Motorcycle Licence

If you're confused about all the rules and regulations relating to riding you bike on the road this guide should help, but please check your own position with your chosen training centre.

  1. Correct Licence
  2. CBT
  3. Theory Test
  4. Moped Licence
  5. A1 Licence
  6. Restricted Licence
  7. Direct Access
  8. Accelerated Access
  9. How much does it cost?
  10. Restrictor kits

The Correct Licence

Before you think about training make sure you have a valid licence. With a full car licence you can learn on bikes up to 125cc. Otherwise you will need to apply to DVLA for provisional motorcycle entitlement to be added. A provisional bike licence is valid until 70 years of age (if supported by a C.B.T certificate). Also make sure that your licence has your current address on it.


Compulsory Basic Training is the first step everyone has to take. They will check your documents and eyesight. You can use your own bike but most riders borrow a training school bike. It involves a mixture of theory, basic bike control, practice riding on an off road car park area; it's an ongoing assessment that isn't conducted on a pass or fail basis. It is usually done in one day.

The CBT course involves five elements:

A. introduction

B. practical on-site training

C. practical on-site riding

D. practical on-road training

E. practical on-road riding

The five elements have to be completed in sequence, although the order of the exercises within the element can be varied. You will only move on to the next element when your instructor is satisfied you have learnt the necessary theory and demonstrated the practical skills to a safe basic level. Trainees must, by law, receive a minimum two hour on-road ride in Element E.

When all five elements have been satisfactorily completed, a certificate of completion, called the DL196, is issued. This is a legal document which validates the relevant entitlements on your driving licence. It is important that the holder of a DL196 considers the following points:

  • a DL196 certificate validating a provisional moped or provisional motorcycle entitlement lasts for two years - CBT will have to be retaken if both theory and practical tests are not passed within the two year certificate life
  • for moped entitlement only, if you pass your car driving test whilst your DL196 is still current or complete a CBT course and obtain a DL196 after passing your car test, the certificate is not subject to expiry, you will therefore need to keep your DL196 certificate safely. Please note that this applies to mopeds only, for riding motorcycles as a learner the DL196 remains valid for two years

Once you have your certificate you are advised to take additional training to pass your theory and practical tests and qualify for a motorcycle or moped licence. You must take the DL196 certificate with you when you go to your practical test.

Check Here for your closest D.S.A. Approved Training Body.

Theory test

You now need to take a multiple choice test of about 35 questions lasting about 30-40 minutes, complete with a series of video clips where a candidate must pick out developing hazards. There are plenty of books available to guide you but do do your homework ! Since 1 February 2001, anyone wishing to take a motorcycle test must pass the theory test before they can book the practical test. There is no exemption for Car Licence holders.

Practical test

After the usual pre-test preliminaries e.g. licence and identification check the examiner will help the candidate with the fitting of the radio and earpiece.

While accompanying the candidate to the machine the examiner will explain how the test will be conducted and how the radio equipment works.

The law requires anyone riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped, with or without sidecar, to wear protective headgear securely fastened. The test cannot therefore be conducted unless the candidate is wearing properly secured protective headgear.


An exemption to this requirement exists for followers of the Sikh religion if they are wearing a turban.


Test Manoeuvres

During the test specific manoeuvres must be carried which include:

  • emergency stop exercise

An emergency stop is given on every motorcycle test and can be given at any time during the test. The candidate will be told the route to take and the examiner will demonstrate the signal that will be given.

  • wheeling / stand exercise

The candidate will be asked to position the machine alongside the kerb and put it on its stand, then take the machine off the stand and wheel it across the road in a 'U' turn. (Either a centre or side stand is acceptable, but a machine without a stand is not suitable for the purposes of the test).

  • U-turn exercise

Via the radio, the examiner will ask the candidate to ride the machine back across the road. The candidate will be asked to move off from a parked position and to turn the machine around to face the opposite way, within the road width.

  • slow ride exercise

If the candidate has not had the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to control the machine at slow speed e.g. at junctions, they will be asked to ride as if in slow-moving traffic as a separate exercise.

After the practical part of the test the candidate will be asked a question on 'balance when carrying a passenger'.

When the practical test is over, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed. You can request feedback on your test from the examiner, who will then go through your performance during the test.

If you pass and have a photocard driving licence issued after 1 M