Getting Started in Motorcycling
A brief guide to getting started on a motorbike
So you want to learn to ride a Motorbike? Well where do you start?
First you need a licence. If you already have a car licence, either Full or Provisional, then you are OK. If you don't then it's a trip to the Post Office for the necessary forms. Fill them in and send them off to the DVLA, that's the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Once you have the licence in your hand then you need to take a Compulsory Basic Training Course (CBT). With your licence and the certificate from the course you are then legal to ride on the road on your own as a learner.
If you are a only 16 then you can only ride a moped, defined as being of not more than 50cc engine capacity and restricted to not more than 45kph(28mph)
If you are 17 and over then you can ride a bike of up to 125cc and not more than 11kW (that's 15hp).
Until you have passed your test you must display L plates front and rear on your 'bike. You can't go onto the Motorways. You can't carry a passenger and, as the CBT certificate is only valid for two years, if you haven't passed your test by then you'll need to take another CBT.
The next stage is to think of some lessons and your tests, yes tests. There are two you must pass. The first is the Written Theory Test and you must pass this before you can even book your Practical Motorcycle Test
If you pass your practical motorcycle test riding a bike of more than 75cc and less than 120cc then you will get a full A1 licence. This will only allow you to ride a bike of not more than 125cc and 11kW (kilowatt), equivalent to 15hp.
If you pass your practical motorcycle test riding a bike of between 120 and 125cc then you get full A licence. At first this will only allow you to ride a bike of not more than 25kW, equivalent to 33hp.
You are effectively on probation riding this smaller bike for two years. Your licence then becomes valid for you to ride a bike of any engine size. This upgrade is automatic, you do not need to take another test.
Anyone who is under 21 years of age can only take their practical motorcycle test using a 125cc bike BUT -- If you are over 21 then you have the option of the Direct Access Scheme (DAS). In this you take your practical motorcycle test on a bigger machine. This must be of at least 35kW,equivalent to 47hp.
However you are not allowed to ride this bigger machine on your Provisional licence EXCEPT when under the supervision of a licenced instructor. You must be wearing a Hi-Viz vest marked with the schools name and you must be in radio contact with the instructor.
The actual test is the same whatever the size of the bike. Pass it on the bigger bike then you have no restrictions on the size of the bike you can ride.
What about if you become 21 during the two years probation, or you are over 21 and you took your test on a small bike?
If you don't want to wait out the full 2 years probation you have the option of Accelerated Access, with this, after you have become 21, you take another practical motorcycle test riding a machine of at least 35kW,equivalent to 47hp, the same as for Direct Access