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Small motorcycle - A1

Steps to become a motorcyclist - small.

A category A1 vehicle is defined as a motorcycle without a sidecar, with a cylinder capacity of at least 115 cc but not exceeding 125 cc, that is capable of a speed of at least 90 km/h. It has an engine power not exceeding 11kW and a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW/kg. If the motorcycle is powered by an electric motor, the power to weight ratio of the vehicle shall be at least 0.08 kW/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 A1 (small motorcycle) 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 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 A1 (small motorcycle) learner permit within that time.

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A category A1 learner permit allows you to ride a small motorcycle 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 on a category A1 learner permit are not permitted to ride higher-powered A or A2 motorcycles, or carry a pillion passenger. 

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All new first-time category A1 learner permit holders are required to undertake structured learner motorcyclist training, known as Initial Basic Training (IBT). This is a course of 16 hours training with an Approved IBT Instructor covering basic driving and road safety awareness skills.

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The category A1 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.

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When you pass the category A1 motorcycle driving test you are issued with a certificate of competency. This is valid for up to two years. You must apply for a category A1 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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Passing your category A1 driving test is just the first step in becoming a truly safe and competent driver. You should continue to ride your small 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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