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Saturday, 17 October 2015 00:00

Getting on the Road

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So you want to ride a motorcycle, and you are not sure where to start?

The basic steps are:

  1. Do the driver theory test (
  2. Get your Learner Permit (
  3. Do your Initial Basic Training with an approved instructor (CLICK HERE)
  4. Sit the practical test (

Minimum Age:

There are legal restrictions on what types of vehicle you can drive at what age.

Minimum Age:

Licence Category Description of category from 19 January 2013 Minimum Age
Mopeds and three wheeled vehicles with maximum design speed greater than 25km/h but not greater than 45km/h as well as light quadricycles. 16 years
Motorcycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 125 cubic centimetres, with a power rating not exceeding 11 kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1 kW/kg.Motor tricycles with a power rating not exceeding 15 kW. 16 years
Motorcycles with a power rating not exceeding 35 kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power. 18 years
Motorcycles and Motor tricycles 24 years or 20 with progressive access*


Before applying for a learner permit, you must pass a test of general road safety knowledge and motoring legislation – the driver theory test. It applies to anyone applying for a first learner permit in any vehicle category. To quote the RSA;

The test is designed to check knowledge of topics such as:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Risk perception
  • Eco-driving
  • Hazard awareness
  • Good driving behaviour

Computer-based and easy to use, the theory test is designed for those who have little or no experience of using computers as well as those who do. You can do a practice session on the day before starting on the actual test.

Apply by Phone;

Driver Theory Service:
1890 606 106 (English language)
1890 606 806 (Irish language)
1890 616 216 (text phone – for the hearing-impaired)

Or by post;

PO Box 788

Cost is: €45.


Sample Learner Permit

If you are applying for your first learner permit you must include a theory test certificate along with your learner-permit application. Note that these theory test certs have a ‘lifespan’ of two years from date of issue, so you must apply for the Learner Permit within two years of date of issue of the theory test certificate.

What is a “Learner Permit”?

A learner permit is a licence issued to learner drivers. It enables them to learn to drive and to apply for a driving test at the same time.

The learner permit replaces the old provisional licence, which is no longer issued.

N.B: a Learner Permit is issued for each class of licence – so you need a Class ‘A’ permit for a Class ‘A’ vehicle. Class ‘A1’ permit for a Class ‘A1’ vehicle etc.


From Dec. 6th 2010:

All new first time learner permit holders for motorcycles are required to undertake Initial Basic Training (IBT) with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).

The course is spread over 4 modules. Once this course of lessons is complete the learner permit holder will be issued with a certificate which must be kept with their learner permit.

  • Motorcycle riders must complete the program before driving unsupervised on the road while a learner.
  • Evidence of completing the lessons will be signed off in a learner’s logbook by the Approved Driving Instructor.
  • Evidence of having taken the lessons will have to be presented before taking a driving test.

Click Here for Full details of the Initial Basic Training


The RSA has a written a very good article on their own website about the test – it’s here;

The test fee is now €75!!!

So it only makes sense that if at all possible – you only have to do this once!

As with anything these days, there are some terms and conditions:


  • The type of learner permit you hold dictates what, if any, power restrictions are in place as you learn
  • Since January 19th 2013, Learner permits will have restrictions as outlined in the table above.
  • Learner Permits Licences issued prior to January 2013 generally have a restriction limiting the power of the motorcycle to 25kW or 0.16 kW/kg. (This was the cause of much confusion and the subject of a MAG Ireland 25kW Information sheet)
  • S.I. 537/2006 states that a person who holds a learner permit in:
    • Vehicle categories AM, A1, A2 and A (motorcycles/mopeds) is not permitted to carry a passenger.
    • Any vehicle category is not allowed to carry any passenger for reward (which may imply you cannot work as a courier or pizza delivery for example.)

Vehicles in categories AM, A1, A2 and A (motorcycles and mopeds) must also display L plates at all times. L-tabardThe plates must be displayed on a yellow fluorescent tabard worn over the person’s outside clothing. The letter L should be at least 15cm high and appear as red on a white background and in clearly visible vertical positions to the front and rear of the person’s body.



A number of penal offenses have been introduced for learner drivers. These include not displaying ‘L’ plates when driving, and the carrying of a passenger by a learner motorcyclist. These offenses are punishable by a minimum €1,000 fine for a first offense.

The 6 month wait for a test:

If you are granted a learner permit for vehicles in category A, A2, A1, or AM, and have not held a learner permit in the five-year period prior to the granting of a permit in any of these categories you cannot sit a driving test within six months of your permit coming into force, although you may apply for a test within this period. The code 991 will be printed on your license opposite the vehicle category in the column headed ‘restrictions/information.’

Source: MAGIreland

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