Are you imagining yourself zooming along those British country lanes on a vintage motorcycle on one of the three days a year it’s not raining? Hang onto that thought, because there are a few steps you need to take to get your motorcycle license in the UK.
What is a motorcycle license in the UK?
If you want to drive a standard motorcycle, you will want an A2 class license and you need to be at least 19 years old. If you’re hoping to attach a sidecar to your motorcycle, you will need an A class license, and you have to be at least 24 years old. Both of these classes of license require you to first get your car driving license, which we covered in an earlier post on how to get your driver’s license in the UK. To begin the process, you need to apply for a provisional motorcycle license.
Compulsory basic training for a motorcycle license
Before you take a motorcycle on the road to practice riding, you need to complete a compulsory basic training course. Driving schools will offer this course, and you need to complete your motorcycle license testing within two years of completing it, or you will need to do it again!
Parts of the UK Motorcycle License test
1. Theory test
You will need to pass both a theory test, and a practical test which has two modules. Your theory test is a paper test with multiple choice questions, and a video portion in which you identify safety hazards. You take the theory test in an office of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVLA), and you can book your UK motorcycle theory test online. The theory tests cost a total of £23 which you can pay online. The questions come from three books, The Highway Code, Know your traffic signs, and Riding: the essential skills, which you can buy in bookstores or online. If you fail either of these tests, you can rebook and try again, but you need to wait at least three days.
2. Practical test
When you have passed your theory tests, you can book your practical motorcycle test, and indeed you must do your practical test within two years of passing your theory test. This involved two segments: one on an off-road area like a car park to test your ability to control the motorcycle, and then an on-road test to judge how well you ride your motorcycle in traffic. You can book the tests to be taken on different days, but you do have to complete the off-road portion first. The costs are £15.50 for the off-road module and £75 – £88.50 for the on-road module.
What to take to your UK motorcycle license practical tests
- Your UK driving license photo card
- Your theory test pass certificate
- Your motorcycle
- Your completion certificate from a compulsory basic training course
- Your module 1 test pass certificate if you’re doing module 2
You need to be wearing:
- A motorcycle helmet that meets British safety standards (unless you are Sikh and wear a turban)
- Motorcycle boots or sturdy footwear
- Motorcycle trousers, or heavy denim trousers
- Motorcycle jacket, or heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath
- Motorcycle gloves
It’s important that you bring all these things with you, and wear the proper motorcycle riding gear, because you won’t be able to take your test without it, and you’ll lose the money you’ve paid. Triple check you’ve got everything in order! The motorcycle you ride for your test must be street legal, properly insured, have no engine warning lights on, display the proper L plates in the front and rear, and have a speedometer that displays your speed in miles per hour.
Good luck, and enjoy your beautiful rides through the British countryside!