Motorcycle approved training body (ATB) manual

How to set up and run an approved training body (ATB) to provide motorcycle training.

ATBs: the law

Compulsory basic training (CBT) can only be provided by certified instructors working for an ATB.

Your ATB must be authorised in order to provide CBT and direct access scheme (DAS) courses.

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (as amended) set out how CBT and DAS courses must be provided.

The ATB is responsible for all regulated training provided by all instructors registered on their behalf. Instructors found in breach of any conditions imposed could result in the ATB authority being removed.

Apply to register as an ATB

You can read about registering as an ATB.

Rules you have to follow

You’ll have to follow certain rules called the ‘conditions of appointment’.

Changes to your ATB

You should tell DVSA about any changes to your ATB’s details as soon as possible in writing or by email. You should always include your ATB’s number and title.

DVSA compulsory basic training

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street


Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Name or address change

All of your instructors’ certificates will need to be replaced if your ATB changes its name or address.

Your instructors can use their old certificates until they get the replacements. You must then send the old certificates to DVSA.

Stop providing training

You should tell DVSA in writing if your ATB stops providing training.

You’ll need to send the following documents to DVSA:

  • all instructor certificates
  • all DL196 certificates (both used and unused)

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

You’ll get a refund for any unused and unspoilt certificates when you’ve sent all the documents back.

It’s likely that future applications to become an ATB will be affected if you don’t return all of these documents to DVSA.

Certified instructor authorisation

You can authorise people to conduct CBT courses on your behalf. They must:

  • be aged 21 or over
  • hold a current full Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence (A2 or A)
  • have held full motorcycle entitlement for at least 3 years - this doesn’t include automatic or category A1 licences but can include an aggregate of A2 and A
  • be considered a ‘fit and proper’ person

You must send the application on behalf of the instructor.

Instructors can only provide instruction in the category for which they hold a full licence.

All instructors must tell DVSA, in writing or by email, of any offences (both motoring and non-motoring) within 7 days of the date of conviction.


Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

The CBT Register Manager will then consider whether or not they are suitable to remain as certified instructors.

Levels of certified instructors

There are 3 levels of certified instructors:

  • down-trained instructor
  • DVSA assessed instructor
  • direct access scheme (DAS) instructor

Down-trained instructor

Down-trained instructors must be trained by a DVSA assessed instructor within the ATB. If successful, DVSA will issue a CBT1 certificate of authority which lets them provide CBT courses for your ATB.

DVSA assessed instructor

Your ATB must have at least 1 DVSA assessed instructor who can be responsible for up to 10 down trained instructors.

Your ATB’s authority can be withdrawn if you don’t meet this requirement.

DVSA assessed instructors will have completed a 2-day assessment. If their application is successful, they’ll get a certificate of authority (CBT1C) which lets them:

  • provide CBT courses
  • down-train other potential instructors

Direct access instructor

You must be a DVSA assessed instructor to become a DAS instructor.

DAS instructors have to successfully complete DVSA’s half-day DAS instructor assessment.

If their application is successful, they’ll get a certificate of authority (CBT1D) which lets them:

  • provide CBT courses
  • down-train other potential CBT instructors
  • provide DAS courses

More information about DAS can be found in the ‘DAS training’ section of this guide.

You must send the application on behalf of the instructor. They must meet the eligibility criteria.

Certificates of authority to provide CBT courses

You can authorise instructors to provide CBT courses on your behalf. However, instructors can’t conduct CBT courses on behalf of your ATB until they’ve got a certificate of authority.

You must send the application on behalf of your instructor. They must meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

DVSA aims to process applications within 10 working days. Make sure that you fill in the application forms correctly to avoid delays.

All instructor certificates of authority:

  • are specific to, and the responsibility of, the ATB who sent the application
  • only valid for use by the named instructor when providing CBT and/or DAS courses for the ATB named on the certificate

Instructors must carry their certificate of authority with them at all times when they’re providing CBT or DAS courses. They can be asked to show it to an authorised body, like DVSA staff or police officers.

Instructors who stop providing training

You must send an instructor’s certificate to DVSA to be cancelled if they stop providing CBT or DAS courses on behalf of your ATB.

You should send an instructor’s last known address to DVSA in writing or by email if they leave your ATB without handing in their certificate.

How long certificates last

Motorcycle instructor certificates are valid for 4 years from the date they’re issued. The date they run out on is shown on the front of the certificate.

DVSA aims to send a renewal reminder letter to you before a certificate is going to run out. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure an instructor has a valid certificate.

Please apply in good time before the certificate expiry date, it can take up to 10 working days to process an application.

Renewing certificates

DVSA assessed and DAS instructors have 12 months from the date their certificate runs out or is removed to renew them. You must send a new application and the instructors must take the assessments again if they don’t renew them in time.

Withdrawal of certificates of authority

DVSA can withdraw an instructor’s certificate of authority if:

  • they are in breach of the regulations
  • the quality of their instruction is unsatisfactory
  • they no longer meet the ‘fit and proper’ criteria

Certificates held by the instructor for other ATBs can also be withdrawn, depending on the reason why the first has been withdrawn. DVSA will tell you if they withdraw an instructor’s authority.

Monitor your instructors

You should make sure that each instructor (both DVSA assessed and down-trained) is monitored by a DVSA assessed instructor at least 4 times a year.

You should keep records of:

  • when the monitoring took place
  • what aspects of training were observed

Both the assessor and the instructor being supervised should:

  • be given the opportunity to make written comments
  • sign the record sheet

The record should then be kept for 12 months for inspection.

The records of at least 4 assessments for instructors with 12 months or more experience should always be made available for inspection when required by DVSA.

If you only have 1 DVSA assessed instructor, you can provide reciprocal assessments when needed with other smaller ATBs.

CBT site approval

All sites used for the practical training and riding elements of the CBT course (elements B and C) must be approved by DVSA.

A site can’t be used until it’s been approved.

Apply for site approval

You should download and fill in the application form and send it to DVSA.

The form should be sent to DVSA with a draft plan of the intended site or annotated satellite image.

For reinspection you’ll need to include a draft plan showing any changes to the original authorised site.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

After you send the application

When DVSA gets the completed application:

  1. DVSA’s local CBT manager will arrange an inspection of the site to assess its suitability.
  2. DVSA will send a site report to you and, if the site is suitable, a unique site code.

DVSA aims to consider all applications within 8 weeks of getting your application. This includes the time to inspect the site.

The approval will tell you:

  • the maximum number of trainees allowed on each site for training
  • any other specific conditions for using the site

Planning permission

It’s your responsibility to make sure that the site meets any local planning rules. DVSA won’t get involved in any planning or other disputes about using the site.

Use of a site

All sites should be clear of obstacles and debris while training is taking place.

You should arrange for the site to be secured if vehicles or members of the public can get onto the area.

Any specific conditions set by DVSA on the site approval must be followed.

You should make sure that your instructors are familiar with:

  • the site plan
  • any conditions for the site set by DVSA

The number of trainees for which a site is authorised is the total number allowed on the site. You’re not allowed to have trainees waiting around the side of the site while other trainees are being trained.

Shared sites

If the site is shared with another ATB, it’s your joint responsibility to reach agreement between yourselves and the site owner as to how and when you will have access to the site.

Changes to a site or stopping using one

You should tell DVSA straight away in writing or by email if:

  • a site is no longer used for CBT
  • any changes are made to the area

DVSA will withdraw a site’s approval if it becomes unsuitable for use for any reason.

Provide CBT courses

An ATB is authorised by the Secretary of State for Transport to provide approved CBT and DAS courses, as set out in the regulations and conditions of appointment.

Your authorisation can be withdrawn if you don’t provide CBT courses that follow the regulations.

Pre-course trainee checks

Before a CBT course starts, instructors must check that their trainees have either:

  • a valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland Driving licence with the appropriate entitlement
  • a valid full car licence issued by an EU/EEA member state - a D91 containing motorcycle provisional entitlement and a Great Britain style driver number must support such a licence

The photocard should be shown on arrival.

You or an instructor can be deemed to have aided and abetted a road traffic offence if, during a CBT course, you accompany a learner on-road who doesn’t have the right provisional entitlement.

CBT syllabus

The following are set out in schedule 12 of the Motor Vehicles (Driving licences) Regulations 1999 as amended:

  • the CBT course syllabus
  • the order in which the 5 elements must be provided

You can vary the order in which the headings or exercises within each element are covered. However, each element must be completed in full before the next starts.

All parts of the CBT syllabus must be completed satisfactorily before a CBT DL196 certificate can be given, regardless of whether or not a course has been completed previously.

CBT syllabus and guidance notes

The CBT syllabus and guidance notes build on the 5 elements of approved training to make it easier to understand what’s required in each element. It has 3 sections:

  • what must happen
  • what the learner must know and understand
  • what the learner should be able to do (to show that they’ve reached the required standard)

Element A: introduction

Trainees must be told and understand:

  • the aims of the CBT course
  • the importance of having the right equipment and clothing

You must test the trainee’s eyesight. They must be able to read a number plate in good daylight from a distance of:

  • 20 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate (For example, AB51 ABC)
  • 20.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate

They can do this with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary. They must wear them every time they ride if they need them to meet the ‘standards of vision for driving’.

Element B: practical on-site training

Trainees must have practical on-site training. At the end of it they must:

  • be familiar with the motorcycle, its controls and how it works
  • be able to carry out basic machine checks to a satisfactory standard and be able to take the motorcycle on and off the stand satisfactorily
  • be able to wheel the machine around to the left and right showing proper balance and bring the motorcycle to a controlled halt by braking
  • be able to start and stop the engine satisfactorily

Element C: practical on-site riding

Trainees must do practical on-site riding. At the end of it they must be able to:

  • ride the machine under control in a straight line and bring the machine to a controlled halt
  • ride the machine round a figure of 8 circuit under control
  • ride the machine slowly under control
  • carry out a U-turn manoeuvre satisfactorily
  • bring the machine to a stop under full control as in an emergency
  • carry out controlled braking using both brakes
  • change gear satisfactorily
  • carry out rear observation correctly
  • carry out simulated left and right hand turns correctly using the observation-signal-manoeuvre (OSM) and position-speed-look (PSL) routines

Element D: practical on-road training

Before riding on the road, trainees must be instructed so they understand:

  • the need to be clearly visible to other road users (the use of conspicuity aids)
  • the importance of knowing the legal requirements for riding on the road
  • why motorcyclists are more vulnerable than most road users
  • the need to ride at the correct speed according to road and traffic conditions
  • the importance of knowing The Highway Code
  • the need to ride defensively and anticipate the actions of other road users
  • the need to use rear observation at appropriate times
  • the need to assume the correct road position when riding
  • the need to leave enough space when following another vehicle
  • the need to pay due regard to the effect of varying weather conditions when riding

Trainees must be aware of:

  • the effect on a vehicle of the various types of road surface that can be encountered
  • the dangers of drug and alcohol use
  • the consequences of aggressive attitudes when riding
  • the importance of hazard perception

Element E: practical on road riding

Trainees must do at least 2 hours of on-road riding. They must:

  • come across all of the traffic situations set out below
  • prove their ability to handle each one competently and safely

The traffic situations are:

  • roundabouts
  • junctions
  • pedestrian crossings
  • traffic lights
  • gradients
  • bends
  • obstructions

Your ATB can be excused from any of the traffic situations if it’s impractical because of where your training site is. DVSA will tell you if you’re excused from any of them when you apply for site approval.

Trainees must also repeat the following exercises in normal road conditions:

  • carry out a U-turn manoeuvre satisfactorily
  • bring the machine to a stop under full control as in an emergency

Trainee: instructor ratios

You must comply with the appropriate trainee to instructor ratio for each element. This makes sure that trainees get the right level of training.

Elements A and D

The ratio of trainees to instructors isn’t set in law for elements A and D. However, you should make sure that only a reasonable number of trainees are involved during these sessions.

DVSA will record the following as unsatisfactory instruction:

  • the number of trainees present is adversely affecting their ability to take part and learn
  • the instructor can’t establish if learning has taken place with each individual trainee

Elements B and C

There must be a maximum of 4 trainees to 1 instructor during elements B and C.

You should split more than 4 trainees into groups that meet the ratio. For example, 8 trainees should be split into 2 groups with a separate instructor for each group.

You’re not allowed to combine 2 groups into a single group, like a single group of 8 trainees with 2 instructors.

If a site is authorised for up to 2 trainees, then only 2 trainees should be trained at any one time. You’re not allowed to let trainees watch from within the site or rotate 4 trainees during the same training session.

Element E

There must be a maximum of 2 trainees to 1 instructor during element E.

All trainees must have at least 2 hours of practical on-road training.

The training should be done in separate, distinct groups. You’re not allowed to have 2 instructors accompanying 4 trainees as an overall group of 6.

The instructor must be able to communicate with each trainee by a radio which is not hand held. You don’t have to follow this rule for trainees who are profoundly deaf.

Direct access elements B and C

There must be a maximum of 2 trainees to 1 instructor for elements B and C of CBT for direct access trainees. This applies if one or both of the trainees is using a motorcycle larger than 125cc.

Other training issues


  • have a duty of care to their trainees
  • should keep trainees in visual contact at all times


Instructors and trainees must wear appropriate fluorescent or reflective safety clothing which shows the ATB’s identity.

This must be worn throughout the duration of the CBT course.

Mixing trainees

You mustn’t mix CBT trainees with other motorcycle trainees during on or off road elements. They can’t be ‘tagged on’ to other courses.

Instructors aren’t allowed to carry a third trainee as a pillion passenger to keep within the 2 trainees to 1 instructor ratio.


DVSA encourages instructors to explain and show gear changes during element C for riders of automatic motorcycles and mopeds.

Car to motorcycle training

You mustn’t provide car to motorcycle instruction. The instructor must be on a motorcycle.

Complaints from trainees

One of the common complaints about CBT courses is the lack of clear information about the service being provided.

DVSA recommends that you give these to trainees before you take any payment:

  • terms and conditions
  • pricing policy (including vehicle hire)

Certificates of completion (DL196s)

The trainee must be given a certificate of completion (DL196) when they complete a CBT course successfully. The certificate:

  • validates the provisional entitlement on their licence
  • lets them ride on-road under normal learner conditions

You should:

  • monitor your own stock levels
  • reorder certificates in enough time (you should allow 5 working days from placing your order to it being sent from DVSA)

Not having enough certificates

You mustn’t provide CBT courses if you don’t have enough DL196 certificates to give to successful trainees.

DVSA can withdraw your ATB’s authority if you don’t give a DL196 certificate to trainees when they complete the course successfully.

You can only buy DL196 certificates from DVSA. You’re not allowed to use certificates bought by another ATB.

Order DL196 certificates

You can buy books of 25 DL196 certificates from DVSA. Each book costs £200.

You can order them:

  • online
  • by phone

Books of DL196s are sent with a copy of the original order form. When you get the books, you should make sure that the serial numbers on the book(s) match the numbers on the order form.

DL196 return form

Each book of DL196 certificates has a DL196 return form. You should fill this in and send it to DVSA when all 25 certificates have been issued.

Fill in DL196 certificates

The DL196 certificate should be filled in and signed by the instructor who conducted the on-road training (element E).

The name and address of your ATB should be included on the certificate.

You should make sure that the correct site code is entered on to each DL196 certificate issued.

It isn’t usually necessary to enter information into the category restriction box. However, this may be appropriate when a CBT course is done on:

  • a motorcycle and sidecar combination
  • a moped with more than 2 wheels

In these cases, a description of the vehicle should be written in the category restriction box.

Spoiled DL196 certificates

The DL196 certificate is a legal document. You can amend or alter it if you make a simple error filling it in if:

  • all the information is legible
  • any incorrect entry is crossed out, signed and the correct details clearly written above

Correction fluid mustn’t be used.

Amendments can only be made at the time that the certificate is filled in. This makes sure that all 3 copies have the amendment on it.

DVSA examiners have the right to refuse to conduct a test if they have doubts about an amended DL196 form.

You should give a replacement certificate if errors are discovered at a later date.

Security of DL196 certificates

DL196 certificates are printed in triplicate. The top copy is given to the candidate when they’ve successfully completed the course.

You should keep the other 2 copies for 2 years. After that, they should be destroyed or securely disposed of.

All current and old DL196 certificates held by your ATB must be made available to DVSA on request.

Lost or stolen certificate

You’re responsible for keeping DL196 certificates safe. You must tell the police straight away if any certificates are lost or stolen.

You should also report it to DVSA in writing or by email. You’ll need to give:

  • full details of the circumstances
  • certificate numbers


Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

You must tell DVSA straight away if any certificates reported lost or stolen are recovered or found. If you don’t, it can lead to a candidate’s test being cancelled because the DL196 certificate is still recorded as stolen.

Expiry of DL196 certificates

A DL196 certificate is valid for 2 years from the date it’s issued, except when the certificate validates full moped rights on a full car licence. In this case, the certificate is valid for the life of the driving licence.

Duplicate DL196 certificates

You must give a duplicate of the original DL196 certificate to a trainee if the original is lost or stolen. You can charge them up to £20 for this.

The duplicate should fully mirror the information and details (including the completion date) entered on the original certificate. The instructor issuing the replacement certificate should write on the top of the duplicate: ‘DUPLICATE OF CERT NO. XXXXXXX’.

If the instructor who issued the original certificate isn’t available to sign the duplicate, write their name on the duplicate. This can then be signed by the instructor issuing the certificate.

You can post a duplicate certificate if the trainee is unable to collect it. It must include an instruction for it to be signed when they get it. If this happens, it’s acceptable that the 2 copies of the duplicate that you hold don’t have a candidate’s signature.

If the ATB who issued the original certificate is no longer operating, DVSA can issue a duplicate certificate to a trainee if the certificate books were returned to them when the ATB closed.

Direct access scheme (DAS) training

Riders aged:

  • 19 or over can take their test on a motorcycle of at least 395 cc and between 20 to 35 kW (category A2)
  • 21 or over who have had a full A2 licence for 2 or more years can take their test on a motorcycle of at least 595cc and 40kW
  • 24 or over can take their test on a motorcycle of at least 595cc and 40kW or above 53.6 brake horse power (bhp)

All provisional licence holders training on a motorcycle of over 125cc and 11 kW:

  • are subject to the same restrictions as DAS training
  • can only be trained by a qualified DAS instructor

DAS training

Instructors who want to provide DAS training must take a half-day assessment at DVSA. They must already have successfully completed the 2-day CBT instructor assessment.

You can send an application on behalf of a person who meets the relevant criteria and has successfully completed the assessment.

If their application is successful they will:

  • get a certificate of authority (CBT1D)
  • be allowed to provide DAS and CBT courses
  • be allowed to down-train other potential instructors

Instructors can’t provide DAS courses on behalf of an ATB until they have their certificate of authority.

Direct access ratios and requirements

The maximum ratio is 2 learners to 1 instructor when a DAS trainee is present.

Trainees can progress to riding a large motorcycle at different times.

A DAS instructor can supervise a DAS trainee and 1 other trainee riding a 125cc (or larger) motorcycle.

Instructors should consider the riding ability and experience of the trainees before combining DAS and 125cc training.

Report incidents to DVSA

You must tell DVSA about all incidents which happen during:

  • CBT
  • DAS (on and off road)
  • training at a DVSA multi-purpose test centre

Notifications should be made on the incident report form.

You must fill in the form and send it within 48 hours by email to

Report serious incidents

You or the instructor must tell DVSA straight away about serious incidents.

DVSA Duty Officer

Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Outside of these times you should either:

You must also report serious incidents to the Health and Safety Executive if they:

  • involve hospitalisation
  • result in time off work for 7 days or more

This is to comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

All incidents can be reported online. There’s also a telephone service for reporting fatal and major injuries.

HSE Incident Contact Centre

Only use for reporting fatal and major injuries. Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm.

DVSA monitoring

DVSA is responsible for monitoring and regulating:

  • the standard of instruction given by ATBs
  • instructors delivering CBT courses

DVSA needs to make sure that:

  • the courses comply with regulations
  • the safety of trainees is protected

Standards Check

The DVSA CBT management team regularly attend and monitor CBT courses. You’re responsible for making sure each instructor takes a standards check when required. You and the instructor could have your authorisation removed if you don’t.

DVSA can conduct unannounced visits and more than 1 member of the team can visit your ATB.

Your local DVSA CBT Manager will contact you from time to time to find out when you’ll be running CBT courses. You’ll need to give this information. Email is preferred, but a fax or phone call is also allowed.

Training that meets the standard

You’ll get confirmation if the training monitored meets the required standard.

Training that doesn’t meet the standard

DVSA will usually do another assessment if either:

  • the training falls short of the required standard
  • DVSA’s member of staff reports breaches of regulations or failure to follow the conditions of appointment

The CBT Register Manager will consider withdrawing an instructor’s authority to provide courses for you or any other ATB if they don’t meet the required standard during a second or third assessment.

Both you and the instructor will be given 28 days to send your representations.

The CBT Register Manager will then consider these and make a decision. DVSA will write to the instructor and all ATBs with which they have a certificate to tell them the decision.

Unsafe instruction

The CBT Register Manager can withdraw an instructor’s authority after a single assessment if they consider that it’s unsafe to allow them to continue training novice riders.

DVSA will write to both you and the instructor concerned to explain the reasons. They will ask for your representations about why they should stay on the register.

Cancelling your ATB’s authorisation

DVSA can withdraw your ATB’s authorisation to provide CBT courses using evidence from assessments showing that you can’t consistently provide full and proper CBT courses.

DVSA will write to you to explain the reasons and ask for your representations as to why you should stay on the register.

You’ll be given 28 days to send your representations. The CBT Register Manager will then consider these and make their decision. DVSA will then write to you to tell you the decision.

Appeal a decision

There is no legal right of appeal, but you or an instructor can ask DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner to independently review the case.

ATB and motorcycle instructor appeals

Chief Driving Examiner
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street



You should make sure that any training machines supplied for the on-road element of the course comply with all legal requirements, including things like vehicle tax, MOT and insurance.

Only disabled riders are usually allowed to take their test on a motor-tricycle or motorcycle with side car.

However, some 3-wheeled machines are classed as mopeds or motorcycles if they:

  • have a distance of less than 460mm between the 2 wheels ( taken from the centre of the part of the wheel in contact with the road)
  • meet all other rules for mopeds/ motorcycles used for tests

They can be used for both CBT and riding tests.

Three-wheeled motorcycles might have a device or locking system to stop them from leaning or tilting. This must be in the unlocked position for the manual handling exercise.

You can get more advice about the suitability of these vehicles for CBT and the practical motorcycle test from DVSA.

DVSA Technical Support Team

Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Any vehicle meeting the definition of a ‘moped’ can be driven or ridden on a category ‘P’ or the new category ‘AM ‘driving licence.

Motorcycle and sidecar combinations and motor-tricycles

Learners with a disability can ride:

  • motorcycle and sidecar combinations
  • motor-tricycles

In these cases the DL196 is restricted to riding that type of vehicle.

Dipped headlights

Candidates should use dipped headlights or daytime running lights during CBT and DAS courses.


By law, speedometers in the UK must show the speed in either:

  • miles per hour (mph) and kilometres per hour (km/h)
  • mph only

Motorcycles with speedometers in km/h only can be converted but must show the speed in mph. You can’t use an overlay on the outer glass of the speedometer.

Trade plates

Trade plates on motorcycles aren’t allowed while training is taking place.

Driving licences and restrictions

You can download a flowchart, which gives step-by-step instructions on how to get a moped or motorbike licence.

The candidate is responsible for bringing the right machine to their practical test for the licence category they want to get.

Category AM: moped

A learner rider can apply for their provisional driving licence up to 8 weeks before their 16th birthday. However, it:

  • won’t become valid until the date of their 16th birthday.
  • is only applicable for category ‘AM’ (moped)

A moped is a vehicle that has:

  • fewer than 4 wheels
  • a top design speed of no more than 45 km/h
  • a maximum power of 4 Kilowatts (kW)

Anyone who passed their car driving test (category B) before 1 February 2001:

  • has full moped entitlement (category P/AM)
  • doesn’t need to take a CBT course to ride a moped

Anyone who passed their car driving test (category B) after 1 February 2001 has to take a CBT course to validate their moped rights (category P/AM). They can then:

  • ride a moped without L-plates
  • carry pillion passengers

If a car driving test is passed during the 2-year life of a DL196 certificate, the full category AM rights are confirmed. In these cases:

  • the ‘L’ plates can be removed
  • the rider can carry pillion passengers
  • the DL196 certificate is valid for the life of the driving licence

The moped category AM replaced category P from 19 January 2013. Drivers who had a full category P licence before this date will keep this category on their licence.

Sub-category A1: light motorcycle

Riders who pass a practical test taken on a machine of 120 to 125cc/11 kW will:

  • get an A1 light motorcycle licence
  • be restricted to machines of 125cc or below

Category A2

Riders who pass a practical test taken on a machine of at least 395cc with a power output between 25 and 35 kW (33bhp and 46.6 bhp) will get an A2 motorcycle licence.

Category A

Riders who pass the test on a machine of at least 595cc with a power output of at least 40 kW (53.6bhp) will get a full category A licence.

EU Third Directive

The new EU progressive access rules impose minimum ages on people under the age of 24 years who want to ride more powerful motorcycles. These younger riders can qualify and get experience riding a less powerful machine.

Progressive access route

Under the progressive access route, riders will be able to access the largest motorcycle (category A) at age 21 if they’ve had a full A2 licence for at least 2 years.

The candidate doesn’t have to take a theory test each time they step up to the next category, as long as they’ve had the lower category for at least 2 years.


If a candidate has had a full A1 for at least 2 years, they can take the practical modules for A2 without taking another theory test first.

Direct access route

Riders can take a direct access route to A2 and A where they meet the minimum age requirement for that category.

A learner aged 19 years or over and who wants to get a full licence to ride medium-sized machines (category A2) can do so by:

  • successfully completing CBT
  • passing the theory and practical tests

A learner aged 24 years or over can get a licence for the largest machines (category A) by:

  • successfully completing CBT
  • passing the theory and practical tests

A valid motorcycle theory test pass certificate, less than 2 years old, can be used for any motorcycle practical test which the candidate is eligible to take.

A candidate who has successfully completed CBT and got a full licence for a lower category (for example, A1) will be covered for the CBT requirements of the next categories.

Photocard licences

It’s your responsibility to check the identity of people attending CBT courses.

DVSA recommends that you should always check that the photos on photocard driving licences are valid.

If the photo has expired or is about to expire, you should tell the trainee that they:

  • will need to renew their licence with DVLA straight away
  • should ideally do this before applying for the theory or practical tests

Although old-style paper licences are still valid for a CBT course (provided that the category A entitlement is still current), DVSA recommends that the trainee should be asked to bring a valid passport to check their identity.

Foreign licences


Full car licences issued within the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) are valid until the age of 70 in Great Britain provided they are current. They don’t give provisional motorcycle entitlement (with the exception of Northern Ireland).

Full car licences from countries within the EU/EEA can be used as provisional motorcycle entitlement only if supported by a D91 issued by DVLA.

Applications for a D91 should be made on a D9 form.

The GB driver number should be entered on all DL196 certificates issued to foreign licence holders.

Full car licences from countries outside the EU/EEA don’t give provisional motorcycle entitlement.


A full car licence from an EU/EEA country only gives full moped entitlement in Great Britain if it shows moped as a separate category or entitlement (as Great Britain licences do with category P/AM).

A full car licence holder from an EU/EEA country without moped separately identified has 2 options to get moped entitlement in Great Britain. They can either:

  • get a D91 using a D9 form (the D91 will give provisional moped entitlement and they’ll need to take CBT to validate the entitlement)
  • exchange their licence for a full Great Britain car licence - they’ll have to take CBT to validate the full moped entitlement on it unless they got the moped entitlement with their car test pass before 1 February 2001

Licences issued in Northern Ireland are accepted as equal to Great Britain licences.

Provisional licences issued in other EU/EEA countries (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) are:

  • not valid for use in Great Britain
  • not exchangeable for Great Britain provisional licences

Any person with a foreign provisional licence who wants to drive or ride in Great Britain should apply for a provisional in the normal way.

Business practices

Some ATBs promote their businesses by offering an introductory assessment. These are effectively training before taking a CBT course.

Any introductory assessment given before CBT is only allowed if it:

  • is a stand-alone course
  • doesn’t take place on public roads

Trainees must still take a full CBT course which follows the full statutory syllabus. Items from the CBT syllabus can’t be missed out, even if they’ve been done as part of an introductory lesson.

Register as a trainer booker

You can apply to DVSA to register as a ‘trainer booker’. When you do this:

  • you can book and pay for test slots in advance without giving your pupil’s details until nearer the test date
  • you don’t have to give your payment details each time you book test slots

Use DVSA motorcycle manoeuvring areas (MMAs)

You can use DVSA MMAs to prepare trainees for the motorcycle module 1 test. To do this you must:

  1. Register for the DVSA trainer booking facility.
  2. Accept the MMA user agreement.

You can accept the agreement using the DVSA practical test business service.

Further information

You can buy official DVSA learning materials from The Stationery Office, or from most high street and online book shops.

Speed measuring equipment and cones

You can contact DVSA for information about buying speed measuring equipment or cones used for the off-road element of the motorcycle test.

DVSA Procurement

The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street


Published 13 November 2012
Last updated 17 August 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated the phone number to report a serious incident to the DVSA Duty Officer.
  2. Updated with information about the new motorcycle trainer standards check.
  3. Updated ATB manual 'no longer required to show paper counterpart'
  4. Updated ATB manual to remove the need to send written permission letters with the CBT site application form.
  5. Updated email address where the incident report form needs to be sent. Updated link to new incident report form.
  6. Updated information on motorcycle instructor certificate renewals in paragraph 'How long do certificates last'.
  7. Updated the information about 3-wheeled machines that can be used for CBT and riding tests.
  8. Updated the information about how DVSA monitors the standard of instruction given by ATBs and instructors.
  9. Added more rules for the vehicles used for training.
  10. Updated the time off work needed before incidents are reported to HSE from 3 days or more to 7 days or more, and added information about ordering CBT certificates online.
  11. Updated 'Certified instructor authorisation' section wtih new rules
  12. Updated from PDF guide to web page, and updated following implementation of the EU driving licence third directive
  13. First published.