Amending the 3DLD Licence

learner1January 2013 saw the introduction of a 3rd European Driving Licence Directive (3DLD).

The EU rules introduced amongst other changes were measures claiming to make motorcycling safer as it would ensure that motorcyclists would gain access to more powerful motorcycles by means of experience and/or age.

The directive imposed licence categories of minimum ages, especially on younger riders, of a regime of progressive access and direct access tests.

The minimum age requirements introduced in the UK for each category were:

Moped (category AM) – 16 years

Small motorcycle (category A1) – 17 years

Medium sized motorcycle (category A2) – 19 years

Large motorcycle (category A) – 24 years

Under the progressive access route, motorcyclists are obliged to qualify and gain a minimum of two years’ experience riding a less powerful machine before they can take a test for a higher category of motorcycle The period of two years’ experience will start from the date the rider receives a full licence entitlement for the lower category.

Also riders will be able to access the largest motorcycle, category A, at age 21, provided they have held the full A2 for a minimum of 2 years: they would have to pass a full Category A Motorcycle Test.

Within the directive there is a difference in the motorcycle that riders must train on and the bike they can ride after their test.

Gearing up towards the introduction of the 3DLD, trainers had to make sure that the motorcycles that they were using to train people, were the right engine size and power.

For example for A2 motorcycles:

  • cubic capacity of at least 395cc
  • engine power of at least 25kW (33bhp) not exceeding 35kW (46.6bhp)
  • power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW/kg not derived from a vehicle more than double its power

However like a kick in the teeth, the European Commission had waiting in the wings an amending directive, which would have meant (if it was enacted) would have introduced by December 2013, (barely a year after the introduction of the directive) changes to the rules for what motorcycles riders could use to take the test on for an A2 and A licence category.

These changes were designed to simplify the minimum standards that motorcycles must comply with when used for a motorcycle driving test by broadening the scope of machine that can be used.

But more significantly instructors and training schools would need to purchase new motorcycles for riders to train on.

Recognising that trainers need to live and eat, any extra costs would have had to be added to training charges.

Both in Northern Ireland and GB a government consultation sought the views of riders and trainers.

The outcome for instructors and training schools was that motorcycles that are currently used for tests are acceptable at the moment and they will remain so beyond the 1st February 2014 introduction of the amending directive.

Instructors and training schools will have until 31st December 2018 to have motorcycles they use for training and testing comply with the new rules, after that date their current machines may not be acceptable to use.

Learner riders should see no effects – they simply need to turn up for training and their instructor will have the correct motorcycle for them to learn on. Instructors will not have to change their training bikes until 2018 – five years’ time – when they would probably be changing or have already changed their fleet due to wear and tear.

Is all now well in the world of training and learning?

Three Wheels

trike1Another confusing aspect of the introduction of the 3DLD was that, “Three-wheeled vehicles now fall within the motorcycle rather than the car category for driver licensing purposes, and so provisional licence holders obtaining licences after 19 January 2013 must pass a test on a motorcycle to gain three-wheeled vehicle entitlement.”

When the UK introduced the directive they could have implemented a derogation with the directive which offered Member States the option of allowing drivers who hold a full category B (car) licence to be able to drive three-wheeled vehicles above 15KW power rating, within their own territory, provided that they are at least 21 years of age. The UK did not do this, although other Member States did.

Existing tricycle riders before January 2013 did not lose the category B1 (trikes and quads) entitlement but it is now displayed differently on driving licences issued from 19 January 2013. It will be shown as category B1 and category A (motorcycle licence restricted to tricycles), unless the rider already holds a full A motorcycle licence entitlement.

Basically if you now wanted only to ride/drive a trike e.g. with handle bars or Morgan styled “car” with a steering wheel you would now have to pass a full motorcycle test.

However tests for mopeds with three or four wheels, A1 and A tricycles and sidecar combinations are offered to candidates with a disability.

At Right To Ride we picked up on these and brought them up with our Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), who were already considering them, so a word of thanks for their consideration and inclusion in the consultation.

So cutting a long story short, there has been an overwhelming support to allow drivers who hold a full category B (car) licence to be able to drive three-wheeled vehicles above 15KW power rating, within the UK, provided that they are at least 21 years of age.

Therefore the UK and Northern Ireland are introducing the option of allowing new drivers/riders who hold a full category B (car) licence to be able to drive three-wheeled vehicles above 15KW power rating in the UK as a whole.

In the longer term the UK government will continue to push the EU for the return of three-wheeled vehicles to category B1.

There you have it, probably confusing, possibly as dull as dish water and maybe of little interest to the majority of people, but at Right to Ride we’d like to know that reporting on the technicalities is helpful and allows riders the opportunity of understanding the complexities of legislation that governs us!

We may not be the oracle, but at least we can provide details so that you can make your mind up on stuff that matters to you.

Links & Information

Motorcycle Minimum Test Vehicle Specification- pdf 129kb – Click Here

Consultation On Further European Changes To Driving Licences And Driving Test Requirements – Synopsis of Consultation Responses, Department’s Response and Next Steps – October 2013 – pdf 258kb – Click Here

Our previous report from October 2012 – Click Here

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