Riding in the UK without a "UK" bike licence?

I think its just wrong, especially in the city. Traffic in this country (from experience) behaves a lot different than in others and also road signs/road markings must be a hell of alot different. I mean, in some countries they don’t even have roundabouts!!!

Do they even get away without reading the highway code???

Would you knowingly ride with someone who doesn’t have a uk licence?

How would their insurance work, do they have to pay more, would they actually have insurance?


edited to make myself clearer (and not a look like a twat now I’ve actually though about what I’m saying )

What I mean is for people who do their licence abroad then come here to live, Could I go on holiday to france, pass my test then use the same licence over here as an international one? Would my insurance be more etc?

Im sure you will love it if you couldnt ride though france for your hoilidays, why should the uk be any different?

How are the road signs any different? Have drven in Europe, the US and a lot in Canada with out any confussion at all…

… I wouldn’t expect to have to sit another test when I ride over to France - and frankly driving on the wrong side of the road is a LOT more disconcerting than a roundabout :slight_smile:

In return I don’t expect people visiting this country to have to take another test either - unless of course ‘we’ deem the test in the ‘home’ country to be sub standard - and I think that is the case at the moment - correct me if I’m wrong but basically - anyone in the EU - and therefore has their test standards etc controlled by the EU can drive in any other country - outside of the EU it’s on a country by country basis… hence the ‘international licence’ which as a UK licence holder you can receive automatically - but from other parts of the world you have to do a top up test…

phew… breath.


To be honest if you have a license in your home country I don’t mind ( if this is what we are on about ) , as after all I ride and drive abroad and if I wasn’t allowed to the I’d be kind of knackered…

HOWEVER what I do have a problem with is moped & scooter riders since the congestion charge came in… This really got to a point when I was on my way to cabaña on Wednesday and 3 suits cut me up ( one guy three times ) to the point i had to yell at him…

I have a serious problem with the lack of training or skills you need to prove to get on one of those things… Also the fragrant disregard for the law they seem to have and get away with it… For instance :

Carrying Passengers … Isn’t this for full licenses only ?

Lack of “L” plate … Again isn’t this required if you don’t have a full license…

The congestion charge has moved idiots in high heels onto scooters and onto the roads… These people aren’t adequate protecting themselves let alone others.

Mr Spatial Awareness meet Mrs Scooter Rider… That’s a relationship that isn’t going to last long I can tell.

Obviously this doesn’t apple to all scooter riders … I am aware of the a sweeping statements here.

Fair enough about visiting, I ride hire bikes all over the place when abroad and my own when visiting but what if you actually live here, I thought at some point you’d have to get a UK one?

I’m sorry but I didn’t make myself clear in the first thread

You would think wouldn’t you? But I dunno enough about the rules as I get bored easily…

Perhaps Cezar is familiar with the rules? Mebbe he’ll explain his experiences ? Does he hold a UK licence? Any licence?


Yeah hes the one to ask Cez, whats the score on licences? Its just something that has been bugging me. is it on non-uk? how do the police check it?

Trojan maybe able to answer too…for example, when someones pulled over wih a non uk licence, is it easy to be checked and verified on the roadside?

What about and the polish lorry drivers and illegals working as pizza delivery loons on mopeds?

If you have an EU licence, you don’t have to get a UK licence any longer. If, however, you want a UK licence, you’ll send your domestic one to DVLA who will retain it (unless you need it to drive/ride in your home country, like me) and issue a UK one.

Judging by the drivers on the road, and the well-publicised scandals about driving tests, I’d hazard a guess that training and testing is stricter in a lot of the continental European countries. Here, you don’t even need to prove you are who you claim to be when you do a test, hence some people are professional ‘test drivers’, giving a licence to those who would have failed. I know several European countries where you have to show your ID during the test.

As for traffic signs & the highway code, they’re pretty standardised across Europe and the rest of the world, even in Poland.

As for insurance, why wouldn’t they have one? Does every UK driver/ride have insurance? Some UK insurance companies do insure on foreign licences and plates, but often just for the first six months. All my foreign friends have UK licences so they can get (a) insurance (or at least cheaper insurance) and (b) resident’s parking permit, so I don’t quite know why you’d think foreigners wouldn’t have UK licences.

Actually… you have to prove who you are when you sit a test now - passport or other ‘approved’ document must be taken with you - it must be photographic ID.

Britain is widely accepted as having the toughest standards for passing a test in the world… we just sign up to ALL the EU crap about licences!


you ride like you have No licence anyway

LMRR … I’m not at all hot on Traffic Legislation … not my bag, baby !

I do think it’s a year though from Johnny Foreigner coming to these shores and having to get a UK Licence … or something similiar.

Where is Pork Scratchin or DarrylJ ??? They’ll know without a doubt.

Paivi, sorry but Matt is right … you do have to prove who you are (as I did with my test a few months ago) and having been to a few European countries I would say that (my opinion only) the standard of driving here is better … doesn’t say much for some cage drivers though !!

Would be interesting to here of what the Foriegn tests involve compared to our own ? Anyone know ??

I didn’t think that all EU countrys had a seperate bike test and you gained bike rights automatically in the EU, meaning that you could inherently ride a full powered bike in the UK without actually sitting a specific bike test?

I rode and drove in UK for almost a year o my Brazilian driving licence. I have home abroad and when I drive there I’m under my either brazilian or UK driving licence.

The tourism industry needs it to work that way, otherwise how would you tour? We are going tomorrow to france and we all will be driving under the UK driving licence.

The point is not where it come from by the standards applyed to give the licence. Europe is pretty close the unify the standards I believe.

Without compulsory photo IDs, how do you prove your ID, though? Perhaps they’ve changed that now, but it’s only a couple of years ago when in the Midlands somebody was finally caught for sitting other people’s driving tests for cash. She confessed to dozens of them, and was suspected of dozens more.

I did my test in Finland in 1988, and we had to take minimum 20 driving lessons of about 30min each, pass a 30 question theory test with no more than two mistakes, and pass a one hour driving test including various conditions, i.e., roundabouts, X-junctions, tram lines, etc. In those days, full bike licence was automatically included in car licences, and continued to be so until 1990-1992 in many European countries, until they phased it out.

These days, not much has changed from the above, except that you have to do two sets of driving lessons as well as pass two tests, one in summer, the other set in the winter to make sure you know how to drive/ride in snow and ice.

When I moved to the UK in 1992, I had to exchange my Finnish licence to the UK one within six months, but apparently last year it was changed, and you no longer have to exchange it if it’s an EU one. Have heard it from several expats, but haven’t bothered to verify as it’s irrelevant to me.

“Without compulsory photo IDs, how do you prove your ID, though? Perhaps they’ve changed that now, but it’s only a couple of years ago when in the Midlands somebody was finally caught for sitting other people’s driving tests for cash. She confessed to dozens of them, and was suspected of dozens more.”

Passport, current Driving photo licence, etc etc.

The requirement is for you to prove who you are to the examiner, saying that ‘well, there is no compulsory ID so I don’t have any’ won’t cut the mustard. Same as the alcohol laws, You have to prove that you are over 18 if asked.

You have to have a ‘prescribed’ ID - that means a passport, other driving licence (new style) or a photograph certified to be you by a relevant professional. If you don’t have any of these you need to get one or you can’t sit the test.

Currently to pass a UK driving test you have to

Pass a theory exam - 35 questions, you have to answer 30 correctly - the theory test also now includes a ‘hazard perception’ test where you have to watch various videos and correctly identify emerging hazards as the develop.

You then have to sit you practical exam, there’s no requirement to take a certain amount of lessons, the exam is between 30 mins and 1 hour depending on your ability (the examiner takes as long as is needed) during the test you are taken on all types of UK roads, excluding Motorways, and you must perform a series of ‘manovers’ these include a 3 point turn - or more correctly described as a turn in the road - parallel parking - corner reverse - emergency stop - hill start - and several others - you must show you are competent in all of these areas before you can pass.

By passing your car test, you are not entitled to drive any other vehicle, excluding vans under 7.5 tons or minibusses. In order to drive other classes of vehicle you have to pass separate tests, both theory and practical.

As for bikes… I’m sure you know this but… again it’s theory, hazard perception, then CBT, then test with lots of rules about power… etc etc…

There’s no sep test for winter / summer as I would imagine the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) believe there’s not that much of an actual difference in the Uk - whereas in Finland I’m guessing there’s more seasonal variation.

Incidentally, after applying for and gaining your ‘provisional licence’ which allows you to take lessons, you have a limited time in which to pass your test - if you fail your test you have to wait 6 weeks before you can take it again.

I think I’ve covered most parts - but I’f I’ve been inacurate anywhere I’m sure someone will correct me.

So I guess in comparison, it’s about the same, or Finland is slightly more difficult to pass.


I’m impressed you all know so much about it! Blimey.

Carry on.

Who said I do?

And when was it allowed for L - Plates to ride on motorways, I have seen 3 scooters with L plates on motorways in the last week, and last sunday a gang of scooters on the A3 (M) which is classified as a motorway,

I have been riding round on L plates on my bike for a while now and when i feel i am ready for my test i will do it, just because i have a Full UK Car driving licence (passed 18 years ago - crumbs thats showing my age) should not mean that I can automatically get on a bike of any size ,

Saying that my other half that has biked all his life will have to learn and pass a test if he wants to drive a car. Now wheres the justice in that…one rule for cars and one rules for bikes.

If you pass in a car in any country then ok you can drive in any country, if you pass a bike test in any country then ok you can ride a bike in any country.

I mean on my licence i can drive a 7.5 ton lorry right this minute if i want to but had to do a CBT for the bike, its just bonkers…

Now breathe…

ahhh actually you can’t drive a 7.5ton lorry… you have to sit a test for that… anything up to that class is fine though.