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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 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  4. Sit the practical test (

Minimum Age:
There are legal restrictions on what types of vehicle you can drive at what 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 & Motor tricycles 24 years or 20 with progressive access*

* Progressive Access means upgrading from an existing entitlement to the next available level.



Step 1: The  Driver Theory Test

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.

Step 2:  Getting your Learner Permit.
Sample Learner Permit

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.

Step 3: Initial Basic Training (I.B.T.)

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

Step 4: The Practical Test

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

The test fee is now  €85
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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