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Eazi Grip

Motorcycle tests – From booking and what to expect to when you can take your test

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

19
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:

  • be at least 15 years and 9 months old
  • be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away
  • have been given permission to live in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) for at least 185 days

It costs £34 when you apply online.

Before you start

You’ll need:

  • an identity document, such as your passport
  • addresses where you’ve lived for up to the last 3 years

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:

  • multiple-choice questions
  • hazard perception- a video test about spotting hazards on the road

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:

  • 16th birthday onwards if you’re learning to ride a moped (no more than 50cc)
  • 17th birthday onwards if you’re learning to ride a motorcycle

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:

  • take the motorcycle test on a category A1 small motorcycle
  • upgrade your motorcycle licence under the ‘progressive access’ (also known as ‘staged access’) rules

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:

  • wheeling the moped or motorcycle and using the stand
  • riding a slalom and figure of 8
  • a slow ride
  • a U-turn
  • cornering and a controlled stop
  • cornering and an emergency stop
  • cornering and hazard avoidance

For the hazard avoidance and emergency stop exercises you must ride at a minimum speed of:

  • 19 mph on a moped
  • 31 mph on a motorcycle

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:

  • dangerous faults – these involve actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • serious faults – these are potentially dangerous
  • riding faults – these are not potentially dangerous, but could become serious if you keep making the same mistake

You’ll pass module 1 if you make:

  • no serious or dangerous faults (sometimes called ‘majors’)
  • no more than 5 riding faults (sometimes called ‘minors’)

If you pass the examiner will:

  • tell you what faults you made, if any
  • give you a pass certificate – you need to take this to the module 2 test

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:

  • an eyesight check
  • ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
  • road riding
  • independent riding

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.

Eyesight check

You’ll have to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

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.

Road riding

You’ll drive in various road and traffic conditions, but not on motorways. You’ll be asked to carry out:

  • normal stops
  • an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • a hill start (where possible)

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.

Independent riding

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:

  • dangerous faults – these involve actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • serious faults – these are potentially dangerous
  • riding faults – these are not potentially dangerous, but could become serious if you keep making the same mistake

You’ll pass module 2 if you make:

  • no serious or dangerous faults (sometimes called ‘majors’)
  • no more than 10 riding faults (sometimes called ‘minors’)

If you pass your test the examiner will:

  • tell you what faults you made, if any
  • give you a pass certificate
  • ask you if you want your full licence to be sent to you automatically – give the examiner your provisional licence if you want to do this

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.

Bad weather

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:

  • automatically book the next available date for your test
  • send you the details within 3 working days – it can take up to 7 days if there’s a long period of bad weather

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:

  • you, for example if you feel unwell while taking your test
  • your vehicle, for example if it breaks down during the test or does not meet the rules

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:

  • disability
  • learning difficulty
  • health condition

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’re pregnant

You can take the tests at any stage of your pregnancy. However, you must be able and willing to:

  • do an emergency stop
  • manually handle and wheel the motorcycle
  • do the cornering and hazard avoidance exercise

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!

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 in News

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