I f you can’t wait until you are seventeen to get on the road you might want to consider starting on a scooter or motorbike. This is a great way of gaining experience in traffic and in understanding the responsibilities and freedoms that come with owning your own transport.

What you will Need

While learning to ride a motorbike or scooter is exciting, it can also be dangerous. Before you even approach one make sure you have the following:

  • Safety Gear – It is a legal requirement that you wear a certified helmet when riding a scooter or motorbike. When buying one make sure it has no cracks and the visor can be seen out of easily, if you choose a good one now it should last you for years to come. You’ll also need gloves, boots, trousers and a riding jacket. There are many different styles available so shop around for something that suits you and that you feel comfortable in. If buying your gear at the same place as your scooter or motorbike a member of staff should be able to advise you on what you’ll need.
  • Provisional Licence – Just like learning the drive a car, you’ll first need to apply for a provisional driving licence before riding a scooter or motorbike. When applying, make sure you ask for a licence that allows scooters or motorbikes and remember to apply well in advance (3 weeks) of booking your test.
  • Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) – this is something you must take before riding a scooter or motorbike on any public road. The CBT usually involves one day of training and assessment in a one of the training centres located all around the country. The course is designed for absolute beginners and teaches; road safety, scooter/bike controls, manoeuvring and parking and road practice while at the same time monitoring your confidence and ability in these areas.

Age Restrictions

The law relating to what age you can ride what machine can often seem complicated. Basically, at sixteen you can ride a scooter that has an engine size lower than 50cc once you have passed your CBT and while wearing ‘L’ plates at all times. You cannot carry a passenger and must have insurance and a tax disc. At seventeen you can move up to a 125cc engined scooter while wearing ‘L’ plates but still cannot carry a passenger unless you pass your motorcycle test.

At seventeen you can also ride a 125cc motorbike without ‘L’ plates, after completion of the motorcycle test, for two years on a bike that does not exceed 33 brake horse power (bhp). Once you are twenty one you can then take a full motorcycle test on a bike with 47bhp which then permits you to ride any size engine without ‘L’ plates and with a passenger.