Rules for taking to the road on two wheels

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So you want to ride a motorcycle or scooter? How you get started largely depends on your age and what you want to ride so here’s a rundown of the basics.

As far as who can ride what is concerned, once you are 16 you can ride a 50cc moped or motorcycle (Not all 50cc machines are twist’n’go mopeds, and as such you are not limited to just mopeds) that is not capable of more than 28mph, on a CBT.

The “old” licensing was much the same, but the machine could be capable of 32mph. As such, all older scooters are effectively off limits to new riders.

Once you reach 17 the options for motorcycling begin to open up. The CBT is still a necessary requirement, but the real advantage of waiting that extra year is the wider choice of machines you are able to ride. At the age of 17 up to 19, you can ride a machine up to 125cc, not capable of making more than 14.6hp / 11kW of power. This is the “new” A1 category. Unlike the old regulations, you cannot ride a 33hp /25kW machine. You cannot ride anything bigger until you turn 19.

When you turn 19 you can take and pay for another licence and test. This is the “new” A2 category. This lets you ride any machine with a power output of up to 47bhp / 35kW. Like the old 33bhp licence, there is no limit of the cubic capacity of the machine, merely the power output.

This mean you can take a more powerful bike and restrict its power output to a lower level.

Unlike the old licence however, this machine cannot have a power output exceeding 100hp in its unrestricted form. So this means most Sportsbikes are off limits, even if you have it restricted.

When you turn 21 you can again take and again pay for another licence and test. This is the “new” A category. Once you gain this licence, you can ride any machine.

Whereas you used to be able to do Direct Access (DAS) at the age of 21, and ride any machine as on an A category, you must now be 24 or older to do Direct Access.

For further details on getting started in the world of motorcycles and scooters, just contact your local testing centre or the Driving Standards Agency. The number of the DSA is 0300 200 1122 and their website is at www.dsa.gov.uk.