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The age at which motorcyclists can ride larger motorcycles without prior experience will increase from 21 to 24 by 2013 in a range of changes introduced by the Department for Transport.

The DfT has introduced a number of changes to motorcycle, HGV and bus licensing, as well as those wishing to tow medium sized trailors, to come into force in January 2013 which it claims will improve the skills and safety of new riders.

Under the new system, the current two categories of motorbike will be replaced with three – A1 (up to 125cc), A2 (up to 35Kw) and A (above 35Kw), with new rules introduced for riders of larger bikes. Riders who wish to progress to larger categories of motorbikes will have to take a further test and there will be a rise in the minimum age from 21 to 24 for those wishing to start riding larger bikes without previous experience.

However, riders moving from smaller to larger motorcycles will not be required to take a familiarisation course as was originally proposed in the initial consultation. Instead, following discussions with the Motorcycle Industry Association, riders who have had a full licence for smaller bike for two years or more will need to be accompanied by an Authorised Trainer while on public roads until they have passed their test.

Rosemary Thew, Chief Executive of the Driving Standards Agency which is responsible for delivering driver testing and setting standards for driver training, said: “It’s important that everyone has the skills they need to drive or ride safely.

“We are grateful to everyone who responded to the consultation and are already working closely with the groups and industries that will be affected by these new requirements.”

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