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Motorcycle Licence Categories & Restrictions

Motorcycle Licence Categories

In January 2013 the rules regarding motorcycle licences changed, with the introduction of stepped licence categories. This means that younger, less experienced riders, are restricted to motorcycles with lower power/weight ratios. The new licence categories are as follows:

Category AM - mopeds with a speed range of 25Km/hr - 45Km/hr (15.5mph - 28mph)

Category A1 - Small Motorcycles : 11Kw [14.8hp], power/weight <= 0.1Kw/Kg and not exceeding 125cc

Category A2 - Medium Motorcycles : 35Kw [46.9hp], power/weight <= 0.2Kw/Kg no limit on engine size

Category A - Unlimited Motorcycles : no power, weight or engine size restrictions

Who can ride what?

The restrictions on who can have which type of licence are as follows:

Category AM licence - anyone over the age of 16.

Obtaining your provisional licence and completing your Compulsory Basic Training will enable you to ride mopeds in this category fitted with L-plates as a learner. It is possible to take your theory and practical tests to obtain a full category AM licence, but very few people do, as mopeds are not permitted on motorways anyway and they are not really suitable for carrying pillions due to their restricted power.

Category A1 licence - anyone over the age of 17.

Obtaining your provisional licence and completing your Compulsory Basic Training will enable you to ride motorcycles or scooters in this category fitted with L-plates as a learner. You will not be able to use motorways or carry pillions until you have passed your motorcycle theory and practical tests.

Category A2 licence - anyone over the age of 19.

You will first need to complete your Compulsory Basic Training on a category A1 motorcycle/scooter, unless you already have done or hold a full category A1 licence. You can then ride a category A2 motorcycle/scooter whilst undertaking training with a "Direct Access" qualified instructor. Your provisional licence does NOT allow you to ride motorcycles in this category unless you are in radio contact with a DAS-qualified instructor. You will need to pass both your motorcycle theory and practical tests before you can ride an A2 motorcycle/scooter unsupervised.

Category A licence - anyone over the age of 24 or if full A2 licence held for 2 years.

If you have held a full category A2 licence for 2 years or more - i..e. you have already passed your motorcycle theory and practical tests on an A2 category motorcycle, then you can then ride a category A motorcycle/scooter whilst undertaking training with a "Direct Access" qualified instructor. Your provisional licence does NOT allow you to ride motorcycles in this category unless you are in radio contact with a DAS-qualified instructor. You will need to pass your motorcycle practical test on a category A motorcycle/scooter before you can ride an unrestricted motorcycle unsupervised. Yes, that does mean taking the same test again (both modules 1 and 2) but on a slightly more powerful bike.

If you are over 24, then you can take the "Direct Access" route to your full, unrestricted, category A motorcycle licence. You will first need to complete your Compulsory Basic Training on a category A1 motorcycle/scooter, unless you already have done or hold a full category A1 licence. You can then ride a category A motorcycle/scooter whilst undertaking training with a "Direct Access" qualified instructor. Your provisional licence will NOT allow you to ride motorcycles in this category unless you are in radio contact with a DAS-qualified instructor. You will need to pass both your motorcycle theory and practical tests on a category A motorcycle to obtain your full licence, after which, the world's your lobster as they say.

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