Information For Beginner Motorcyclists

Information for Beginner Motorcyclists

Motorcycle Learner Permits and Licences can be a little confusing if you’re new to them.

Before you can ride a Motorcycle on the road the Rider and Motorcycle (& Moped/Scooter) must comply with certain legal requirements. First of all you’ll need to get a Learner Permit.

The Learner Permit

To ride a Motorcycle on the public road you must…

Motorcycle Lessons

  • be at least 18 years old for A Category Motorbike (16 for a Moped/Scooter & A1 Motorcycle category)
  • have a Learner Permit which allows you to ride Motorcycles (category A, A1 or M)
  • must have completed Initial Basic Training or IBT Course

A learner permit holder may NOT…

  • carry a pillion passenger
  • ride without L-plates
  • ride on motorways

How to get a learner permit?

You must first complete the Motorcycle Driver Theory Test for the Licence category you require and then apply for a learner permit.

Until 25 of October 2013 you will need an eye test and proper identification. You may need a medical form in some instances. You can find further information and you can download all the forms you need to apply from the RSA here

From 25 October 2013 Motor Tax Offices will stop accepting new applications for Driving Licences and Learner Permits. They wont be open to the public in the weeks after 25/10/2013 and they will clear any existing backlogs.

From 29/10/2013 all renewals and new licences applications will have to visit a NDLS Office to have a photo and signature taken. This needs to be done only once as subsequent transactions can use the existing photo and signature and phone or postal contact to the NDLS Back Office will suffice.

You can find additional information and locations at


Initial Basic Training Course or IBT Course

Even though you have a Learner Permit you are not permitted to take a Motorcycle or Moped/Scooter onto the public road until you have completed the Initial Basic Training Course (IBT Course) and have a certificate of completion. These regulations came into for in Dec 2010 and were updated again on 19th Jan 2013

Please see our IBT Courses for full details.

Types of Full Motorcycle Licence

New Plastic Drivers LicenceSince  Jan 19th 2013 the changes in EU law mean there are now four types of Full Motorcycle Licences to aim for… (previously there were three)

  • Category Am – Mopeds/Scooters – engine capacity not exceeding 49cc and maximum speed of 45kph. Minimum driving age: 16 years old.
  • Category A1 – Motorcycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 125cc and with a power rating not exceeding 11kW with or without sidecar. Minimum driving age: 16 years old.
  • Category A2 – Motorcycle less than 35kW, a power/weight ratio not greater than 0.2kW/kg and not derived from a vehicle more than double its power. min age 18 years old.
  • Category A – all Motorcycles including those greater than 50kW. Min age 20 having held A2 for 2 years or 24 years of age Direct access.

You can find in depth breakdown of categories on New Licencing Rules and you can find a syllabus for the different requirements for training on IBT Courses

If you pass your Motorcycle Driving Test on an Automatic Motorcycle the full Licence gained will be restricted to Automatic Motorbikes only. This can be lifted with additional ibt courses at a later stage if required


To Ride a Motorcycle or Scooter/Moped in a public road you must have Motorcycle Insurance and Tax

Motor Tax (road tax)

You must display the ‘tax disc’ on the Motorbike. The fee varies with engine size.

The classes are…

  • Not over 75cc
  • Over 76cc up to 200cc
  • Over 201cc up to 9999cc

When you apply to renew your motor tax you must produce…

  • A valid certificate of insurance
  • A motor tax renewal form

Motor Tax for Motorcycles in comparison to cars tax is inexpensive. At the time of writing this the maximum was €82 annually.

Motorcycle Insurance

It’s illegal to ride a Motorcycle on the public road without insurance. Insurance costs depend mostly on your age, the size of the motorbike, the area where you live and your previous riding history – different types are listed below;

Third party is the cheapest and legal minimum type of insurance cover. The ‘third party’ is any person you might injure or property you might damage. YOU are not covered for injury to yourself or damage to your Motorcycle.

Third party fire and theft is the same as third party but it also covers you for your Motorcycle being stolen or damaged by fire.

Comprehensive is the best, but most expensive insurance. Apart from covering other people and property from injury and damage this covers damage to your Motorbike if damaged in an accident. It also covers some personal injury to rider.

The cost of insurance varies with

  • your age – the younger you are, the more it will cost
  • the power and capacity of the engine – the more powerful usually the more expensive
  • where you live – cities tend to be more expensive than rural areas

Engine-size groups for insurance purposes can vary from one insurer to another so it pays to shop around.

Exactly what is and what isn’t insured can also vary from company to company so read the small print and ask your insurer or broker.

The certificate of insurance. This is a short and simple document which certifies

  • Who is insured
  • The type vehicle covered
  • The kind of insurance cover
  • The period of cover
  • The main conditions

Sometimes a broker will give you a temporary certificate or ‘cover note’. This is issued while you’re waiting for your certificate and is proof of insurance.

Keep the certificate safe and produce it

  • If a member of an Garda Siochana ask you
  • When you apply to renew your motor tax

The policy document. This contains the full details of the contract between you and the insurance company. It’s usually written in legal language. Ask your broker or the insurance company to explain any details which you don’t understand.

You can find information on ways of reducing your insurance by getting an insurance assessment and by sitting undertaking the RoSPA Test

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