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Minimum ages and rules for learner drivers and riders

 
Different vehicles have different minimum ages, rules and restrictions. Before you learn to drive or ride a new vehicle make sure you know about the rules and restrictions that apply to you.

Before you start to drive, you must:
  • Hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • Make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured




From the beginning of your learning to driver phase, it is important to learn the safe driving because bad habits are tough to break.

Learning safe driving habits from the start will improve the safety of yourself and other road users. Approved driving instructor (ADI) is the one, would have the experience, knowledge and training to teach you properly.

The accompanying driver must be over the age of 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full license for three years. You should always practice your driving with accompanying driver.

As a learner driver you must display 'L' plates ('L' or 'D' plates in Wales) in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.

Minimum age you can take a test

You can take your theory test once your provisional licence becomes valid.

Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday.

So, if you apply for your provisional licence before you are 17 you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.

Disability living allowance

If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday.

Motorcyclists Direct access scheme

Direct access is a scheme which allows a person over the age of 21 to avoid the two year/25 kW restriction by taking a test on a machine of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). A pass allows you to ride any size of bike. Any instruction given on a machine that exceeds the normal learner motorcycle requirement must be supervised at all times by a certified motorcycle instructor who should be in radio contact. Direct access is a scheme which allows a person over the age of 21 to avoid the two year/25 kW restriction by taking a test on a machine of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). A pass allows you to ride any size of bike. You should also wear fluorescent or reflective clothing and follow all other provisional license restrictions.

Accelerated access

Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the two year period where they are restricted to maximum 25 kW (33 bhp) machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kW ( 46.6 bhp). They may practise on bikes over 25 kW (33 bhp) under the same practice conditions for direct access riders. You will revert to learner status while practising (on a motorcycle greater than 25 kW (33 bhp) although test failure will not affect your existing licence.

Mopeds and tractors

If you want to ride a moped you can take your theory test when you are 16, but again you must make sure you have a valid provisional licence.

If you are 16 and already have a provisional licence for an agricultural vehicle or a moped, this will give you provisional entitlement to drive a car when you are 17.

Source - Driving Standard Agency

 
Crown copyright material has been reproduced by permission of the Driving Standards Agency which does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the reproduction.
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