Can You Ride A Motorbike On A Car Licence In The UK?
Want to get the thrill and experience of riding a motorcycle, halving your wheels from four to two? Well thankfully it is incredibly easy to do so these days with the CBT being very accessible.
To ride a motorcycle on the road you must first pass a Compulsory Basic Training test, CBT for short. This test allows riders of 16-years-old to ride a limited 50cc motorcycle on the road at a maximum speed of 28mph, at 17-years old the rider can automatically upgrade to a 125cc motorcycle on this same CBT test without any additional training, whilst riding with a CBT the rider must display 7”x 7” ‘L’ plates on the front and back of the motorcycle and re-take the CBT every two years.
What is the CBT Test?
The CBT test doesn’t require a theory test and is the first step toward a motorcycle license.
The CBT test is a 5-part course consisting of:
- Introduction and sight checks
- Training onsite
- Riding on site
- On-road training
- On-road riding
The on-road sessions are a minimum of two hours long, once the instructor is happy with each part of the test and happy that a basic level of understanding has been shown, they will move on to the next stage, eventually handing out a pass if they feel the rider is capable of riding at the CBT standard.
The CBT is incredibly hard to fail as it is designed to give you the best training possible with the goal always being a pass, you will continue to train and train until the instructor feels you have reached a satisfactory level and can ride on the roads by yourself.
The license lasts for two years and must be re-taken every two years to prove that the rider is competent and can still ride to the minimum standards set out by the test.
What if I want to ride a motorcycle bigger than 125cc?
Many people who start riding motorcycles very quickly get the itch for more, whether it be more power, a bigger engine or simply just a new bike to feed their hunger for speed, thankfully there are many options to progress onto higher capacity motorcycles with more power available to you dependant on your age.
A 17-year-old can opt to take an A1 test and remove their ‘L’ plates, the advantage of this would be that they no longer need to renew their CBT every two years, can carry passengers and ride on motorways, however they cannot ride any motorcycles with an engine larger than 125cc until the A2 test has been passed.
At 19-years-old you become eligible to take an A2 test which will allow the rider to progress onto faster and more powerful motorcycles restricted to 47bhp/35kw or less, motorcycles with more power can be ridden with restrictor kits provided the original bike has less than 94bhp.
The A2 test consists of four parts, the CBT, theory and hazard perception test and the practical test module one and module two. If a rider already holds a valid CBT at the time of taking their A2, they do not need to retake this. If the rider holds a valid A1 license, they will not be required to re-do a CBT or theory test.
A motorcycle with a cc of more than 395cc will be used for the tests, even if you don’t plan on riding a motorcycle of this size.
At 24-years-old a rider no longer needs to take the A2 test and can do a ‘direct access’ test to ride unrestricted, riders under 24-years-old must have held an A2 license for two years and be over 21 to be able to complete the test before 24. For example a 21 year old who passed their A2 at 19 and has held the license for more than two years will be allowed to do their full unrestricted A license.
The items they will be tested on in the full unrestricted license will be the same as the A2 however will be on a bigger capacity motorcycle.
The full A1/A2/A licenses consist of a theory test with 50 questions and a pass requirement of 43 or more and a video hazard perception test to ensure you can quickly identify possible hazards on the road.
Module 1 is a car park based course that will test and help to develop the skills required to complete slower manoeuvres on a bigger motorcycle, once passed the Module 2 can be undertaken.
Module 2 is the final step and you will head out onto the road to prove you can ride a motorcycle comfortably to an acceptable standard, there will be hill starts and independent riding alongside an eyesight test at the very start.
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As you can see, although some can ride motorcycles on the road with a car license, many will have to go via the traditional way of taking your A license to ride a motorcycle on the roads.