Rules for learner drivers and riders
The minimum age to drive a standard car is 17 and you can not take your car test before your 17 birthday. Before you start out, there are certain rules you must make sure you know. Firstly you have to hold a valid provisional driving licence for the UK (including Northern Ireland). The vehicle you drive must be taxed, insured and roadworthy. Learner drivers must always display ‘L’ plates in a noticeable position on the front and rear of the vehicle.
When your provisional licence is in force, you are allowed to sit your ‘Theory Test’ which is part one of the driving test followed by the ‘Practical Test’.
If you wish to learn and practice your driving, this must be carried out with an accompanying driver that is over 21 years of age and be in possession of a full driving licence held for over 3 years including the relevant vehicle category, for the type of vehicle you are learning to drive in. The best way learn to drive properly without picking up any initial bad habits is to use an ‘approved driving instructor’ (ADI). They are professionally trained and possess the knowledge and experience to teach you correctly. This will help you to be a better and safer driver not only for yourself but other road users as well.
For anyone in receipt of the ‘Disability Living Allowance’ benefit, which is being paid at the higher rate? You can apply for you’re for up to 3 months before your 16th Birthday so that it comes into force on your 16th birthday.
The Direct Access Scheme
There is now a scheme available for any person over the age of 21 to avoid the 2 year/25 kW limitations by passing the appropriate test on a motorbike that is at least 35kW or 46.6 bhp. If passed this allows the rider to use any size of bike. A certified motorcycle instructor must provide the appropriate supervised instruction on a machine that goes beyond the normal learner motorcycle spec. Fluorescent/reflective clothing must be worn and the rest of the provisional licence restrictions must be adhered to.
A further test is needed for any rider the within the 2 year period that have reached the age of 21 and wish to ride a bigger motorcycle. Increasing the restricted maximum of 25kW (33bhp) to a minimum of 35kW (46.6bhp). Note, the rider is allowed to practice on a motorcycle that is over 25kW (33bhp) under the same provisions as a ‘Direct Access’ rider. Within this practice period you are required to return to the same rules as a learner (riding a bike larger than 25kW (33bhp). Be aware that if you fail your test this will not affect your current licence.
The Tractor and Moped
Anyone wishing to ride a moped is allowed to take the theory test at 16 on the understanding that you are in possession of a valid provisional licence. The same licence applies to agricultural vehicles and mopeds. However in order to use the provisional entitlements to drive a car, you must be at least aged 17.