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What is Progressive Access?
This is a route to gaining a motorcycle licence that has come about as a result of the introduction of the 3rd EU Driving Licence Directive (3DLD). Prior to 2013 people taking an A2 Restricted Licence would have had an automatic upgrade to a full licence after two years - this route has now been closed. It has been replaced by the Progressive Access which is where someone wishing to get the next licence up waits for two years since they passed their motorcycle test and then re-takes the test on the next size up motorcycle. How many times this needs to be done depends on what age and type of motorcycle a person took their original test on.
So for example: At 17 years old a test is taken on a 125cc motorcycle (A1 Light Motorcycle Licence), 2 years later at 19 years old the test is taken again on a motorcycle of at least 400cc but not more than 35kw (47bhp) (A2 Restricted Licence), and finally it is taken again at 21 years old on a motorcycle of at least 600cc and more than 50kw (67bhp) (Direct Access Scheme) allowing them to ride whatever they like once they have passed.
Alternatively: Someone waits until they are 22 years old (for example) and takes an A2 Restricted Licence and then re-takes the test at 24 years old on a 600cc motorcycle to gain a full licence.
1/. Why would someone bother do the A1 Light Motorcycle Licence if all they can ride is up to a 125cc motorcycle?
Largely because they either don't want to have to keep repeating their CBT or they are happy with a scooter.
2/. If I wait until I'm 19 before taking my motorcycle test does that still mean I have to start at the bottom (on a 125cc motorcycle)?
No, once you are 19 you are eligible for the A2 Restricted Licence taken on a 400cc plus motorcycle. After you have passed you will be able to ride on anything you like as long as it does not exceed 35kw (47bhp), you will be able to take a passenger and go on a motorway.
3/. So why don't I just wait until I'm 24 and just take the test once?
Good question; well there are several reasons. Firstly a Restricted Licence is quite a useful licence particularly for younger people who would typically be penalised by their insurance companies for riding a large unrestricted motorcycle. Manufacturers like Honda have now got a good range of 35kw motorcycles (CBF500, CBR500 and NC700) that are Restricted Licence legal straight out of the box. Secondly by taking the Restricted Licence at 19 years old through the Progressive Access scheme the next test can be taken 3 years earlier than waiting until 24 (and the Direct Access Scheme). Finally anyone who starts riding a motorcycle/moped at 16 and then waits until they're 24 will have done as many as five CBT's by the time that they take the Direct Access Scheme - which seems a little repetitive.
4/. What is the difference between the Accelerated Access and Progressive Access?
This is tiresome to say the least; why is this so complicated? Well Progressive Access is where someone has waited for 2 years since taking their (for example) A2 Restricted Licence before re-taking the test on a 600cc. The Accelerated Access is nearly the same except that instead of waiting 2 years someone becomes old enough to take the licence again, so for example they take an A2 Restricted Licence at 23 and then take their test again at 24 under the Direct Access Scheme.
5/. What difference does this make?
Not a lot apart from that under the Accelerated Access the student must have a valid Theory Test certificate.
6/. So do I need a CBT and Theory Test certificate for the Progressive Access?
No, you would have passed both the CBT and Theory Test for your first test and as long as you have waited for 2 years then you will not need them to be valid for the next test.
7/. How long does the Module 1 certificate last if I don't have a Theory Test?
Crickey! You're on the ball. The Module 1 Certificate only last for 6 months if you are taking your test under the Progressive Access Scheme.
8/. Will the test be the same - Module 1 & 2?
Yes, the only difference will be the size of the motorcycle and your age.
9/. So what happened to the 7 hour training upgrade that was put into the legislation?
The DVSA have buried it so far and are trying hard to pretend it doesn't exist. Remember all these tests will be quite a little money spinner for them so letting Training Schools do the upgrade is not part of the program. The DVSA have struggled to get CBT under control from a quality and standards point of view, thus it is unlikely that much will change before training schools demonstrate that they will uphold the right standards.