I want to switch to two wheels. What moped licence do I need?

moped licence

Our reader lives in the London low emissions zone and wants to stop using their car for a short but awkward daily commute, taking a scooter instead. The moped licence needed in the UK depends on the size of bike you want to ride and when you passed your driving test.

What is a moped?

A moped is classed as a two-wheeler that has a top speed of between 15 and 30mph. You can ride one from the age of 16. Riding a moped needs a minimum Category P on the driving licence.

What moped licence do I need?

This depends on how old you are and when you passed your driving test. If you’re new to holding a licence you must have a provisional driving licence and then complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) to take to the road. As we’re a car site, the vast majority of our readers already have a full driving licence.

Car test passed after February 2001

Drivers will need to undergo CBT if they passed their car test after the above date. They don’t need to retake their theory or practical tests again.

You don’t have to take CBT if you’ve already got a full moped licence from taking a moped test since 1 December 1990 or have a full motorcycle licence for one category and want to upgrade to another.

moped licence
Right licence plus L plates equals the open road (Picture©Wheels to Work)

Car test passed before February 2001

Anyone who passed their car driving test before this date can simply get on a moped and ride it. They don’t need to go through CBT. However, to ride something more powerful that’s classed as a motorbike, they must take the CBT. Passing the CBT enables them to ride a bike up to 125cc with a power output of up to 11kW if you’re 17 or over.

What is Compulsory Basic Training?

This is not a test that you either pass or fail. It’s a training course that ensures you’re safe to ride a moped or small motorbike. Once you’ve passed it, you can ride a moped if you’re 16 or over or a motorbike up to 125cc.

Riding a moped or small bike without a valid CBT can result in a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points on the licence.

Where do you take the CBT and how much is it?

You book CBT with a motorcycle training school. The courses usually cost between £140 and £170. But if you’ve already done a CBT you can book a course for experienced riders which will cost less because you won’t have to spend time running through the basics.

You should check whether the price you’re paying for the CBT includes the hire of a bike. The price may not include safety equipment such as helmet, boots and gloves either.

You will also be offered a collision damage waiver. This means if you damage the training school’s equipment during the course you won’t have to pay to have it repaired. Collision damage waiver is relatively cheap (less than £20) so it’s worth taking. Watch this helpful video about CBT.