One of our most frequently asked questions is can you ride a 125cc on the motorway. Here we run through the ins and outs of what you can and can’t do if you’re a bike rider.
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Can you ride a 125cc on the motorway with a CBT and full bike licence?
You can ride a 125cc on a motorway but you must hold a full bike licence. That means you’ve taken and passed your test.
You can ride a 125cc motorcycle with a car licence. But to do so, completing your Compulsory Basic Training (commonly called CBT) is a legal requirement. Your bike must also have L plates on it to warn other road users that you are still undergoing your basic training. The latter means that, as the signs suggest when you join an M-way, you shouldn’t take your 125cc on a motorway.
You can’t ride any bike on the motorway that’s got an engine smaller than a 125 motorcycle. It would be too slow and potentially dangerous.
What is the full bike test?
To get a full bike licence, you need to take a theory test and two practical tests. You take the theory test first. Once you’ve passed that, you can take the other two parts. Module 1 is an off-road riding test. Rather than driving through fields and puddles as the name might suggest, this is done on private land somewhere. It includes a slalom and figure of eight, doing a U turn and basics such as putting the bike on its stand.
Module 2 features road riding and an independent ride as well as the instructor asking ‘show me, tell me’ questions and an eyesight test, both of which are similar to those in a car test. You must have passed Module 1 before you can take Module 2.
You can book your full bike test on the GOV.UK website.
What is the A1 and A2 motorcycle licence?
As with a car, you need to have a driving licence to ride a motorbike. Unlike with a car, there are different classes of licence depending on the bike. The A1 licence category enables you to ride a bike up to 125cc or 11kW of power. You can qualify for it once you’re older than 17 years and have passed the CBT plus theory and practical tests.
The A2 Iicence allows you to ride a bike with power up to 35kW, or a power-to-weight ratio of 0.2kW per kg. You must be more than 19 years old and as with the A1 licence, have passed the CBT plus theory and practical tests.
The A category is open to riders who’re older than 24 years. It enables you to ride bikes with unrestricted power. You can progress to this at 21 if you’ve held your A2 licence for two years.
If you’ve just got an AM category of licence, you can only ride mopeds – usually 50cc scooters – that will do up to 28mph. You need to be at least 16 and have a valid CBT and pass theory and practical tests.
Of course, getting all of the above requires increased levels of training and therefore funds.
Can learners drive on the motorway?
If you’re learning to ride a motorbike you can’t take it on the motorway. You must hold a full bike licence which means you’ll have passed your test.
It’s quite different for car drivers. Learners can use the motorway in a car. There was a change to the law in 2018 to make drivers better prepared for life on the road. But for a learner to legally take to the motorway, they must be accompanied by an approved driving instructor (ADI) and be in a car with dual controls.
But similar to motorbikes, car drivers who hold a provisional driving licence (ie. they haven’t passed their test) are not permitted to use a motorway in normal circumstances. They can’t drive on a motorway accompanied by an experienced, qualified driver either; it must be an ADI.
How much does the motorbike test cost?
The theory part of the test costs £23. Module 1 is £15.50 and Module 2 is £75 (or £88.50 if you do it on a weekend). But of course before you can take these, you have to undergo extensive training.
Can you ride a 125cc on a dual carriageway?
Multi-lane roads that aren’t classified as motorways are called dual carriageways. Learners can drive on these and will even be taken on them during their driving test. However, they must be accompanied by an experienced driver.
If you’re riding a 125cc on L plates and with a CBT, you can take it on a dual carriageway. It’s worth remembering that the national speed limit applies on dual carriageways and motorways (70mph) unless it’s stated otherwise through signposts.
What bikes can I ride with my CBT?
If you’re 16 or over and you’ve passed your CBT, you can ride a 50cc moped. Once you’re 17 or over, with your CBT safely tucked away, you can ride a motorcycle up to 125cc. But you must take your full test within two years or either stop riding or retake your CBT.
If you haven’t taken the CBT, you cannot legally ride a motorbike.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.