Very, very, confusing

Well, which?

You can drive a motor tricycle of any power rating if both of the following are true:

you’re over 21
you have a full car driving licence

You’ll need a full category A1 motorbike licence to ride motor tricycles up to power output 15 Kilowatts (kW), and a full category A motorbike licence to ride trikes with a power output more than 15 kW.

It’s necessary to have only a car licence or to have a bike licence to drive a trike?

Maybe Longrider can help out here?

29 thoughts on “Very, very, confusing”

  1. Back in days of yore, the magnificent creation of the human imagination that was the reliant robin could be driven on a motor bike licence I believe. Had an uncle (long dead) who was as tight as a blue whale’s arse who drove one solely because he didn’t need a normal car licence. I image a trike would be similarly classified unless the law has changed in the last 40 years.

  2. Probably means you have to take your CBT whatever and wear L plates, but it’s not clear.

    and this was silly

    “If you’re not physically disabled and want to ride a motor tricycle you’ll now need to get the right provisional entitlement and pass CBT.”

    clicks CBT link

    “— CBT isn’t a test that you pass or fail.”

  3. Rational Anarchist

    My brother managed to fail his CBT. A few too many drinks the night before and a very early start meant that the instructor wouldn’t sign off on it.

  4. It’s both. If you have a full car licence, you can drive (ride) a trike. However, you can also do it if you have a full bike licence but the age based categories apply.

    Yes, you can fail a CBT. Although it is not a test it is a form of continuous assessment. Sometimes you get people who take more than one attempt to reach the necessary standard. Sometimes people are incapable of reaching the standard no matter how much time you spend with them and the instructor will refuse to issue a certificate. Call it what you will, it’s a fail. We just don’t refer to it as that, because we are all touchy feely these days and don’t use the “F” word.

  5. It’s a progressive thing. A trike license lets you drive a trike. A car license lets you drive a car and everything under a car, which includes a trike. A Small Goods Vehicle license lets you drive a SGV, a car, a trike, etc.

    It does raise some slight concerns as I have a car license, but have never sat on a motorbike, but by having a car license I am allow to drive a Hog with no preconditions.

  6. jgh,

    It’s not (at least for a 1988 pass) as simple as “pass your car test, ride any bike”.

    It used to be the case that a full car licence got you all manner of stuff you could drive, up to 7.5 tons / 16 passengers (with trailer) and down to mopeds and unlifed provisional motorcycle licence (which meant 125cc and 12bhp max, L-plates, no passenger, no motorways). If you wanted to ride a “big bike” you had to pass your motorcycle test, but while a provisional bike licence was only lifed for two years, if you had “band D provisional” by virtue of passing your car test it didn’t run out; so you could thrash around on a 100cc two-stroke on L-plates free of care.

    It changed in the mid-1990s with the introduction of Compulsory Basic Training, which initially you had to have to take your big bike test.

    After a few years – definitely by 1999 – you had to have CBT to ride a “learner” motorcycle at all even with an “older” car licence, and if you passed your motorbike test you were limited to 33bhp for your first two years (there was a brisk market in restrictor kits, so you didn’t have to run a 33bhp hack for two years).

    Alongside that was “Direct Access” where you did CBT on day one, then a couple of days of training and test under supervision, riding a decent-sized machine (can’t remember the rules, I did it on a Suzuki GS500) – pass that and you were good to go on whatever you wanted to own and ride.

    So, if you want to hop on a Harley, you’ll need to do CBT, then either pass your bike test on a 125 and then ride the Harley with restrictors for two years; or do CBT, train and pass on a bigger bike, and indulge your “Hell’s Angels On Wheels” as you see fit.

  7. Trike = a three wheeled motor vehicle with all the disadvantages of both car and motorcycle and none of the benefits. Popular with people too scared to ride a motorcycle.

  8. I am using my old Finnish paper driving licence, good for cars, vans, tractors I think and motorbikes. Should I ever need to exchange it for a British one I assume I would lose the motorbike bit?

    I have laminated it so it should last till the expiry in 2036, it shows a very young 17-year-old me.

    Never had to show it in the UK, insurance websites European licence tick box.

  9. @jgh – no, you can’t ride a hog. You can ride a restricted moped without L plates if you took your full car test before 01/02/01. Otherwise, you need a CBT that overlaps your licence, but you only need to do it once.

    To ride that hog, you need a CBT taken on a machine of up to 125 cc – or, if the school will do it and the instructor is DAS qualified, a 600cc machine that you will be using for DAS or a restricted machine (47bhp) for someone under 24. You need to complete both parts of the motorcycle test before gaining a full category A or A2 licence. Then you can ride that hog (a 21 year old may need to restrict it if it is over the 47bhp).

    A full car licence does not allow someone to ride a motorcycle.

    So, if you want to hop on a Harley, you’ll need to do CBT, then either pass your bike test on a 125 and then ride the Harley with restrictors for two years; or do CBT, train and pass on a bigger bike, and indulge your “Hell’s Angels On Wheels” as you see fit.

    No, this changed in January 2013. Once someone has passed their full test on an unrestricted machine, they can ride any motorcycle. The only restrictions that apply are due to age. From 17 – 18 inclusive, a 125cc machine. From 19 – 23 inclusive, a rider is restricted to a machine with a maximum power output of 35Kw/47Bhp. Although they can upgrade to full category A by doing the test again on the more powerful machine after two years, rather than wait until they are 24. 24 and upwards, they can take their test on an unrestricted machine.

    If you take your test on a 125cc machine you are restricted to an A1 licence. If you want to upgrade, you need to go through it all again on a suitable machine depending on category.

  10. Something or other also about me having passed mr car driving test at a time when that also gives me a licence to drive a mini bus. Doesn’t apply to modern car tests.

    Means I get to drive the ladies rugby team around to matches.

  11. Trike = a three wheeled motor vehicle with all the disadvantages of both car and motorcycle and none of the benefits.

    Are helmets obligatory on a trike? They didn’t use to be.

    Who wants to ride a Harley on British roads? Sure, if you live in the midwest with a 55mph speed limit and a bend in the road every 50 miles, they’re great fun. On British roads they’re just a two-wheel articulated lorry, without the bike’s advantage of being able to nip between two stationary lanes of traffic. And you need to be followed by a minibus full of weightlifters, in case you drop it. See also under Gold Wing.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    Something or other also about me having passed mr car driving test at a time when that also gives me a licence to drive a mini bus. Doesn’t apply to modern car tests.

    Its an EU thing (I’ll bet that came as a surprise). Modern car licences limit you to 3.5 Tonnes and not minibuses, ie standard delivery delivery vans. Those of us of a certain vintage got our licences grandfathered so we can drive up to 7.5T vehicles, its the C1 category.

    My motorhome is a van conversion and based on the Fiat Ducato that had been rated at 3.5T anyone can drive it. However as we had a high spec conversion when we had it weighed fully loaded we were well over the limit, so we had it uprated to 3.9T max laden weight, which makes it a private HGV and weirdly cheaper to tax, but that means we need the C1 licence to drive it. It also means we have to have a medical every year when we get to 70.

    Other than that it nothing changes because our weight limits are based on axle weight and not laden weight, so we drive it with normal van restrictions. However, in Europe they base their weights on laden weight so when we’re over there technically we’re HGV and have to drive at the lower speed limits and stay out of outside lines on motorways etc.

    Incidentally, all those style vans can be uprated, its a technical exercise and only cost £220.

  13. Are helmets obligatory on a trike? They didn’t use to be.

    No, still not a requirement.

    Who wants to ride a Harley on British roads?

    The new Bronx due out this autumn looks to be an exception.

  14. Rode a 1200 Harley around ‘The Meadows’ nearly 20 years ago. Whoever named it ‘Sportster’ lives on a different planet to the rest of us. Totally get riding one through the Rockies though.

  15. I got my bike and car license a long time ago when it was a single test for each. I didn’t realise it had changes so much.

    Now it sounds to me like another tax scam where you have to site multiple tests to ride a bike which will give those thieves in government more cash for nothing and jobs for the boys.

    What a country we live in.

  16. @Lord T. It’s even more absurd than you realise. One of the schools I work with uses Kawasaki 650s. They use the same machine for A and A2 licenses. All we do is put a throttle stop in to restrict it, which is perfectly legal so long as it’s been fitted by an authorised dealer. So, a rider takes the test on one of these and passes, gets an A2 licence. They turn 24 and come back to do exactly the same test on exactly the same bike with the throttle stop screw removed.

  17. Andrew C, BiND,

    Minibuses are fairly straightforward.

    Pre-1997 car licence holders can drive a minibus of any weight, plus a 750kg trailer. From 1997 onwards: minibus under 3.5 tonnes, no trailer. Neither group can drive a minibus for hire or reward. Both are limited to max 16 seats.

    The weight limit isn’t a problem, but not being able to tow e.g. a fleet of kayaks is a right pain in the backside.

  18. Not worth going to the DMV.

    I have been hauling the mail on my motorcycle around here for years, and never talked to by cops. In fact, two different cops told me they were instructed to leave motorcyclists alone, unless they did something egregious. The theory they’d do more harm than good – and have to help pick up the bike on the side of the road.

    If I were a less upstanding citizen, I’d never bother with a moto license.

  19. I ride a trike – three wheeler- on a car licence. 300cc, but could be any capacity. It’s heavier than a motorcycle, or scooter, but it does have advantages: the brakes are much better, two wheels and two discs instead of one, and there’s always some rubber on tarmac rather than a metal manhole cover as you go around a wet corner.

  20. I love these little insights into people’s lives. I’d hazard a guess at a few of the regulars two wheels of choice

    Mr Lud. Velocette MAC 350 1958 ?
    Andrew – Honda cb500
    Gamecock – bmw gs 650
    Dennis of the various identities – Harley 850 sportster
    Mr Ecks – Kawasaki zzr 1000
    Newmania – cb90 cub

  21. @TW

    Not confusing

    @Mark April 25, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Yes, Robin, Bond-Bug, Spaz Mobiles, BMW & Messerschmitt etc were was classed as a motorcycle plus sidecar. Bureaucrats kept it simple then: 3 wheeler under unladen weight of X lbs

    Bike Test then: ride round block (left/right), do emergency stop when chap jumps out in front of you. Get lost, crash or run chap over: Fail

    One thing Huns (& Morgan) got right was two wheels front, one at back

    @LR

    The “F” word in GCSE is a pass, in my day below C was Fail and below E (30-40%) was ‘Ungraded’

    Incapable: yep, I remember when CBT started I set up cones at correct gap for slalom test, easy even on big heavy GPz

    @jgh

    As Jason Lynch says and since Blair DVLA have been “losing” pre 1988 passes when licence returned for change of address/renewal – luckily I have a GB and an NI Licence

    @Addolff

    “Trike [or sidecar] = a three wheeled motor vehicle with all the disadvantages of both car and motorcycle and none of the benefits”

    Spot on, always thought same

    Disclosure: for me bikes are high speed adrenaline fuelled calculated risk & reward (like Guy Martin) GPz, ZZR… – 100mph is not fast

  22. I did the ton on my BMW once, just to say I had done it. The bike didn’t care. A hundred didn’t feel any different than 90, which doesn’t feel any different than 80.

    I usually get up to 90 when I ride, but not much of an event.

    “100mph is not fast”

    True, but I don’t do it. Might would do it if roads were better. Meaning no chance of deer or dog running out in front of me. Open road with open fields on either side. Not much of that up here in the Piedmont.

    I wish guy Martin would get back into IoM TT.

  23. Multistrada 1100s.

    Kawasaki ad line from mid 70’s – “The most fun you can have with your clothes on”, compared to Honda’s line from the same time “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”.

    Gamecock. Martin was (rightly) scared to death of the Honda SP2 he was supposed to ride at the 2017 TT after it had tried to kill both him and John McGuiness.

    Ian Hutchinson = legend.

  24. I wish guy Martin would get back into IoM TT.

    So do I, but I doubt it. He just doesn’t have that edge necessary. He’s good – very good, but not a Michael Dunlop, which is why he will probably die in his bed.

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