Do You Need a License for a Motorcycle?

So you’ve just decided to ditch the car and join the biking community. That’s a great idea! Motorcycles are fun, economical, and easy to maintain. However, most governments take biking seriously. You will need a motorcycle license to ride any two or three-wheeled vehicles. And most counties prefer the graduated licensing system. Here’s how it works.

Getting Started on Your Motorcycle License Journey

Before getting a full motorcycle license, riders must take a small introductory test of their bike handling skills. It is usually a one-day thing where you learn how to be safe on the road, and it eventually leads to a ‘learner’s license.’ Think of it as a screening phase where instructors assess riders and award license those whom they deem fit.

The course involves a bit of everything. You first get an introduction to road theory and an overview of biking in your country. After that, an instructor will do live demos and also give you the chance to practice what you’ve learned. During the practical session, instructors will use their judgment to identify people who are not ready for the learner’s license.

The next phase of the training involves the real thing. You go for practical on-road training and riding, which leads to a motorcycle driving permit for successful participants. From there, you can legally ride a motorbike, moped or trike in the 125cc family, but with some restrictions. You cannot ride on motorways, carrying any passengers, and you have to display L-plates at all times until you get the full license.

Getting a Full-Bike Licence

Getting a full-motorcycle permit can be quite nerve-racking. In the UK, for example, you need to pass two old but fun tests – Module 1 and Module 2. The first one, module 1, checks if you can control the bike. And the second one tests if you can implement road safety precautions and make correct decisions continually in the real world.

Overall, the instructor takes you to an open area where they test how you handle a big, sturdy bike. They will expect you to:

  • Wheelie the bike
  • Use the stand correctly
  • Ride in Slalom
  • Ride a figure eight
  • Slow ride
  • U-turn without putting your feet down
  • Corner and come to a controlled stop
  • Corner and come to an emergency stop
  • Corner and avoid a hazard

All these tests can be pretty challenging, even for someone who’s been riding for a while. That’s why you need to go for several test runs before taking the exam. It’s also safe to say that you will never be able to practice these moves without access to the training facility. People who use a motorcycle as a daily automobile are more likely to pass compared to those who don’t. That said, remember to do shoulder checks every time you approach a corner and when taking off.

The Module 2 test starts with an eye-check. The instructor asks you to read a member plate placed 20.5 meters away, and the results determine if you make it to the next round or not. You will then answer a few questions about motorcycle safety and maintenance before going on a 30-minute ride on the open road. The instructor looks at how you read road signs and interact with other road users.

What Happens if You are Caught Riding Without a Licence?

Riding a motorcycle without a license attracts three to six penalty points in most places in the world. You can get a fine of up £1000 and can even go as high as £5000 when there’s no insurance involved. Still, driving without a license is not a grave offence unless you are defying a court order. That’s the only time you can get imprisonment because the court sees it as intentional misconduct.

Some driving offences are also endorsable. For example, getting caught riding a 600cc motorcycle without a full-motorbike license is endorsable, but will earn you several points. Also, you might get in trouble for letting a person without a motorcycle license ride your bike. The same also applies to expired road permits and insurance.