Motorcycle rider training legal issues

Yellow motorcycle rider driving round three orange and white cones

There are various rules and regulations that may affect your rider training business, depending on how you operate.

What licences does a motorcycle rider training business need?

Approved Training Bodies and training sites

To be able to offer Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) your business must be certified by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) as an Approved Training Body. This involves finding a suitable off-road training site, getting permission from the site owner to use it, and getting the site inspected by the DVSA. In Northern Ireland, CBT courses can only be delivered by Approved Motorcycle Instructors who will identify a suitable safe area to use.


The DVSA also assesses instructors and there is a requirement that every Approved Training Body has at least one instructor who has been assessed by the DVSA to provide CBT who can then 'down train' other CBT instructors. Instructors wishing to offer Direct Access Scheme training must undergo a further assessment. All instructors must be at least 21 years old and have held a full motorcycle licence (category A or A2) for at least three years.

In Northern Ireland, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) - part of the Department for Infrastructure - runs a register of Approved Motorcycle Instructors who have gained its rider trainer qualification. You can find out more about the register on the NI Direct website.

You may decide to register on the DVSA's Register of Post-Test Motorcycle Trainers (RPMT). At present this is voluntary but may become compulsory in the future.

What other actions do I need to take?

All motorcycles used on public roads must have a current vehicle excise licence duty licence (road tax) and all riders must hold an appropriate licence. This includes the pupils that you teach, who must hold an appropriate provisional licence to be able to take CBT and a provisional licence and CBT certificate before venturing onto the road on a machine larger than 125cc.

If you use two-way radios for instructors to keep in touch with pupils or the training base, then you must obtain a radio licence, for which there is an annual fee. The fee will vary according to the number of mobile units you have. Details are available from Ofcom.

Rider training legislation

Any business wishing to offer Compulsory Basic Training must be certified by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) as an Approved Training Body.

Every Approved Training Body must have at least one instructor who has been assessed by the DVSA. These instructors must be at least 21 years old and have held a full motorcycle licence (category A or A2) for at least three years. Assessment is carried out at the DVSA training centre at Cardington in Bedfordshire.

Detailed requirements apply to the Compulsory Basic Training Course and certificates of completion may only be issued to riders who have successfully completed all parts of the course. The DVSA supplies the certificates to Approved Training Bodies and should be contacted for full details about course requirements.

Guidance on how to set up and run an Approved Training Body as well as on how to become a motorcycle instructor is available on the website.

In Northern Ireland, anyone who delivers motorcycle training must be on the Approved Motorcycle Instructors Register. To gain entry to the register a candidate must:

  • pass the specified theory, practical and instructional ability test within the two year period
  • not have been disqualified from riding or driving in the previous four years
  • have held a motorcycle licence for four out of the last six years
  • be a 'fit and proper' person

There is more information available on the NI Direct website.

Motorcycle legislation

You need to be familiar with the motorcycle rider licensing system and aware of the restrictions in terms of engine size and power that apply to riders of different ages and experience. All riders must hold an appropriate licence - in particular, pupils may not be taken onto the road on machines larger than 125 cc without a provisional motorcycle licence and the certificate of completion of Compulsory Basic Training.

All motorcycles used by instructors or hired out to pupils must be roadworthy and have a valid MOT test certificate. All motorcycles must be taxed and insured for training use - normal motor insurance is not sufficient. In addition, you will need public liability insurance.

Motorcycle hire contracts

If you offer motorcycles for hire to pupils not as part of a tuition package you need to be aware that there is a large amount of legislation covering the sale and supply of goods and services, consumer contracts and rights. You should draw up a standard contract of hire to use each time you hire out a motorcycle. Using a sound contract is vital in order to avoid misunderstandings and resolve any disputes that may arise.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a motorcycle rider training business

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • insurance for instructors' motorcycles
  • insurance for learner motorcycles that you hire out to pupils
  • public liability
  • premises and premises contents
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employer's liability
  • personal cover - accident and injury, loss of earnings and so on

When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form.

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