Motorbikes on the Road

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Motorbikes on the Road

There are a number of issues you should be aware of before you take a motorbike out on the open road for the first time, including driving licence specification, motorbike MOT, and motorbike road safety.

Motorcycle licences

First of all you should be aware that you must first complete Compulsory Basic Training (a CBT) before you can ride a moped or motorcycle on the road and once this is completed you can take your motorcycle driving test. While learning you can only drive motorcycles with an engine size of up to 125cc and a power output of 11kw (14.6bhp), and can only take to the road under the supervision of an approved instructor. In addition you cannot carry a passenger until you have a full motorcycle licence.

There are currently two types of motorcycle licences available in the UK – the A1 light motorcycle licence and the standard category A motorcycle licence. To gain a full A1 light motorcycle licence you must complete Compulsory Basic Training, and then pass a theory test followed by a practical test on a vehicle between 75cc and 125cc. A full A1 licence permits you to ride any motorbike up to 125cc and a power output of up to 11kw (14.6 bhp) without ‘L’ plates, carry pillion passengers and use motorways.

If you want a full standard category A licence you must complete CBT and then pass a theory test followed by a practical test on a motorcycle of over 120cc but not larger than 125cc and capable of at least 100kph. A full standard category A licence allows you to ride any motorcycle with a power output of up to 25kw (33bhp) without ‘L’ plates, carry pillion passengers and use motorways. After two years you may ride any size motorcycle.

Some people prefer to ride a moped instead of a motorcycle. A moped is a motorbike that cannot go faster than 50km/h, does not have an engine over 50cc and can be moved by pedals.

Motorcycle safety

In 2004 motorcycles represented 1% of road traffic in the UK but motorcyclists accounted for 17% of all road fatalities –that’s some 585 motorcyclists killed and 6,063 more seriously injured.

For this reason, it is important that motorcyclists take great care when they are out on the road. They should wear protective clothing such as leathers and a fluorescent coloured jacket. Also, you should never ride a motorcycle without a helmet – this could mean the difference between life and death if involved in an accident.

In addition, car drivers should take extra care to help prevent accidents involving motorbikes. This means checking mirrors regularly and giving motorcycles room to pass in slow moving traffic.

Motorcycle MOT test

Just like a car or van, a motorcycle must pass an annual MOT test after reaching three years of age. During an MOT test a number of elements are checked, including the lights, indicators and reflectors, steering and suspension, exhaust system, wheel alignment, wheels and tyres, brakes, frame, and even the horn. It is illegal to drive a motorcycle without a valid MOT certificate.

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