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This note explains the law related to motorcycle rider licensing, including the changes introduced in the UK by virtue of European Directives.

It is illegal to drive a motorcycle in the UK without holding a valid licence. Licence entitlements vary depending on when they were obtained and the type of vehicle you wish to drive. General information on motorcycle licensing, including application procedures, can be found on the website.

Legislation in this area derives from EU law. The collected European Driving Licence Directives require Member States to provide common standards of competence and fitness to drive. The current law applies the Third Directive, agreed in December 2006, which came into force on 19 January 2013.

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