New Licencing rules from 19th January 2013
From 19 January 2013 all countries within the E U will need to comply with the 3rd EU Driving Licence Directive (3DLD), which was passed in 2006. As a result trikes will move from car licence entitlement and in future will be covered by bike riding licences (depending on when you passed your test, see below). The effect will be that the effective minimum age for riding a trike over 15kW increases from 17 to 21 years old. Entitlements already on your licence will not be affected, but any new entitlements you want will have to be gained under the new rules.
The current Compulsory Basic Training system will continue to give riders an ability to ride bikes up to 125cc on 'L'-plates (and on bigger bikes if under instruction from a qualified bike trainer).
The content of the test is essentially unchanged, although we have been working with the UK government to change the content of the bike test later in 2013 so that more of it can be done on the road.
3DLD requires a motorcycle entitlement (Category A1 to ride trikes under 15kW power output, full Category A for trikes over 15kW). Currently the entitlement to ride a trike is under category B1 (trikes and quads) or B (cars); licences replaced or renewed after 19 January 2013 will show the entitlement as B1 and A (limited to tricycles).
*Entitlement to ride bikes of different sizes*
Currently, you can gain a full licence to ride any size bike either by passing the test on a 125cc bike, then riding a bike restricted to 33bhp for two years before automatically qualifying to ride bigger bikes OR by taking a Direct Access test (minimum age 21 years). Under 3DLD this will change dramatically; there will be an additional category for medium-size bikes, the minimum age for Direct Access will rise to 24 and if a rider wants to start on a smaller bike and work their way through they will have to take a test, then ride that size of bike for two years. If they want to move up to another category of bike licence they will have to repeat the process on the bigger bike. All of the new licence categories are described below:
MOPED - Licence category AM - maximum design speed between 25-45 km/h (also includes small three wheelers up to 50 cc and below 4 kW and light quadricycles with unladen mass less than 350 kg and up to 45 km/h). The minimum age to ride these vehicles will still be 16 and you'll still need to pass your CBT, theory test and practical test if you want a full moped licence.
SMALL MOTORCYCLE - Licence category A1 (up to 125 cc, power output not more than 11 kW and a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg. Also tricycles with a power output not more than 15 kW). The minimum age limit for category A1 will still be 17 years and you'll still need to pass your CBT, theory test and practical test if you want a full A1 licence so that you can move up to a bigger bike two years later.
MEDIUM MOTORCYCLE - Licence category A2 (up to 35 kW, (47bhp) with or without a sidecar, a power to weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg - NB: the bike must not be restricted down from a vehicle of more than double its power). The minimum age for category A2 is 19 years. There are two ways to get this entitlement: 'Staged Access' if you have two years' experience on an A1 motorcycle by passing another practical test. 'Direct Access' if you do not have two years' experience on an A1 motorcycle, by passing a theory test and a practical test.
LARGE MOTORCYCLE - Licence category A (machines unlimited in size and power, with or without a sidecar, and trikes with a power output of more than 15 kW). There are two ways to get this entitlement too. 'Staged Access' if you have two years' experience on an A2 motorcycle by passing another practical test. 'Direct Access' if you are aged 24 or older and do not have two years' experience on an A2 motorcycle, by passing a theory test and a practical test.
TRIKES - You'll need to follow the same rules if you want to ride a trike that falls within these categories. MAG has asked for confirmation from DSA whether this takes us from a position where you can currently ride a trike from age 17 on a car licence, to a position where you will have to be aged at least 21 and have worked your way through Staged Access (or take Direct Access from age 24). NB: Tests using mopeds with three or four wheels, motorcycle-sidecar outfits, A1 tricycles and A tricycles will only be offered to the physically disabled.