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Motorcycle any size and motor tricycle - A

Steps to become a motorcyclist - any motorcycle or tricycle.

A category A vehicle is defined as a motorcycle without a sidecar, with a cylinder capacity of at least 595cm3, an unladen mass of more than 175kg., and an engine power of at least 50kW. If the motorcycle is powered by an electric motor, the power to weight ratio of the vehicle shall be at least 0.25kW/kg.

This is an overview of the steps you must take to become a qualified driver in your chosen license category. For more detail on these steps and a personalised guide to becoming a safe, fully qualified driver visit our MyRoadSafety.ie portal.

To learn to drive a category A (any motorcycle or motor tricycle) vehicle in Ireland, you must first prove your identity and your entitlement to a driving licence or learner permit. You should ensure that you have all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and display L-plates in good condition on the front and back of a yellow fluorescent tabard worn over your outer clothing. You should also ensure that your motorcycle or motor tricycle is safe, roadworthy, insured and taxed, and has a valid vehicle registration certificate.

The motorcycle theory test checks your knowledge of topics such as the Rules of the Road, risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness, and safe driving behaviour. The motorcycle theory test is computer-based and user-friendly. When you pass the motorcycle theory test you are issued with a theory test certificate. This is valid for up to two years and enables you to obtain a category A learner permit within that time.

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A category A learner permit allows you to ride any motorcycle or motor tricycle on all public roads, except motorways, for the purposes of learning to ride, and only once you have completed your Initial Basic Training (IBT). A learner permit is required even if you hold a full licence in another vehicle category, e.g. car, van or truck. Motorcyclists with a category A learner permit are not permitted to carry a pillion passenger. 

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All new first-time category A learner permit holders are required to undertake structured learner motorcyclist training, known as Initial Basic Training (IBT). This is a course of 18 hours training with an Approved IBT Instructor covering basic driving and road safety awareness skills.

If you have held a full, valid category A2 (medium-sized motorcycle) for more than two years, have undertaken the appropriate Initial Basic Training (IBT), and want to apply for a category A (any motorcycle or motor tricycle) driving licence by progressive access, you must complete 11 hours of specialised Initial Basic Training (IBT) for higher-powered motorcycles with an Approved IBT Instructor.

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If you have held a full, valid category A2 (medium-sized motorcycle) driving licence for more than two years and have undertaken the appropriate Initial Basic Training (IBT), you may be able to apply for a category A (any motorcycle) driving licence by progressive access. Progressive access allows you to take advantage of your previous riding experience and skills in a lower motorcycle category to acquire a licence in a higher category without taking another driving test. 

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The category A motorcycle driving test checks your knowledge of the Rules of the Road, your ability to drive competently and safely in accordance with those rules and with regard for other road users. The test takes about 60 minutes. It's a combination of questions to test your technical knowledge of your motorcycle, and a practical test of your safety equipment, driving skills and awareness.

If you are applying for a category A (any motorcycle or motor tricycle) driving licence by progressive access, and have successfully completed the mandatory 11 hours of specialized Initial Basic Training (IBT), you can apply for your driving licence without having to take the driving test. 

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When you pass the category A motorcycle driving test you are issued with a certificate of competency. For progressive access, you are issued with a certificate of satisfactory completion of Initial Basic Training. These are valid for up to two years. You must apply for a category A motorcycle driving licence within that time. This allows you to drive on all public roads, including motorways. As a novice motorcyclist, you must display N-plates on the front and back of a yellow fluorescent tabard worn over your outer clothing. 

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Getting your category A motorcycle driving licence is just the first step in becoming a truly safe and competent driver. You should continue to ride your motorcycle carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions. The Road Safety Authority offers a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills.

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