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Licencing changes for 2013

New riders from 19 January 2013

From 19 January 2013, the following new rules will apply.

Passing your driving test for a moped after 19 January 2013

The minimum age to ride these vehicles will still be 16 years, and you’ll still need to pass your:

  • compulsory basic training (CBT)
  • theory test
  • practical test

Once you’ve passed your tests, your entitlement will be shown on your driving licence as:

  • category AM (the European category)

If you choose to pass another test first, such as cars or light motorcycles, you’ll receive the entitlement to drive mopeds as well. However, you will need to pass your CBT to ride them on the road (as now). Your moped entitlement will be shown as above (categories AM ).

Category A1 (small motorcycles up to 11kW – 125 cc)

Category A1 covers small bikes with:

  • a cylinder capacity not more than 125 cc
  • power output not more than 11 kW and a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg
  • motor tricycles with a power output not more than 15 kW

The minimum age limit for category A1 will still be 17 years.
You’ll have to pass theory and practical driving tests to get this entitlement.

Category A2 (medium motorcycles up to 35 kW)

Category A2 covers medium sized bikes, with or without a sidecar, which have:

  • an engine power output not more than 35 kW
  • a power to weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg – the bike must also not be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power

The minimum age for category A2 is 19 years.
There are two ways to get this entitlement.

Direct access

If you you’re aged 24 or over, you can take a theory and a practical test.

Staged access

If you’re aged 21 or over and have held an A2 licence for two years, you only need to take a further practical test.

Category A

Category A covers machines unlimited in size and power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with a power output of more than 15 kW. There are two ways to get this entitlement.

  • 1. Direct access
    If you don’t have two years’ experience, you’ll have to be aged 24 years or over. You’ll also need to pass the theory and practical tests.
  • 2. Staged access
    You can get this category from age 21 if you have two years’ experience on an A2 motorcycle and you take a further practical test.
Min. Current motorcycle licence restrictions New motorcycle licence restrictions 19th Jan 2013
Age Requirement Restriction Requirement Restriction
16 Provisional driving licence category p
A valid CBT (valid for 2 years)
Up to 50cc moped or scooter
restricted to 32km/h (32mph)
Provisional driving licence category p
A valid CBT (valid for 2 years)
Up to 50cc moped or scooter
restricted to 32km/h (32mph)
17 Provisional driving licence category A
A valid CBT (valid for 2 years)
Up to 125cc motorbike or scooter
Maximum power of 15 bhp
Provisional driving licence category p
A valid CBT (valid for 2 years)
Up to 125cc motorbike or scooter
Maximum power of 15 bhp
17 Passed category A motorcycle test on a 125cc machine. Max. 33bhp machine 33bhp for min. 2 years Passed category A motorcycle test on a 125cc machine. See Progressive Access page for more details on 125cc test preparation Max 125cc & 15 bhp Minimum of 2 years
19 Passed category A motorcycle test on a 125cc machine at 17 NONE
after completing the 2 year probationary time restricted to 33bhp
Passed category A motorcycle test on a 125cc machine at 17 2 years later or at 19 take further test on a 400cc or above (395cc+) motorbike with between 33bhp and 47bhp Max power 47bhp Minimum of 2 years
21 Pass category A motorcycle test on 500cc machine (DAS) NONE After 2 years limited to 47bhp machine, take another test on a 595cc + machine minimum power of 54bhp NONE
24 Pass category A motorcycle test on 595cc+ machine minimum power of 54bhp (DAS) NONE

Frequently asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the January 2013 motorcycle licence changes affect CBT’s?To the best of our knowledge*, NO. The CBT course (not test) will remain unchanged from January 2013. The Compulsory Basic Training will still allow provisional riding of 50cc and 125cc on the roads following the sucessful completion of the CBT course. (subject to insurance, tax, legal bike etc.) A CBT certificate (DL196) is valid for 2 years from completion of the CBT course. After which (if you have not successfully passed your full motorcycle test) you would have to re-take the CBT course.
If I successfully complete my module 1 motorcycle test before January 19th 2013, but not my module 2, am I still subject to this 3rd EU directive which affects my licence restriction?Only if you successfully complete both modules (1 and 2) of the current motorcycle test before January 19th 2013 will you fall into the current restrictions (outlined above). Successfully passing your module 2 motorcycle test after January 19th 2013 means you come under the new licence restrictions. (outlined above)
Under the 3rd EU driving licence directive coming in on January 19th 2013, is there any way to “get around” each 2 year power restriction for a motorcycle licence?To the best of our knowledge no, unless you wait until you at 19 and take the 400cc+ test or you are 24 or over and take your Direct Access Scheme (DAS) test.
Under the 3rd EU driving licence directive coming in on January 19th 2013, if I take my 125cc motorcycle test when I am 21, how soon can I ride a big bike of unlimited cc and power?Following the Progressive access scheme motorcycle training and test after January 19th 2013 you would be limited to 125cc until you are 23, another test at 23 you can then ride up to 47bhp motorcycle. At 25 with another test you would be able to ride any size motorbike. HOWEVER at 19+ you could take the 400cc test (limiting you to 47bhp) and 2 years later take the 600cc test. Or when you are 24 you could take the Direct Access Scheme (DAS) test, on successfully passing that, you to ride any sized machine. Under this situation, we do not believe you would need to re-take the motorcycle theory test because when you pass any of the tests you had a valid theory test certificate and had successfully passed your motorcycle test. This means you hold a full but restricted motorcycle licence.
Do I need to re-take my theory test for each step in the new Progressive access scheme coming in on the January 19th 2013No. You will need a valid theory test for when you take both parts (module 1 and module 2) of your 125cc Progressive access scheme test. This effectively gives you a full but restricted licence. (restricted to 125cc). So you should not need to re-take the theory.*
Can I restrict my bigger bike (250cc, 400cc, 500cc etc.) to 125cc ?Technically no. 125cc is the displacement of the engine, not the power. A 500cc engine will always displace 500cc not 125cc. It’s not worth thinking about changing a larger engine for a smaller one as the motorcycle (generally) would be the weight of a large engine motorbike with only a 125cc engine to move it. (it would be less effective than a 125cc motorcycle)
Will my 33bhp licence be affected by January?No. Existing 33bhp restricted licence will remain restricted until there 2 year maturity when the restriction will automatically be lifted. The changes are not applied retrospectively.

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