before you take the motorcycle test.
You do not need to take the theory test if you passed a moped test after 1 July 1996 and want to either:
If you have a car licence you have to pass a motorcycle theory test before taking the motorcycle test.
Module 1 off road test: What happens?
You’ll take the module 1 test in an off-road motorcycle manoeuvring area.
The test normally takes about 20 minutes and includes:
For the hazard avoidance and emergency stop exercises you must ride at a minimum speed of:
Your test result
You’ll be told if you’ve passed module 1 at the end of the test.
The examiner will make a note of:
You’ll pass module 1 if you make:
If you pass the examiner will:
If you’re upgrading your licence through ‘progressive access’, you must pass module 2 within 6 months. You have to pass module 1 again if you do not.
If you do not pass you’ll have to book another module 1 test and pay again. You have to choose a date at least 3 working days away.
If you’ve already booked the module 2 test you might need to change the date, since you must pass module 1 before you can take module 2.
You’ll lose your fee if you do not give 3 full days’ notice to cancel your module 2 test. Sundays and public holidays do not count as working days.
Module 2 on road test: What happens?
You must pass module 1 before you can take the module 2 test.
You can book both modules at the same time, but if you do not pass module 1 you must wait 3 working days before you can retake it.
The module 2 test normally takes about 40 minutes and includes:
You must bring your module 1 pass certificate to the module 2 test, plus all the documents you had to bring to the module 1 test.
You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:
New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, for example AB51 ABC.
You’ll fail your riding test if you fail the eyesight check.
‘Show me, tell me’ questions
You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. These test that you know how to carry out basic safety checks.
You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways. You’ll be asked to carry out:
The examiner will give you directions using a radio. They’ll normally follow you on a motorcycle.
Driving test routes are not published, so you cannot check them before your test.
You’ll have about 10 minutes of independent riding. This is designed to assess your ability to ride safely while making your own decisions.
You can ask the examiner to repeat the directions if you forget them – you will not fail the test if you go off the route. You cannot use sat nav.
Your test result
You’ll be told if you’ve passed module 2 at the end of the test.
The examiner will make a note of:
You’ll pass module 2 if you make:
If you pass your test the examiner will:
You can start riding without L plates straight away when you’ve passed your test. You do not need to wait for your full licence to arrive.
Contact DVLA if your full licence has not arrived 3 weeks after you applied for it.
If you do not pass you have to book another module 2 test and pay again. You have to choose a date at least 10 working days away.
If your test is cancelled or there’s bad weather
Your riding test can be cancelled or stopped because of bad weather, problems with your vehicle, or for other reasons.
Riding tests are not carried out in dangerous weather conditions, for example when the roads are icy or if there’s flooding, thick fog or high winds.
Call your test centre if there are any of these conditions on the day of your test.
The phone number for the test centre is in your booking confirmation email.
If your test cannot go ahead
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will:
You can change the date you’re given if it’s not suitable.
You cannot claim for any out-of-pocket expenses if your test is cancelled because of bad weather.
Problems with you or your vehicle
You’ll have to book another test and pay again if your test cannot be completed because of a problem with:
Your test is cancelled for another reason
Sometimes DVSA has to cancel tests for other reasons, for example if the examiner is unwell.
You’ll be sent a new date for your test if this happens. You can change the date if it’s not suitable.
You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if DVSA cancels your test at short notice.
If you have a disability, health condition or learning difficulty
When you book your tests you should say if you have a:
You’ll still have to ride to the same standard to pass, but the examiner can make adjustments for your situation.
You’re deaf or have a hearing impairment
The examiner will use written notes at the start of the test to explain what will happen. If you lip read, they’ll also look at you so you can lip read what they’re saying.
The examiner will usually give directions to you as hand signals. These will be explained to you before your test starts.
Using a sign language interpreter
You can take a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter with you. They must be at least 16 years old.
Your motorcycle instructor can be your interpreter.
You need to arrange your own interpreter and pay any fees that they charge.
You have reading difficulties
You’ll do an eyesight check at the start of the module 2 test. The examiner will ask you to read the number plate on a parked vehicle.
You can write down what you see if you have reading difficulties.
You have learning difficulties
The examiner will make adjustments for the independent riding part of the module 2 test if you have learning difficulties.
They might ask if you’d prefer to follow traffic signs instead of verbal directions.
You might be able to choose to follow a set of directions using a diagram. You’ll normally be asked to follow up to 3 directions at a time, but the examiner can reduce this to 2 at a time.
You can take the tests at any stage of your pregnancy. However, you must be able and willing to:
Now you know what to expect and what you need to do to get on 2 wheels, we wish you all the best of luck on starting your 2 wheel journey!