Promoting, Protecting and Expanding the Motorcycle Industry

3DLD (Third Driving Licence Directive)


The new Driving Licence Directive 3DLD will be implemented from the 19th January 2013, which will affect both members of the public and the motorcycle industry. This is not retrospective, so anyone currently holding a licence will not be affected, but it will impact the ages at which future young riders can access certain machines and motorcycle trainers may need to purchase new vehicles to meet the new minimum test vehicle specifications.

3DLD is European legislation, aimed to encourage those who begin motorcycling at 16 to take a series of tests as they progress to bigger bikes and also to delay the age at which young riders can access larger bikes.

 As well as changes which come into force in January, additional specifications to test vehicles were scheduled to be implemented on 31st December 2013, although a recent announcement by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) have secured a postponement for those affecting category A tests until 2018.

However, a change to the A2 test is still due to be introduced December 31st 2013, reducing the minimum testing vehicle from 25 kW to 20 kW, which may be preferable to some riders. 

In 2018 (subject to EU approval) there is a proposed increase in the size of bikes for category A tests – raised to a minimum of 50 kW (67.1 BHP) and with a minimum mass weight of 180kg. It is currently 35kW (46.6BHP) but rises to one of at least 40kW (53.6 BHP) from January 19th 2013.

 The changes to the category A test were originally due to come into force at the end of December 2013, but these were not supported by the Department for Transport (DfT), DSA or the motorcycle industry, who have together managed to negotiate a five year delay.

 The main 3DLD changes, as advised below, are unaffected by all this and these will come into force on January 19th 2013.

 In brief the agreed changes to be introduced 19th January 2013 are:


  • Mopeds must not be faster than 28 mph (or 50 km/h) but as all new mopeds already comply with this it should not be a problem.
  • 17 year olds will no longer be able to access bikes in the A2 category; minimum age rises to 19.
  • 19 year olds will no longer be able to ride unrestricted bikes.
  • It will no longer be possible to automatically move to an unrestricted bike two years from taking an A2 license - without first taking a practical test.
  • The new A2 category now includes bigger bikes, which may define a new ‘mid’ market for manufacturers.
  • The new minimum age for Direct Access rises from 21 to 24.
  • The minimum and maximum power output for testing vehicles changes for the practical A2 and A tests.


Additional changes, which come into force in Dec 2013:

  1. Minimum test vehicle for category A2 licence (mid-range) expands to include bikes between 20 - 35kW (26.8 - 46.6 BHP).
  2. Additional changes, due to come into force in 2018 (subject to EU approval).
  3. Minimum testing vehicle for category A license (unrestricted) rises to at least 50 kW (67.1 BHP) and with a minimum mass weight of 180kg.