A2 motorcycle licence explained

Understand the January 19th changes

BY NOW everybody will be aware that there are significant changes coming to the system of motorcycle licencing in Britain. 

The new system isn't actually as complicated as you may have heard it is. The stated goal of the new laws is straightforward - to guide young riders, in a progressive way, towards a full, unrestricted licence. If, at the age of 16, you take a CBT, you will be entitled to ride a 50cc moped. But not until the age of 21, a full five years hence, will you be able to ride a bike of your choosing. This 'progressive' model is largely the result of the E.U. Directive 2006/126/EC; the theorists presumably hope that by this point you will have developed the nous to ride anything with a modicum of ability.

For many, it's unlikely to affect their trajectory in motorbike riding too extensively; newly-passed young riders under the previous system would in any case be unwise to go straight out and buy a bike so far beyond the new 47bhp limit that the new rules will massively hinder them.

Remember that if you already have a full motorcycle licence, your entitlement will not be affected in any way. The new rules will only impact current learners or new riders. 

As before, you will still have to hold a provisional licence and a CBT before you can do anything - all subsequent licencing is dependent on this. 

We've broken down the new system in full below:

Age 16 - 50cc max: the AM licence. At this stage, L-plates are compulsory after passing the CBT, until you have taken the moped test (theory and practical). Examples of 50cc bikes include: Honda Vision 50Yamaha Aerox R, Peugeot V-Clic 50.

Age 17-18 - 125cc max: the A1 licence. After passing your CBT, and taking a theory and practical test, you are entitled to ride up to a 125cc bike without learner plates and carry a pillion passenger. As before, this type of licence essentially formalises the content of the CBT. And yes, this means that below the age of 19, you can only ride a 125. Examples of 125cc bikes include: Suzuki VanVan, Aprilia RS125, Yamaha DT125R.

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