Historically, a full car licence permitted drivers to ride a motorcycle up to 125cc without having to take any other tests or entitlements. However, the current rules state that even if you have a full licence for a car, you still have to take your CBT in order to be able to ride a small (125cc or under) motorcycle and use L-plates on the bike too.
What bikes can I ride on a full car licence?
If you have a full Category B driving licence for a car but no bike-specific categories on your licence, you cannot ride any type of motorcycle on UK roads without taking the appropriate tests and so, gaining motorcycle-specific entitlements.
The one exception to this is if you gained your full car licence prior to February 2001, in which case you can ride a moped of up to 50cc and with a top speed of up to 50km/h only, without taking a CBT or any other tests. This is reflected by the presence of Category p entitlement on your driving licence.
Therefore, if you just want a bike to nip around on, you can take your motorcycle CBT and within a day you could be on two wheels!
I have Category “A” on my driving licence, can I ride a motorbike?
Yes, Category A entitlement on your driving licence allows you to ride any motorcycle with no maximum power limit, including pillion passenger carriage and using motorways.
Check whether your licence is indeed Category A or whether it is Category AM (moped), A1 (up to 125cc), A2 (restricted, replaces the old 33bhp limit) or Category A.
What category is a full motorcycle licence?
Category A is a full motorcycle licence, allowing you to ride any capacity motorcycle, with no restrictions.
I have a full car licence can I ride a 125cc?
As mentioned above. If you have a full car licence, you can ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc but you have to take your Compulsory Basic Training first. This is a day-long course that starts in a car park and ends up with you out on the road on a motorcycle or scooter. Once you’ve done that, you can ride a motorcycle or scooter with an engine capacity up to 125cc, on the road with L-plates for up to two years. After this two-year period you will need to re-take your CBT.
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‘Big’ bike or 125?
If you have a car licence and you just want to nip around on a motorbike, you can take your CBT and then ride a 125cc motorbike for 2 years, with L-plates. After that time, you’ll have to retake your CBT.
However, if you want to ride a larger, more powerful motorcycle you’ll need to take your motorcycle test. There are various options, so check out our motorcycle licence guide landing page to make the next step.
Get advice from real bikers
If you’re thinking of getting on two wheels, whether that be a scooter or motorcycle, with a CBT or a full licence, you’ll probably have a lot of questions you want answers to.