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3DLD – Riders do not need to take a series of tests

5th December 2012

Misinterpretations surrounding new European guidelines for driving licences, which come into force on 19th January 2013, seem to centre on the assumption that a series of tests will need to be taken. This is not the case.  

The main changes are:

  • Delaying Direct Access for 3 years – up from 21 to 24 and
  • Taking away the automatic right to ride unrestricted bikes for those who’ve had an A2 licence for two years. 

No one needs to take a series of tests.  You can choose which licence suits you according to age and what you can afford to ride.  Also, the expanded A2 category opens up choice for riders aged 19 plus, who may well be satisfied for longer on medium sized machines.


Most of the changes are centred on testing vehicles, which does not affect riders, as they generally take their tests on an appropriate bike provided by a trainer.

Karen Cole, Director of Training and Safety explained the UK did not support these changes, but in reality they will not have a dramatic affect on riders:  ‘Presumably the logic behind these rules is to encourage younger riders to move up to bigger bikes in stages, but there is no legal obligation to do so.  As the majority of riders come into motorcycling through Direct Access, it mostly affects younger riders who were hoping to move to unrestricted machines by the age of 19.  These are a very small group statistically but under the new A2 category 19 year olds can access some pretty exciting bikes’.


Licence by age:

16 +         Moped (AM Licence)
17 +         125 cc (A1 Licence)
19 +         Medium sized bike  (A2 Licence)
21 +         Any bike of choice   (A2 Licence + 2 years experience + test)
24 +         Any bike of choice   (A Licence)

This legislation will be introduced under the Third Driving Licence Directive (3DLD), which will be imposed across Europe.  It is not retrospective, so anyone currently holding a licence will not be affected.

If you require further comment or would like the MCI to check any articles for technical accuracy before publishing please contact Stevie Muir who can be reached at press@mcia.co.uk or on 07989 378597

                                                                                          
Local dealers can provide information about which bikes can be ridden according to age and licence category.

There is more information about 3DLD in the Campaigns section on the MCI website.   See ‘downloads’ for a comprehensive guide to the changes, including a simple reproducible flow chart  - devised by the MCI and Get On.



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Routes to Licence from Jan 2013
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