Motorcycle driving tests in Ireland
Driver testing of motorcycles in Ireland is carried out directly by the Road Safety Authority to a standard that complies with the EU Directive on Driving Licences. Testing is conducted out of test centres throughout the country and where possible, your test will be arranged for the centre you nominate on your application form.
A driving test is a compulsory requirement for motorcyclists who have been issued with two 2-year learner permits. It is important to be aware that you may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit for any category of vehicle unless you can show evidence you have applied for a driving test. Since December 2007 you cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit (where you are not changing from a provisional licence to a learner permit).
Since 19 January 2013, changes have been introduced to driver licence categories and to some of the representative vehicles used for driving tests. You can find information on the driver licence categories and the representative vehicles for driving tests (pdf) on the Road Safety Authority's website. Information on how it affects those who already have motorcycle learner permits is available in a motorcycle FAQ (pdf).
From 30 November 2013 changes to the representative vehicles for categories A1, A2 and A for the motorcycle driving test come into effect.
Representative vehicle for the driving test
When you do the driving test you must use a motorcycle that is representative of the category you are being tested for. Since 19 January 2013 the representative vehicle for each category for the driving test is as follows:
|AM||Two-wheeled mechanically propelled vehicle of 50cc or less (4kW for an electric motor) and with maximum speed of between 25km/h and 45 km/h.|
|A1||Category A1 motorcycle (without sidecar) of at least 1,20cc and with maximum speed of at least 90 km/h. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.08kW/kg.|
|A2||Category A2 motorcycle (without sidecar) of at least 395cc and of at least 25kW. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.15kW/kg.|
|A||Motorcycle (without sidecar) of at least 595cc and of at least 40kW. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.25kW/kg.|
From 30 November 2013 the representative vehicle for each category for the driving test is as follows:
|AM||Two-wheeled mechanically propelled vehicle of 50cc or less (4kW or less for an electric motor) and with maximum speed of between 25km/h and 45 km/h.|
|A1||Motorcycle (without sidecar) of between 115cc and 125cc, with maximum speed of at least 90 km/h and maximum power of 11kW. Maximum power/weight ratio is 0.1kW/kg. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.08kW/kg.|
|A2||Motorcycle (without sidecar) of at least 395cc and power between 20kW and 35kW. Maximum power/weight ratio is 0.2kW/k and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.15kW/kg.|
|A||Motorcycle (without sidecar) of at least 595cc and of at least 50kW, unladen weight greater than 175kg. Minimum power/weight ratio for an electric motorcycle is 0.25kW/kg.|
Applying for the test
Waiting times and pass rates vary from county to county so it is advisable to apply for a test about 6 months before your second learner permit is due to expire. The motorcycle driving test is a standard test and all test centres use the same testing procedures. You should be aware that motorcycles with sidecars attached are not acceptable for use during a driving test in Ireland. You can now apply and pay for your driving test online (see "How to apply" below).
Preparing for the test
A driving test is designed to determine that you:
- Know the Rules of the Road
- Possess the knowledge and skill to drive competently in accordance with those rules;
- Drive with proper regard for the safety and convenience of other road users.
Prior to your driving test, you should study the Rules of the Road (pdf), a booklet that is published by the Road Safety Authority and is available in bookshops, priced €5.
It is also a good idea to practice driving as much as possible on all types of roads and in all types of traffic situations. This will improve your driving techniques and build your confidence.
On the day of your test, you should give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the test centre with a few minutes to spare. If your first learner permit was issued since 6 December 2010 you will need to bring your Initial Basic Training (IBT) Certificate of Satisfactory Completion. When your name is called and you are brought into the examination room, your test officially begins.
The examiner will begin by asking to see your licence and ask you to sign a form stating that the motorcycle is both roadworthy and insured. You will also be asked to confirm that safety equipment, (gloves, boots, weather-gear) and in particular the helmet, is properly adjusted. You will then have to answer some random questions from the Rules of the Road. The examiner will then accompany you to your motorcycle to begin the practical side of your test.
Questions on the Rules of the Road will also include a question concerning rear observation, road position, skidding.
Before you commence the practical test of skills, the examiner will check your technical knowledge of your motorcycle. You will be asked how a technical check of 3 parts of your motorcyle would be performed. The list includes, tyres, steering, brakes, chain, reflectors, indicators, lights (including dipping the headlight), oil level and emergency stop switch (if fitted).
You will also be asked to put the machine off and back on it's stand. (Side-stands are acceptable for this purpose). You will also be asked to move the motorcycle approximately 4/5 metres forward or backwards without the engine.
Practical test of skills
You will be given clear instructions before your test on the route to take. If you do not understand something, you should ask the examiner to repeat it. In Ireland, motorcyclists undergoing their practical driving test of skills are not in radio contact throughout the test with the examiner. Instead, the examiner will be following you behind in a car. In exceptional circumstances, i.e., very heavy traffic congestion, the tester may observe you on foot. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test. It may not be as serious as you think and it may not mean you have failed. Motorcycle tests will be carried out using radio controls. Equipment will be provided at the test centre and advice on using the equipment.
You will be assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, driving left-hand circuits of a block and driving right-hand circuits. You will also be required to do a U-turn around the width of the road to demonstrate that you have good control of your motorcycle in a confined space. You may lose points for using a foot to steady the bike. You will then be asked to ride slowly, at "walking pace" for around 50 metres to demonstrate that you have adequate control of your vehicle.
The aspects of your driving that will be assessed include road positioning; overtaking and passing; anticipation and observation; use of signals; progress; speed; compliance with traffic lights, road signs and road markings and proper use of your vehicle controls. At some point during your test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate your hand signals. You can also expect to make a number of left and right turns, encounter a roundabout and stop at traffic lights.
When you return to the test centre, your examiner will bring you back into the examination room to give you the result. If you pass, you will be given a Certificate of Competency, which is valid for 2 years. If you fail to apply for a full licence during this 2 year period, you will have to complete your driving test again. If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes, which you should study and rectify before you sit another driving test.
A Certificate of Competency is not a full licence and it does not entitle you to drive on a motorway or to carry a pillion passenger. Your Certificate of Competency is not valid outside of Ireland.
Facilities for deaf/hard of hearing/non-English speaking motorcyclists
If you have a hearing impairment, you may have an interpreter accompany you for the oral part of the test. Your interpreter may not be your driving instructor and he or she cannot accompany you on the practical part of your test. The tester may show written instructions for this part of the test and display them as appropriate; the tester may also use basic sign language. You should also note that if the vehicle you present for the test is adapted to suit a disability (e.g., it has additional controls), this will be signified via codes on your full driving licence. If you have special needs, you should indicate this on the application form for your driving test so that any necessary arrangements will be in place when you attend for your test.
It is possible to apply for your driving test to be conducted through Irish. (You will need to complete the Irish language version of the application form and submit it as normal). If English is not your first language, you may have an interpreter accompany you for the oral part of the test. Again, your interpreter may not be your driving instructor and he or she cannot accompany you on the practical part of the test. The tester may show written instructions for this part of the test and display them as appropriate.
There are a number of things you need to do in preparation for your motorcycle driving test and a number of legal requirements you must comply with.
- It is very important to check in advance that your motorcycle complies with any Kw restrictions on your learner permit before you attend for your test. If your motorcycle does not comply with restrictions, you cannot complete the test. See information on representative vehicles for motorcycle driving tests above.
- Current motor tax certificate must be displayed on your motorcycle or in your possession when you present for the test.
- The vehicle should be roadworthy and all tyres should have a minimum depth of at least 1mm - the legal thread depth limit for motorcycle tyres in Ireland. (Note vehicle tyre tread depths in Ireland are set down in law in SI 358/1991)
- Motorcycle must comply with regulations about lighting of motorcycles.
- Indicators and brake lights should be in perfect working order.
- The exterior of your motorcycle should be clean.
The appropriate fee for the category of test must accompany your driving test application. The fee since February 2011 is €85.
Payment should be made by cheque, postal order or money order. These should be crossed and made payable to the Road Safety Authority. Fees are non-refundable.
How to apply
You can apply and pay for your driving test online here. You will require a credit card to do so - VISA or Mastercard. You also need to have a valid e-mail address. Alternatively, you can download a motorcycle driving test application form (pdf) here, or obtain a copy from your local Motor Taxation Office. The correct fee must accompany your completed application form.
Cancelling your driving test
If for some reason you are unable to sit your driving test on the day you are given, you may cancel this test but you will have to re-apply again. You will not forfeit your test fee if you give at least 10 days notice and if you haven't previously cancelled more than one driving test appointment on this application. Cancelling your driving test will mean that you go back to the end of the waiting list again at the test centre.