Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 24th November 2019

Are you stuck with where to start when it comes to getting your motorbike licence? Are you unsure what motorcycles you’re allowed to ride? Or how old you have to be to ride certain types, such as AM, A1, A2 or simply A?

Firstly, don’t worry

At Carole Nash, we have decades of experience when it comes to motorcycling, which is why getting a quote for motorbike insurance with us couldn’t be easier – simply give us a call on 0333 005 2266. Our experts know the latest motorbike laws inside out, and we can help you understand exactly what you need when it comes to getting onto your two-wheeled ride. 

Why are there different licence categories?  

Essentially, different motorbike licence categories exist in order to put a limit the types of machines certain riders can use. It’s safer for people of certain ages and riding experience to only use certain categories of motorcycle.  

For example, if you’re a complete novice at the age of 16, you can only obtain the ‘AM’ category of motorbike licence. In other words, once you have this licence, you can only ride mopeds with engines of up to 50cc. From the age of 17, you can qualify to ride a motorcycle up to the limit of 125cc, which is ‘A1’. 

19 or older and you can qualify for the higher category of ‘A2’, which is roughly for middleweight bikes that produce less than 47bhp. If you are at least 24 years old, you can then potentially qualify for motorcycles of all sizes, as you will fall into the ‘A’ category. 

How do I qualify for a full motorbike licence?

No matter which category you fall into, you will need to follow the same principles in order to successfully qualify for a full motorbike licence. And the first step is getting your Provisional Licence.

Once you have your Provisional Licence, you’ll then need to take your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training), as well as pass the motorcycle Theory Test. Also, you’ll need to pass an off-road riding test, which is known as ‘Module 1’ and an on-road riding test, known as ‘Module 2’.

If you only wish to ride 50cc and 125cc on the roads, which is the ‘AM’ and ‘A1’ categories respectively, then you’ll be able to so this as long as you have completed your CBT and are displaying L-plates. Keep in mind though that in this situation, you’ll need to pass your full moped or motorcycle test within two years. If you don’t, you will have to retake your CBT or you won’t be allowed to ride. 

It’s also worth knowing that if you’ve got a full car licence, and you’ve had it since before February 2001, then this qualifies as a provisional motorcycle licence. Therefore if you only want to ride mopeds (AM), you won’t need to undertake a CBT or display L-plates.

How do I obtain a Provisional Motorcycle Licence?

Simple, you just need to apply for one from the DVLA (the Government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). You can do this quickly and easily online, but before applying you must be at least 15 years and 9 months old. You also need to have the ability to read a number plate from 20 metres. If you fail to meet this standard you can be prosecuted.

You will need a valid form of identification, your NI number and documentation proving your address for the last 3 years. Then you’ll need to pay the cost of the Provisional Motorcycle Licence, which is currently £34. After this, it should get it within a week.

Taking your Compulsory Basic Training

To undertake your CBT, you will need to book a course with a local motorcycle training school. If you don’t already know any or you’re unsure about those that are near you; then you can use the DVLA website to locate the nearest training schools to your postcode.

Keep in mind that prices for courses can vary depending on location and your experience. 

Taking your Theory Test

You’ll need to pass your Theory Test before you can take any practical motorcycle test. Your Theory Test can be booked and undertaken at any DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) Theory Test centre. Once again, you can use the DVLA website to help you find the nearest one to your postcode. 

The actual test will be split into two parts:

  • Part 1 – which is 57 minutes long will be a set of 50 multiple choice questions. You’ll be answering them on a touch-screen computer, and you must achieve a pass mark of at least 43/50.
  • Part 2 – which is the hazard perception part of the test. This consists of 14 short video clips that you’ll need to watch and recognise potential hazards as soon as possible by clicking a mouse. The faster you spot the hazards, the better your score will be. You must achieve a pass mark of at least 44/75. 

Once you’ve done your CBT and passed your Theory Test, you’ll just need to decide what sort of bike you want to ride in order to choose the correct licence to go for. Remember, your age and how long you’ve been riding will always effect what level of motorbike licence you can go for. 
When you’re eventually successful in getting your motorbike licence, no matter what category you fall into, you’ll need the right level of motorbike insurance in place so that you’re fully protected on the roads. For a free quote, simply call us today on 0333 005 2266.