New Bike Licence Rules

Right To Ride has been attending a stakeholder’s group regarding the introduction of the 3rd European Driving Licence Directive in Northern Ireland which mainly concerns changes to driving licence rules for moped, motorcycle and tricycle riders and new rules for mopeds and motorcycles used for tests.

This licence directive was adopted in the European Parliament in 2006 and is due to be implemented across Europe by 19th January 2013.

There have been very” technical” discussions, as highlighted from the rules below, to get an understanding of what is to be introduced in Northern Ireland, which mirrors the rest of the UK.

Apart from the information from NI Direct Government Services about changes to the driving licence rules for moped, motorcycle and tricycle riders and the new rules for mopeds and motorcycles used for tests, there is also additional information on new rules for vehicles you can drive and minimum ages; new rules for towing trailers with a car or small vehicle; bus and lorry drivers – new driving licence validity periods and new driving licence card design explained, which includes a full explanation of the new style of driving licence.

Also listed is help for motorcyclists with a disability and links to those that can help including the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD).

Information About The Changes

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) appears to be well aware that riders and potential riders need to be made aware of the changes and have had information available since handing out leaflets on their stand at the Adelaide Motorcycle Festival in February at the Kings Hall.

The DVA have taken into consideration those that will be expected to deliver new licence, training and testing and are holding at least one seminar in June which will cover AMI (Approved Motorcycle Instructor) and CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) related topics. There will be an opportunity for attendees to participate in the discussion which will help inform any future changes to the CBT scheme.

Information on the 3rd Directive is available which will introduce a number of changes to the way motorcycle riders are trained and tested and also have an impact  on the motorcycle industry.

There is no getting away from it but these new rules and regulations are complicated to understand and get your head around, at Right To Ride we have been involved in some way on this since 2004 or so.

We have produced a flow chart which may be of some help and out lines the basics.

Download as a pdf – 117kb Click Here

NI Direct Government Services – Changes to driving licence rules

Driving licence rules in Northern Ireland will change from 19 January 2013.

Link to full information new rules for motorcycles, cars towing trailers, buses and lorries from Ni Direct Government Service.

Click Here

Information below is from NI Direct Government Services and is correct at time of printing 28th May 2012

Changes to moped entitlement

From 19 January 2013 current moped category P will be replaced with a new European category AM.

Existing driving licence holders with moped entitlement

If you already have the entitlement to ride a moped, you won’t lose it.

Currently your entitlement is shown on your driving licence as category P and covers you to ride mopeds with:

  • an engine size up to 50 cc (cylinder capacity)
  • a maximum speed up to 50 kilometres per hour (km/h)

From 19 January 2013, new European rules will apply.

You won’t lose your category P entitlement but you will also be awarded categories AM and Q on driving licences issued from this date.

Your entitlement will show as:

  • category AM (new European category) – gives you entitlement to ride mopeds with a maximum design speed over 25 km/h but not more than 45 km/h, small three wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 Kilowatt (kW)), and light quadricycles (unladen weight less than 350 kilograms (kg) and up to 45 km/h)
  • category P – extending the above to include two or three-wheeled mopeds with a higher maximum speed of up to 50 km/h (to retain your existing entitlement)
  • category Q – extending the above to include two or three-wheeled mopeds with a maximum speed up to 25 km/h (to retain your existing entitlement)

You won’t need to do anything – your existing entitlement is still valid and will be amended when you next apply for your driving licence.

New moped riders from 19 January 2013

The minimum age to ride a moped will still be 16 years and you will still need to:

  • complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)
  • pass a theory test
  • pass practical tests

Once you have passed your tests, your moped entitlement will be shown on the driving licence as:

  • category AM (new European category)
  • category Q

If you pass a test for a car or any of the motorcycle categories, you will also receive entitlement to ride a moped.

However, a valid CBT certificate will still be required to ride a moped on the road if a full motorcycle test category has not been awarded.

This moped entitlement will be shown as above (categories AM and Q).

Changes to motorcycle and tricycle entitlement

The new EU rules redefines categories of motorcycles and amends the types of machines contained within those categories. There will be two routes to access motorcycles:

  • for young riders, progressive (also known as ‘staged’) access to more powerful motorcycles having regard to:
    • age
    • previous experience gained riding less powerful motorcycles
    • competence demonstrated riding the higher category of machine
  • direct access to category A2 and category A for candidates who satisfy the minimum age requirement

Existing motorcycle and tricycle riders

If you already have full motorcycle entitlement, it won’t change under the new EU rules.

Anyone who passed a practical category A motorcycle test before 19 January 2013 will still be restricted to a motorcycle of 25kW for two years from the date of test pass.

However, from 19 January 2013, if you want to ride a larger motorcycle you will need to follow the new rules for motorcycle riders outlined below.

Category B1 (quads and tricycles) will no longer be granted as a sub-category of category B and there will also be changes to how tricycle entitlements will be displayed on the licence.

Existing tricycle riders will not lose their category B1 (trikes and quads) entitlement but it will be displayed differently on driving licences issued from 19 January 2013.

It will be shown as category B1 and category A (restricted to tricycles), unless the rider already holds full A entitlement.

New motorcycle and tricycle riders from 19 January 2013

For new riders of motorcycles from 19 January 2013, the following new rules will apply:

Category A1 (small motorcycles up to 125cc)

Category A1 covers small motorcycles with:

  • a cylinder capacity not more than 125cc
  • power output not more than 11kW and a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW/kg
  • motor tricycles with a power not exceeding 15kW

The minimum age for A1 remains at 17 years.

You will be required to have a valid CBT certificate and pass the motorcycle theory and practical tests to get this entitlement.

Category A2 (medium motorcycles up to 35kW)

Category A2 covers medium sized motorcycles, with or without a sidecar, which have:

  • an engine power output up to 35kW
  • a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW/kg – the motorcycle must not be derived from a machine of more than double its power

The minimum age for A2 is 19 years.

There are two routes to get this motorcycle entitlement:

  • progressive access – if you have a minimum of two years’ experience on a category A1 motorcycle with a full licence, you can take the category A2 motorcycle test
  • direct access – you must be aged 19 years or over, hold a valid CBT certificate and pass the theory and practical category A2 motorcycle tests

Category A

Category A covers unrestricted motorcycles above 35kW and includes tricycles over 15kW.

There are two routes to get this motorcycle entitlement:

  • progressive access – you can get this category from aged 21 years, provided you have a minimum of two years’ experience on a category A2 motorcycle with a full licence and pass the category A practical motorcycle tests
  • direct access – you must be at least 24 years old, have a valid CBT certificate (only if you do not have full entitlement to A1 or A2) and pass the theory and category A practical motorcycle tests

Please note that from 19 January 2013 all learner riders of category A2 and category A motorcycles must be accompanied by an Approved Motorcycle Instructor (AMI) at all times when riding on public roads.

Tricycles

You will need to follow the same rules if you wish to ride a tricycle that falls within these categories.

Please note that tests for mopeds with three or four wheels, A1 and A tricycles and sidecar combinations will only be offered to people with disabilities.

New rules for mopeds and motorcycles used for tests

New driving licence rules for moped, motorcycle and tricycle riders come into force on 19 January 2013.

The new rules will affect the moped and motorcycle you can use for your riding test.

If your machine doesn’t meet these new rules, you won’t be able to use it for your test.

Tests before 19 January 2013

If your riding test is before 19 January 2013, you need to follow the current rules:

Tests on or after 19 January 2013

All mopeds and motorcycles used for riding tests on or after 19 January 2013 must:

  • be fitted with a speedometer that measures speed in both miles per hour (mph) and kilometres per hour (kph)
  • be fitted with an appropriate stand
  • clearly display L-plates on the front and rear
  • be legal and roadworthy and have no engine or safety warning lights showing

You must use the same category of machine for both the motorcycle manoeuvres test and on road motorcycle test.

The category of machine you take your tests on will affect the categories you can ride after passing your on road test.

Automatic or semi-automatic transmission

If you pass your tests on a machine with automatic or semi-automatic transmission:

  • it will be recorded on your licence
  • your full licence rights will be limited to machines in that category

If your moped or motorcycle doesn’t meet the rules:

  • your test will not take place
  • you may lose your fee

Category AM (moped)

The moped you use for your test on or after 19 January 2013 must:

  • be a two-wheeled machine
  • be 50 cubic centimetres (cc) capacity or less
  • have a top design speed of no more than 28 mph (45km/h)

Sub-category A1 (small motorcycle)

The sub-category A1 motorcycle you use for your test on or after 19 January 2013 must:

  • be a two-wheeled machine
  • be at least 120cc and no more than 125cc capacity
  • have an engine power output no more than 11 kilowatts (kW) – 14.6 brake horse power (bhp)
  • be capable of at least 55 mph (90 km/h)

Sub-category A2 (medium-sized motorcycle)

The sub-category A2 motorcycle you use for your test on or after 19 January 2013 must:

  • be a two-wheeled machine
  • be at least 395cc capacity
  • have an engine power output of at least 25kW (33 bhp) and not exceeding 35kW (46.6 bhp)
  • have a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW per kilogram

If the engine power output of the motorcycle has been restricted to fit sub-category A2, the power output of the machine before restriction cannot be more than double that obtained after restriction.

Examples of acceptable restriction are:

  • unrestricted power output 70kW – restricted power output 35kW
  • unrestricted power output 60kW – restricted power output 30kW
  • unrestricted power output 50kW – restricted power output 25kW

Examples of unacceptable restriction are:

  • unrestricted power output 100kW – restricted power output 35kW
  • unrestricted power output 70kW – restricted power output 30kW
  • unrestricted power output 60kW – restricted power output 25kW

Category A (large motorcycles)

The category A large motorcycle you use for your test on or after 19 January 2013 must:

  • be a two-wheeled machine
  • be at least 595cc capacity
  • have an engine power output of at least 40kW (53.6 bhp)

Restricted motorcycles

The examiner will check both the normal unrestricted power output and/ or the restricted power output of your motorcycle at the start of the test. The normal unrestricted power output and power to weight ratio are recorded on your motorcycle’s registration document (V5C(NI)).

If the engine power output of the motorcycle has been restricted from its normal power output, you will be asked to confirm what the restricted power output is by showing the examiner evidence from a motorcycle manufacturer or motorcycle dealer which shows clearly the result of the power restriction.

You will also need to sign a declaration to say your motorcycle is suitable for the test.

Motorcycles with a sidecar

You can only use a motorcycle with a sidecar for your test if you have a disability.

The rules for a motorcycle with a sidecar are the same as for a solo motorcycle, however:

  • categories A and A1 must not have a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.16 kW per kilogram
  • passengers are not allowed to ride in the sidecar during the test

The licence you get from passing this test will only allow you to use a motorcycle with a sidecar.

Tricycles

Tests for mopeds with three or four wheels, A1 and A tricycles will only be offered to candidates with a physical disability.

Help for motorcyclists with a disability

Disability Action’s Mobility Centre is the only centre of its kind in Northern Ireland and promotes the independence of people with disabilities by offering advice and assessment on all aspects of personal mobility.

The National Association for Bikers with a Disability is a registered charity that provides information to help disabled people enjoy independent motorcycling. You can visit their website to find out about machine adaptations that can be made.

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  1. Hi Chris
    Your welcome to the information and hopefully your Reliant Realto driving days are over :-)(

    For cc of Quad on an A category licence – as far as I am aware this is actually under Category B1 (quads and tricycles) Category it will be listed on your licence.

    Which I believe is – “Light vehicles and quad bikes – You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400kg unladen or 550kg if they’re designed for carrying goods.”

    Hope that helps!

    Trevor Baird – Right To Ride

  2. What cc quad can I ride on a full A class licence please.

  3. Hi trevor

    Thankyou for the information I appreciate it. I road a bike about 2 years ago then thought I’d have a break. I also used to drive a reliant realto. They really are not as bad as people think. Just don’t drive up a big hill in very strong winds.

    Thanks again

  4. Hi Chris

    That sounds like you have a full A Licence category therefore the new rules do not affect you.

    You can ride a full powered bike although I would recommend a refersher course – some the trainers (Approved Motorcycle Instructors ) – run courses or there is the IAM or RoSPA or at the least a Bikesafe assesment.

    Hope that helps!

    Trevor Baird – Right To Ride

  5. hi I passed my motorcycle full test 03/06/1994 what entiltlements does this give me with the new rules please