UK motorcycle license types: Everything you need to know

UK motorcycle license types: Everything you need to know

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If you plan to buy a motorcycle and live in the UK, it is essential to understand the legal requirements involved. One of them is getting a motorcycle license. To help you navigate this aspect of motorcycle ownership, this article presents everything you need to know about bike licenses in the UK. It covers the licensing system and regulations.

What type of motorcycle license do you qualify for in the UK?

The UK government has different levels of motorcycle licenses based on the rider’s age and experiment. For example, an applicant new to motorcycling and aged 16 qualifies for only the AM class of motorcycle. This category refers to machines limited to 50cc. However, older applicants up to 24 years are in the A category and can apply for any size of motorbike.

Applicants older than 17 years may qualify for up to 125cc A1, while 19-and-above can get licensed for the A2 class of motorcycles, meaning they may be permitted to ride bikes producing up to 47 bhp.

How do you qualify for a full motorcycle license in the UK?

To qualify for a license in any of the motorcycle categories, you will have to follow these steps:

  • Apply for and get a provisional bike license. Note that a full car license can serve as a provisional motorcycle license. If you were issued your car driving license before February 2001, you do not require a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) or use an L tag when riding a moped or AM class of motorcycles
  • Take your CBT
  • Take and pass the motorcycle Theory Test
  • Take and pass the Module 1 or off-road riding test
  • Take and pass the Module 2 or on-road riding test

The UK government allows you to start riding on the road after completing the CBT. However, you must display an L-plate and not go above A1 motorcycles. Apart from these conditions, you only have two years to pass the motorcycle test. If you don’t comply, you must re-take the CBT or give up riding your motorcycle.

How do you get a Provisional Motorcycle License in the UK?

If you do not have a valid full car driving license, you need to obtain a provisional license to ride your motorcycle in the UK. You can apply for one online from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website. However, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be above 15 years and 9 months in age
  • Be capable of reading a number plate that is 20 meters away. This requirement is strict, and you may face prosecution if you lie
  • Posses a valid means of identification and an NI numberHave proof of your residential address(es) for the last three years

A provisional motorcycle license costs £34 and may take up to a week to process.

How do you take a CBT in the UK?

You can arrange to have your training from a local motorcycle training school. There is a list of such schools on the DVLA website, and you can find the one closest to your postcode. The cost varies, but you can expect to pay between £120 and £130 for a day course. If you have your own motorcycle, you may be able to pay as low as £90.

How to take the motorcycle theory test in the UK

The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has multiple Theory Test centres where you can book for your test. You can locate the one closest to you from the DVLA website. You will take the test in two parts and pay £23.

The first part has 50 multiple choice questions; you are allotted 57 minutes to finish them on a computer. The pass mark is 43 out of 50. The second part deals with how to perceive hazards. You are presented with 14 short videos and asked to identify possible hazards.

The less time you spend identifying hazards, the higher your marks. You must score at least 44 out of 75  to pass.


The UK government requires you to obtain a license to ride your motorcycle on the roads. You can fulfill this requirement by following this article on how to get a motorcycle license in the UK.



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