New EU Licence

The Northern Ireland  Department Of The Environment (DOE) has posted a reminder regarding the new EU rules (3rd EC Directive On Driving Licences), which is not just for motorcyclists, but also for car drivers who tow trailers, bus drivers, lorry drivers and driving examiners.

The directive was passed by the European Parliament in 2006 and was transposed into national legislation on 19th January 2011.  It enters into force on Saturday 19th January 2013.

At Right To Ride we have reported on the directive since the DOE consultation in 2010 and as part of a stakeholders group to inform riders about the implementation aspects of the directive.

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird says, “I have been involved with the issues surrounding the 3DLD directive in some form or another from 2004.  It would be true to say that the gestation period for this directive in terms of length can be compared to that of an elephant.”

On the subject of elephants – especially the one in the room – the changes to the motorcycling licencing have been seen by many riders, including ourselves, as a restriction for future learner riders to take up motorcycling.

This has been due to the progressive access requirements which are considered as forcing learners to jump through a range of hoops to achieve a full licence, from age 16 years for a moped to a full licence at 21 years.

However we stopped short of condemning this directive as the death knell of motorcycling.

In fact for Northern Ireland riders the directive will see the introduction of Direct Access for riders of a minimum age of 24 years to attain a full licence. Direct Access basically includes a theory test and CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) before taking a two part test – Off Road Manoeuvres – On Road Test – with accompanied riding with an AMI (Approved Motorcycle Instructor) while learning.

While this may seem restrictive, there is plenty of training and testing to make sure a rider is competent to manage a full powered bike.

Change Will Not Be Too Dramatic!

Statistics from the DVA indicate that approximately 80% percent of test candidates are aged 24 years and over.  Therefore riders in this category will not be restricted after they pass their test to ride a bike of 33bhp for the first two years – as is the case at present.

If we dig deep into the new rules, for a 17 year old who wishes to progress to a full powered bike and obtain a full A Licence, he or she will have to progress through the new rules via three tests and categories.

A1 – a bike of not more than 125cc (he or she can in theory ride a 125cc bike for two years on L plates after competing CBT (Compulsory Basic training) therefore only two tests would be required through progressive access.

A2 – medium powered bike at 19 years.

A – full powered bike at 21 years.

There is nothing stopping somebody who is of a minimum age of 19 years taking a Direct Access to an A2 licence and as mentioned previously, at a minimum of 24 years for a Direct Access test to a full powered motorcycle and A Licence. (there are caveats relating to a valid Theory Test and CBT before taking a test using this progressive access route)

Overall for motorcycling these are major changes which will take getting used to. The makeup of motorcycling riders may change. There may be more 19 year olds on medium powered bikes and older riders (if those at 24 years old or a bit more can be called older), on full powered bikes.

To sum up, all those involved in motorcycling from selling goods, to promoting motorcycling and membership based organisations should be prepared for some change, even though we suspect that this change will not be too dramatic!
Don’t forget, if you already have full motorcycle entitlement, it won’t change under the new EU rules.

New EU rules coming in for motorcyclists, bus drivers, lorry drivers and driving examiners

The DOE today reminded motorcyclists, bus drivers, lorry drivers, and car drivers who tow trailers that new EU rules will be introduced from Saturday 19 January 2013 aimed at improving road safety.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Under the new rules there will be changes to the licensing categories for motorcycles, including the introduction of a new medium-sized category. Access to more powerful bikes will be staged subject to competence, age and previous experience. The minimum age for riding the largest bikes without previous experience will be set at 24 (currently you may ride any size of motorcycle, two years after passing a motorcycle test on a small motorcycle, and that can apply to riders as young as 19).

From the same date, all drivers of buses and lorries will have to demonstrate medical fitness at renewal of their driving licences every five years (the current UK requirement is five-yearly renewal only after the age of 45).

For bus drivers, the minimum age will increase from 21 to 24. However, this will not apply to drivers who successfully complete the certificate of professional competence (CPC) initial qualification: they may continue to drive in a professional capacity from the age of 18 on a regular service where the route does not exceed 50 km or from the age of 20, when the 50 km restriction on the length of the route does not apply.

Driving examiners will be required to meet a minimum initial qualification criterion for recruitment and will be subject to periodic training and quality assurance checks.

Drivers who pass a car test can tow small trailers weighing no more than 750kg or trailers weighing more than 750kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg. If they want to tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, when the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg, they will have to pass a further test and get B+E entitlement on their licence.

There will also be enhanced licence security features introduced in order to help combat fraud.

Full details of the changes to the rules can be found at the NI Direct website

Original Source: Department of the Environment news – Click Here


Right To Ride – EU Licence For Northern Ireland – Click Here
Right To Ride – EU Licence FAQS – Click Here
Right To Ride – EU Licence News – Click Here
nidirect government services – New driving licence rules for mopeds, motorcycles and tricycles – Click Here
nidirect government services – New rules for mopeds and motorcycles used for tests – Click Here
EU Licence Directive Consultation – Click Here


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  3. Protection of Vulnerable Drivers

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    And a video about the style of the licence.

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