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.
There are a few exceptions to this, which are outlined below.
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.
The Grandfather Rights
Following the Coronavirus not many people want to use public transport to get to work. Many are considering getting a two-wheeler, either a moped or small scooter or motorbike to get around. It’s a wise decision and ensures you reduce the risk of being infected with Covid19.
Some car drivers who have held their full licence for many years might have an inkling that their licence entitles them to ride a small motorcycle or scooter. In some cases that might be correct.
If your driving licence shows a category p (lowercase p) on the pink plastic card and you passed your driving test before the 1st February 2001 (known as grandfather rights) then you are entitled to ride a moped. A moped is a scooter that has a maximum engine capacity of 49cc. You can read all about what a moped is and how fast they can go in the link.
When you have your full driving licence you are considered to know the roads, but whether you know how to correctly control a moped, or how to position yourself on the roads is another matter. It is worth getting instruction and remembers a CBT only takes a day and you don’t pass or fail, so with your p entitlement there is nothing to lose and your CBT training will also enable you to ride a larger motorcycle (up to 125cc).
If you passed your car driving test after the 1st of February 2001 then you will need to complete a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course. This will enable you to ride a moped or any motorcycle or scooter with an engine capacity of up to 125cc.
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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.
CBT Clothing Guide
Do you know what you’ll need to wear to take your CBT? Do you know what the school provides and what you must bring?
It’s never that clear, so we’ve written a guide to the clothing you need to wear to your CBT test. You don’t want to turn up and then be turned away.
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, like how can you secure it, where do you put the oil, what are the best tyres?
Why not check out www.ridersite.com where there’s a specific beginner motorcycling forum where you can ask any question you like to an audience of experienced bikers who have been through everything you’re going through as you start your exciting journey into biking!