German drivers can ride 125cc with no test on A1 licence: should UK do the same?

With German drivers able to ride a 125cc motorcycle on an A1 licence without taking a formal test, should the UK introduce a similar rule?

TME Training

GERMAN drivers who meet basic criteria are able to jump on a 125cc motorcycle or scooter with an A1 licence, a rule that has been in place since January 2020. Should the UK introduce the same rule?

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Motorrad report that the criteria for being granted an A1 licence are as follows:

  • Driver must be at least 25 years old
  • Must have held their licence for at least 5 years
  • They must complete 13.5 hours (nine x 90-minute sessions) of theory and riding practice

After the training is completed, there is no final test, and the driver is awarded an A1 licence. 
That A1 licence, to confirm, allows a rider to pilot a light motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc, with a maximum power of 15PS / 11kW. 

The cost for a German driver to add this entitlement to their licence varies between €500-900 euros, depending on the location & tutor, and €50 euros in admin fees. Also worth noting that this entitlement doesn’t then have any influence on potential future licence categories, A2 or full unrestricted A licence.

According to the stats, 77,823 Germans have taken up the A1 licence scheme so far, compiled of 59,622 men & 18,193 women, with the most popular age range being new riders ages 45 - 60. 

Bringing it back to the UK, sales of motorcycles and scooters have seen an upturn recently, with a possible reason being commuters seeking a new way of getting to work that doesn’t involve public transport. 

Visordown’s opinion on making it easier to get a 125cc A1 licence

It certainly makes sense to make it easier to get a 125cc entitlement, and on the face of it, I’d be all for introducing two-wheels to more people. But also compare it to the current CBT, which is a 6 hour (at most) course completed in a day for a fraction of the €500~ price. It lasts two years, but given the option would you pay £500 up front, or £150 every two years?

It certainly makes sense to bring this scheme over to the UK, mind. It doesn’t entirely replace any existing training (the minimum age of 25 makes the current intended CBT progression still the main route upwards). There's a boom of new 125cc machines, and widening the pool of potential riders is always great.

Plus, there are thousands of riders in the UK who have experience from their childhood days on Fizzy’s, RD’s and scooters - but don’t want to keep renewing CBTs and wait for test dates when they can already ride. 

Speaking of, test dates are so backlogged, freeing up A1 slot to diligent training schools sounds like a pretty genuine way of doing things. Commuters will be happy, too. If the theory can be done at home, and you section off a few evenings to complete the training, you're well on the way to being a capable A1 rider. The criteria for being on the road with a CBT is already so low, and you're on the road anyway - so what difference does it make?

I’m partial to an entire re-design of the licencing process in any case, but this seems like a good step to make in the right direction.