Motorcycle driving tests
Taking your motorcycle driving test is just one step in the process to get your full motorcycle driving licence. You can read about the other steps in these documents:
- Taking your Driver Theory Test
- Applying for a Learner Permit
- Completing the Initial Basic Training (IBT) motorcycle course
- Taking your practical driving test
- Applying for your full licence
In Ireland, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) carries out motorcycle driving tests.
The driving test is designed to check if you:
- Know the Rules of the Road
- Have the knowledge and skill to drive competently in line with those rules
- Drive with proper regard for the safety and convenience of other road users
Testing takes place in test centres throughout the country. You can choose your preferred location on your application form and, where possible, the RSA will provide your test in that centre.
You must apply for a driving test if you have been issued with two 2-year learner permits. 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.
If you are a first-time learner permit holder, you can only take a test if you have held the permit for at least 6 months. There are some exemptions to this rule (see below)
Exemptions from the ‘6-month’ rule
You are exempt from the 6-month rule if you:
- Hold a current valid full driving licence from another country for more than six months. (see ‘how to apply’ below for more information on this exemption)
- Have held a permit for the lower category for a minimum of 2 years. For example, you have held a permit for the category ‘A1’ for two years and you wish to apply for a test with a category ‘A2’ vehicle
Applying for the test
You may need to wait several weeks to take your test after applying, so you should apply for your test at least 6 months before your second learner permit is due to expire. You can find out the current wait times for each test centre on rsa.ie.
Testing takes place in test centres throughout the country. You can choose your preferred location on your application form and, where possible, the RSA will provide your test in that centre. The motorcycle driving test is a standard test and all test centres use the same testing procedures. You can see the pass rate for each centre on rsa.ie.
You can now apply and pay for your driving test online.
Preparing for the test
It is 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.
Checklist for the day of your test
You must bring the following documents on the day of your test:
- A vehicle registration certificate and licensing certificate
- Proof of the original power output of your motorcycle (if this is not shown on your registration certificate or licensing certificate)
- If your motorcycle is restricted , you must bring proof of the restriction
- Your current Irish learner permit. The learner permit must:
- Relate to you
- Be in date
- Be for the correct category of vehicle for the test
- Be in the waiting area of the test centre before your test is due to start
- Be insured to drive (there must be a valid, current insurance disc on the vehicle )
- Wear suitable footwear (backless types of footwear are not allowed)
- Have a yellow fluorescent tabard bearing the letter ‘L’ not less than 15 centimetres high in red on a white background in clearly visible positions front and rear when worn over your clothes
- Provide the motorcycle for your test
Your motorcycle must:
- Meet the minimum vehicle requirements for the driving test – these will be set out in your appointment letter and you can also read them on rsa.ie
- Clearly display your motor tax certificate
- Comply with any kW restrictions on your learner permit . You can find information on representative vehicles for motorcycle driving tests (pdf) on rsa.ie
- Be roadworthy and all tyres should have a minimum depth of at least 1mm - the legal thread depth limit for motorcycle tyres in Ireland.
- Be fitted with working and adequate brake and indicator lights
- Be thoroughly cleaned
You can see a detailed checklist for the driving test on rsa.ie.
You should be aware that motorcycles with sidecars attached are not acceptable for use during a driving test in Ireland.
What happens during the test?
When your name is called and you are brought into the examination room, your test officially begins.
The driver tester will begin by asking to see your learner permit and ask you to sign a form stating that the motorcycle is both roadworthy and insured.
You will be asked to produce your Vehicle Registration certificate
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 a number of questions from the Rules of the Road booklet. This will include questions concerning rear observation, road position and skidding.
The examiner will then accompany you to your motorcycle to begin the practical part of your test.
Before you commence the practical test of skills, the examiner will check your technical knowledge of the motorcycle. You will be asked how a technical check on 3 parts of your motorcycle would be performed. This can include, 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) its stand (or side-stand). You will also be asked to move the motorcycle approximately 5 metres forward or backwards with the engine off.
Practical skills test
You will be given clear instructions before your test on the route to take. The driver tester will be following you in a car or motorcycle. In exceptional circumstances, i.e., very heavy traffic congestion, the tester may observe you on foot.
Motorcycle tests will be carried out using radio controls. You will be given the radio equipment and advice on how to use it at the test centre.
You will be assessed in the following situations:
- Moving off
- Riding in traffic
- Riding left-hand circuits
- Riding right-hand circuits
You will also be required to do a U-turn within the width of the road to demonstrate that you have good control of your motorcycle in a confined space.
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.
For more information about your driving test and how you will be assessed, see rsa.ie.
Getting your result
When you return to the test centre, your examiner will bring you back into the examination room to give you the result.
If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes. You should study and correct any mistakes before you sit another driving test.
If you pass your test, 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.
A Certificate of Competency is not a full licence and it does not entitle you to drive on a motorway or to carry a passenger. Your Certificate of Competency is not valid outside of Ireland.
Facilities for motorcyclists with a disability/non-English speakers
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 they 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), your full driving licence will show this. 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 for the test.
You can apply for your driving test to be given 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.
The fee for a motorcycle test – categories A, A2, A1 and AM - is €85.
How to apply
You can apply and pay for your driving test online on rsa.ie. To apply online you will need a credit card (VISA or MasterCard) and a valid e-mail address.
You can download a motorcycle driving test application form (pdf) or get a copy from your local Motor Taxation Office. If you are applying by post, you must send your payment with your completed application form. The payment should be made by cheque, postal order or money order.
You can apply for a test as long as you have learner permit, but the RSA will not schedule a date for your test until you complete your IBT training. Once you complete your Initial Basic Training (IBT) and the RSA receives your certificate of completion from your instructor, the RSA will schedule a test for you. The RSA will contact you when your date has been scheduled.
Holders of foreign licences
To apply for an exemption from the 6-month rule you must forward a current valid original driving licence and a letter of entitlement from the relevant licensing authority in that country to:
Customer Service Manager
Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
You should forward the original licence by registered post.
A letter of entitlement is a copy of your driver record with details of your name, address, date of birth, driver number, date of expiry of licence and class of licence, including details of what the class refers to.
Cancelling your driving test
If 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 lose 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 bottom of the waiting list again at the test centre.
Where to apply