Motorcycling in London

BikeSafe-London and ScooterSafe-London

Sign up for a BikeSafe and ScooterSafe-London rider skills day to boost your biking ability and improve your safety on the road. Run in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service, these courses offer expert advice, including an observed ride on urban and rural roads with police motorcyclists. They will offer guidance on everything from choosing the right gear and spotting hazards to making yourself visible.

These courses have already helped thousands of riders to improve their riding skills and confidence, helping to reduce motorcycle casualties on London's roads.

This one-day course costs £45. Free places are available through some London businesses and boroughs. For more information and to sign up, email with the subject 'TFLWEB'.

Further training

There are number of further training courses available to suit different abilities, but each is designed to make you a better, safer and more efficient rider.

DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme
A scheme to test your motorcycle riding skills and provide training to help you improve.

Institute of Advanced Motorists
IAM offers a number of courses, including Skill for Life for advanced riding, which is quality-assured by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

RoSPA Advanced Motorcycle Training
Theory and practical instruction for responsible riding, which leads to RoSPA's nationally recognised Advanced Riding Test.

Accredited training providers

Anyone wishing to ride a motorcycle must pass their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), which can only be provided by certified instructors working for a DVSA-approved training body (ATB).

All CBTs are required to include a classroom-based theory element, and a minimum of two hours' on-road riding at a maximum of two riders per trainer. All certified ATBs should offer this as standard, ensuring you will have the basic skills to ride on the road.

The Motorcycle Industry Accreditation Centre (MCIAC) offers an additional level of accreditation for ATBs to highlight those that offer the highest standards of training and service. MCIAC Accredited ATBs are available in London, and can be found on the MCIAC website.

Motorcycles in bus lanes

As a motorcyclist you can use:

  • All bus lanes on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN, also known as 'red routes')
  • Some bus lanes on other roads. Be aware that each London borough has its own rules about using bus lanes, so check the sign at the start of each bus lane.

More information and maps for using motorcycles in bus lanes

Motorcycle licensing

In order to ride a motorcycle or scooter of any type, you must first obtain a provisional licence and complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course (see Accredited training providers above). If you are 17 or over, this will allow you to ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc with 'L' plates, for a maximum of two years. If you are 16, then you can only ride a moped with a maximum speed of 45kph.

There are then several licence categories for different types of motorcycles. Before you take your practical licence test, you must first have a valid CBT certificate and pass your motorcycle theory test. Licence types include:

  • Category AM - Moped with a maximum speed of 28mph (45kph). Minimum age 16
  • Category A1 - Any motorcycle up to 125cc. Minimum age 17
  • Category A2 - Any motorcycle with power output up to 35kW. Minimum age 19
  • Category A - Any motorcycle. Minimum age 24 under the direct access route to passing. Minimum age 21 under the progressive access route, which requires two years' prior experience on an A2 licence

More information about motorcycle licencing

Hazard awareness

As a motorcyclist you are more at risk than other road users. Here are the top five motorcycle collision types on London's roads, as well as some things to consider to help keep yourself safe:

1. Other vehicles turning across the motorcycle's path (including across bus lanes) into side roads
Be aware of other vehicles at junctions. Have they seen you? Do you need to adjust your positioning or speed on approach?

2. Motorcyclist losing control
Think about your speed. Can you stop quickly if you need to?

3. Other vehicles disobeying red lights
You have a green light - but is it safe to go?

4. Vehicle does a U-turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle
Are you wearing enough, and appropriate, protective clothing?

5. Vehicle turning right while motorcycle is overtaking (including filtering)
When filtering or overtaking, are other road users aware of you?

Motorcycle Safety Action Plan

The Motorcycle Safety Action Plan details how we are working towards roads free from death and serious injury. It was developed in collaboration with motorcycle stakeholders and representative organisations, and has been tailored to meet the specific needs and key challenges for motorcyclist safety. The Motorcycle Safety Action Plan has been designed to:

  • Reduce speed-related collisions
  • Reduce right-turning vehicle collisions
  • Increase compliance with the rules of the road
  • Increase the use of PPE to prevent or reduce injury severity
  • Improve motorcyclist skill and riding behaviour
  • Be delivered in partnership

For more information, read the Motorcycle Safety Action Plan (under 'Progress reports').

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