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The minimum age at which new bikers can legally ride a machine of unlimited power has risen from 19 to 21.

In addition, new riders under 19 can now only access a machine up to 125cc. Those aged 19-21 are limited to machines up to 47 brake-horsepower.

Under the new rules, there are two ways to get an unrestricted licence by 21, both involving multiple tests.

Riders starting at 17 can take a test on a 125cc bike. It will get them a full licence but only for bikes up to 125cc.

After two years and aged at least 19, they can take another test for bikes up to 47bhp. This is the new so-called ‘A2’ motorcycle licence.

Finally, after another two years and aged at least 21, they can take a further test for unlimited machines.   

The other way is to start at 19 and take a test for a 47bhp licence straightaway, bypassing two years limited to 125cc. Riders will then only face one further test, at 21, for an unlimited licence.

To bypass all the stages and take a single test for an unlimited licence, riders must be 24. The minimum age for this test, known as Direct Access, used to be 21.

Previously, riders over 17 could take a single test to gain a licence for machines up to 33bhp. After two years, aged at least 19, they would then automatically qualify for an unrestricted licence with no further tests. Alternatively, at 21 they could take the…………… continues on

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