New 2013 licence regulations – what they mean to you
ARE rising train and bus fares and the desire to save money, time and hassle (or just to have more fun) driving you to consider riding a scooter or motorbike?
Then you need to know about a few changes to UK motorcycle licence regulations.
New EU regulations mean the UK rules about getting your motorcycle licence changed on January 19th. If you already have a full (unrestricted) motorcycle licence, it won't affect you. Otherwise, read on.
The route to a full licence hasn't fundamentally changed. You still need to start with a provisional driving licence including category A (for motorcycles). You still need to complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before you can ride a moped, scooter or motorcycle on UK roads.
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To ride without L plates or carry a passenger, you still need to pass your Motorcycle Theory Test (including Hazard Perception) and the two-part Practical Test.
Essentially, it's about the type of motorcycle you can ride, linked to your age and riding experience. If you're under 24 and don't already have a full licence, you must now gain progressive riding experience before riding the largest, most powerful motorcycles.
This makes no immediate difference to you. As before, you can only pass your test on a 125cc scooter or motorbike, and must gain two years of riding experience before moving on to anything more powerful. So you can only have a category A1 Motorcycle Licence for your first two years of riding.
You have more options than before. You can still go for a category A1 licence, but you also have the option of using Direct Access training (riding a bigger motorbike or scooter, accompanied by an instructor in radio contact) to move straight to an A2 licence. This means you could be riding a 500cc motorcycle, or larger, straight after passing your test.
You no longer have the option of using Direct Access to ride any motorbike or scooter, but as above you can use it to gain an A2 licence and ride a motorcycle that will handle a passenger, luggage, and motorway riding with ease. And after two years of holding an A2 motorcycle licence you may move on to an unrestricted A Motor- cycle Licence.
You may use the Direct Access route to gain your full, unrestricted, category A Motorcycle Licence, as before.
The other difference is that you will no longer automatically gain a higher category licence after two years of holding a lower category licence. You will need to take the Practical Test again, on a suitable motorcycle for the category you wish to attain.
And remember, you can still try riding a scooter or geared motorbike for free, with a friendly, local motorcycle instructor, to see if it's for you.