Starting to ride

Starting to ride

Being able to ride a motorbike is a fantastic skill: it can give you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Are you ready for the challenge of becoming a skilled rider?

Depending on how old you are, what sort of motorbike or moped you want to ride and what sort of licence you already have, there are a few different routes you could take to get on the road. Use the flow diagrams on GOV.UK to find out what you need to do. Licence categories depend on your age and the size of bike you want to ride

  • You’re 16 or over and want to ride a moped (50 cc or less) – AM licence.
  • You’re 17 or over and want to ride a motorbike up to 125 cc (max 11 kW) – A1 licence (light motorbike).
  • You’re 19 or over and want to ride a motorbike up to 35 kW – A2  licence (medium motorbike).
  • You’re aged 21 to 23 and want to ride any size of motorbike – A licence.
  • You’re 24 or over and want to ride any size of motorbike – A licence.

There are a few other requirements to bear in mind before you start

  • You must hold a valid licence with provisional motorcycle entitlement for Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
  • You must be able to read a new-style number plate from 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses if you need them, as long as you always wear them when you’re driving).
  • You must make sure any motorbike or moped you ride is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured.
  • You must display L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle where they can be clearly seen until you’ve passed your practical test (L or D plates in Wales).

Good riding isn’t just about learning the rules of the road: your skill and your attitude as a rider are vital too, and you’ll keep learning and developing these over the years.

A good rider

  • is responsible for what they do while riding
  • concentrates on what they’re doing
  • anticipates what could happen around them
  • is patient with other road users
  • is confident about how to ride safely.

See the Motorcyclist Knowledge Centre for more information about being fit to ride.

Now you’ve decided which routes you’re going to take, you can choose the page you’re interested in or read through the rest of this section to find out how to get your motorbike licence.