Law's for Motorbike riders

The Law

UK Motorcycle Licences

The law on Motorcycle testing and licensing changed in January '97, introducing new classes of tests and licences and was changed again in February 2001, briefly the rules are now : -

Provisional Licences

All moped and motorcycle provisional licence holders (including full car as provisional) must, by law, hold a current DL196 (CBT) certificate, showing they have completed the Compulsory Basic Training course before riding on the road.(a Provisional Licence isn’t valid without a CBT certificate).

A provisional moped licence (Group P) can be held from 16 years old and isn’t time limited.
But remember if you de-restrict your moped, it’s then legally a motorcycle (see Top tips/misc/de-restricting mopeds)

A provisional motorcycle licence (Group A) can be held from 17 years old.
Those issued before 1st Feb 2001 were time limited to 2 yrs. from date of issue; whilst those issued from 1st Feb 2001 are valid to age 70. If yours will, or has lapsed under the old rules you can now apply to have this restored immediately.

If applying for a provisional car licence, be sure to tick the box asking for motorcycle also. Otherwise you may have to re-apply - and pay - again.

Remember on a provisional licence / entitlement you must display L plates and no pillion passengers or motorway use!
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Full Licences

A full moped licence automatically gives you a motorcycle provisional but you must be over 17.
A full car licence automatically gives you a motorcycle provisional.

Full car licences issued before 1st Feb 2001 automatically gave you a full moped licence (how mad !). You could ride without L plates, even endanger a passenger all without taking any training but we recommend you do. Training is essential.

Car licences issued after 1st Feb. 2001 now only give a moped entitlement. You need a CBT as well but that CBT is presently valid for the life of your car licence (but only for a moped).

If you pass your car test after 1st Feb. 2001, do a CBT, then send both certificates to DVLA and get the full moped entitlement on your licence.

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) :-
Can only be carried out with Approved Training Bodies using qualified Instructors, all regulated by the Driving Standards Agency and the course content laid down by law. (See Training/CBT))
We provide the bikes, helmets etc., try before you buy !

DL 196 (CBT) certificates issued before 1st Feb 2001 were valid for 3 years from date of issue (and are now out of date).
Certificates issued from 1st Feb. 2001 are only valid for 2 years.

The CBT will have to be re-taken if both theory and practical tests haven’t been passed before expiry.

A CBT obtained on a moped is also valid for motorcycle (at 17 yrs. old).
If you passed a full moped test after 1st Dec 1990, you don’t need a CBT for motorcycle.

Residents on some remote islands are exempt from CBT (but only on those islands). Check with DVLA / DSA if you think your location may be exempt.

If you do your CBT on a motorcycle with sidecar or a moped with more than 2 wheels; your provisional entitlement will be restricted to that same type of vehicle.

You can do a CBT using a motorcycle & sidecar combination or other 3 wheeler but, if you do, then your CBT will be qualified and only valid for 3 wheelers
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Motorcycle Training

As above, CBT training can only be carried out by Approved Training Bodies and Instructors.

For up to 125cc learner bikes, you can teach yourself and/or be taught by a mate; it’s quite legal as long as your mate isn’t paid anything. If he/she takes any money then that’s “professional instruction” and the Instructor must be qualified (ask to see his DSA licence).

For Direct Access, you are only allowed on road if accompanied by a qualified Instructor, on another motorcycle and in radio contact at all times. So professional training is the only route here.
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The Theory Test

You will probably have to pass the Theory Test before taking a practical test for a moped or motorcycle.

A full car licence does NOT exempt you from the Theory Test anymore.

The theory test is not required if you have passed a two part moped test or a lower category motorcycle test since 1st July 1996. It can be taken before you take a CBT but it must be a Motorcycle theory test, even if you have just sat the Car theory test.

The Theory Test Pass Certificate is valid for 2 years.

The test uses a touch-screen computer but the questions can be read to you on earphones and you may ask for an extended special needs test if necessary. The pass mark is 43 out of 50 multiple-choice questions. Allow an hour from start to finish, results will be given on the day.

From October 2002, they’ve added a hazard perception test as well. It’s video clips each containing at least one “hazard”, max. 2 and you’re expected to click when you would react.

Get a Theory Test Quiz Book (approx. £7) from your bookseller, or better still a recommended CD-Rom (approx £14 or only £10 from us) as the format of the test is not as straight-forward as you might think.

Kent’s Theory Test Centres are: - Canterbury, Chatham or Sidcup
Hastings, Eastbourne and Croydon are also available.

Call the Booking Centre on 0870 0101 372
Or book on the net (go to our links page and it’s one click from there).

Test Times 9.00am to 4.15pm Mon. to Fri.
to 6.15pm Evenings.
9.00am to 12.15pm Saturdays.

You are welcome to call us and arrange to test your knowledge on our computer simulation, or book a CBT course and have a go at the end of your CBT. We can then assess you for your test course and you will be better prepared for your Theory Test.
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Licence / Test Groups

Moped Is, by law :-Max. 31 mph, 50 cc, age 16 or over and you need :-
A provisional Moped entitlement
A Compulsory Basic Training certificate
Then ride with “L” plates
Pass Theory Test
Pass Moped test
Ride without “L” plates and even carry a pillion passenger
But remember if you de-restrict your moped, it’s then legally a motorcycle (see Top tips/misc/de-restrict mopeds)

A1 “Light Motorcycle” Is, by law :-Max. 125 cc, 11kW / 14.6 Bhp, age 17 or over and you need :-
A provisional Motorcycle entitlement
A CBT certificate (unless you’ve already passed a moped test, see above)
Then ride with “L” plates
Pass Theory Test (unless you already hold moped licence from 1st July 1996, see above)
Pass your test on a machine between 75 & 125 cc.
Ride without “L” plates and carry a pillion passenger but only bikes up to 125cc and 11kW

A2 “Standard Motorcycle” Is, by law 25kW / 33 Bhp & Power/Weight ratio below 16kW/kg, age
17 or over and you need :-
A provisional Motorcycle entitlement
A CBT certificate (unless you’ve already passed a moped or A1 test, see above)
Then ride with “L” plates on machines up to 125cc and up to 11 kW only,
Pass Theory Test (unless you’ve already passed moped or A1 test, see above)
Pass your test on a machine between 120 & 125 cc, capable of at least 62 mph.
Ride without “L” plates and carry a pillion passenger on any bike but you are restricted to a 33 Bhp machine for 2 years; after that, you’re free to ride any bike, there’s no re-test.

A “Direct Access” Is, by law Over 35kW / 46 Bhp, age 21 or over and you need :-
A provisional Motorcycle entitlement
A CBT certificate (unless you’ve already passed a moped, A1 or A2 test, see above)
Pass Theory Test (unless you’ve already passed a moped, A1 or A2 test, see above)
Learn only with an approved Instructor, in radio contact, on a machine over 35kW / 46.6Bhp.
Pass your test on a machine over 46.6 Bhp.
Ride any bike you want straight way, without “L” plates and carry a pillion passenger.

A “Accelerated Access” (A2 licence holders, reaching 21 but before their 2 year restriction ends)
Learn only under controlled instruction, with “L” plates, all as for Direct Access.
A test failure won’t affect your existing licence.
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Sidecars / Disabled Riders

Learners can practise with a sidecar combination (same Bhp rules apply) but must take their test on a solo machine (excepting disabled riders). Again the same (restricted licence) and other rules apply. Disabled riders will then have their entitlement restricted to combinations.

They’ve complicated it haven’t they. Don’t worry, talk to us and we’ll get you through it.
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Helmet Law

When riding a moped or motorbike, we all know that a safety helmet must be worn but there’s a little bit more than that. Legally :-
1 The strap must be done up.
2 It must fit properly. How many times have you seen a kiddie riding pillion with granddad’s helmet on!
3 It must be an approved safety helmet. It’ll either display a BS6658 sticker on the outside, or an EC approval mark somewhere inside. Only BS 6658 types A & B or EC Regulation 22 type 05 series are legal in the UK.

The new EC marks have caused a bit of confusion. These are now sewn inside the helmet (often to the strap) The EC mark is a circle with an E inside and number giving the country of origin (for example E6 is Belgium) then you’ll se a long number which must begin with 05
We’ve seen 04 and 03 series in the UK already. Not only are they illegal but they’re not good enough, so don’t be ripped off.

Remember, not complying with the above is the same offence as not wearing one.

The DETR has published advice (DETR/VSE6 Oct 2000) that states “…you can wear other types of helmet which could reasonably be expected to give……….should seek confirmation from the supplier that the helmet does offer a similar or greater level of protection.” This is interesting; previously we were told that your helmet had to display the kite-mark which shouldn’t be removed. Now surely, even if the sticker has been removed it still meets this criteria. They do qualify their advice with the disclaimer that their opinion hasn’t been tested by the courts, though.

Passengers in a side-car don’t need to wear a helmet if the sides of the car are over 18inches / 457mm high, neither does a Sikh who is wearing a turban and of course no-one needs a helmet to push the bike on foot (but you do if you freewheel on it).
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Visor Law

A visor (or goggles) aren’t a legal requirement but if you do have them, then the law applies. Legally :-

1 It must be an approved visor / goggle It’ll either have a BS4110 mark or the new EC Regulation 22 type 05 mark (see helmet law for details on EC marks).
The EC visors often have a removable sticker showing the approval and of course you’ll peel it off. So how’re the plod going to deal with that then?

2 It may also be tinted and will be marked something like CP50. That’s a 50% tint and is the darkest you’re allowed by law. Even then, it’ll be marked “for daylight use only” and is a nick-able offence after lighting up time.

Lets settle this once and for all Dark, mirrored etc. visors are illegal, wear sunglasses instead. Anyone caught selling them risks a £1000 fine for each one in his stock.
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L Plate Law

Learners must display L plates, we know that but the full requirement is :-
They must be BS plates, you can’t make your own.
They must be full size; cut down plates aren’t legal and yet we’ve seen even Dealers delivering bikes like that.
They must be front and rear facing, not stuck on the mudguard facing the sky.

It’s 2 points on your licence for the front, another 2 points for the rear and how easy to spot ?
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Tyre Law

More on this in Top Tips/Tyres
Motorcycle tyres must legally have at least 1mm of tread depth, continuously across 75% of the tyre. That’s pretty silly though; the minimum recommended is 2mm. Would you believe that there is no minimum tread for a moped tyre, only that it’s visible ! Shall we just say that’s a health risk.
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Pillion Law

Without going through all the road traffic acts, here’s a brief synopsis:-
You must hold a full licence for the machine you’re riding, wear a safety helmet etc.
Your Bike must be adapted to carry a pillion (a rear seat and passenger footrests).
Your pillion must wear a safety helmet, sit astride the machine facing forward (side-saddle is illegal).

There’s no legal age required for riding pillion but he/she must big enough to hold on, sat astride with feet on the foot pegs (so there is a size limit) and able to fully understand the detailed instruction you will surely give.
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this will answer a sh1t load of questions that keep getting asked on variuos threads and should be pinned.

well done ginger

Yeah, really good post Ginger! It should be pinned.

Good post and well done.

With regret I have to announce that the DSA, a private company pretending to be part of the UK government, recently rolled over, got rogered by the EU and said thank you and agreed to an new set of “harmonised standards”.

A new set of hurdles have just been agreed. All too complex to go into here but rest assured all of the above is about to be ended, or at least revised

As a taster I give you: Direct Access age will go up from 21 to 24. New motorcycle licence categories will be brought in, mostly to make more money for the DSA but to also make it much harder to become a motorcyclist.

When do these new rules come in? Not this year I hope.

So how do i get a full license? lol just kiddin :wink:

Thank god I turned 17 this year. Should have my A2 out of the way by the end of the month, and then they can’t take it away for me. Hopefully :unsure:

See if you can find/buy a copy of the March 2010 “The Riders Digest”. You know. The funny little mag that’s given away free in the Ace and lots of bike and tyre shops. Always something good in there, but you only get about half the magazine for free.

I rate the mag good enough for me to subscribe for the full edition. £20 for 12 months, 108 to 120 pages, almost all good quality. Bargain

Anyway, Amelie Summers, always a good writer, has the full(er) SP on pages 96/97.

Where is the reference in law that the pillion must face forward? because that is not the case.