Q504: What is the law relating to three wheel vehicles?
Driving licence requirements
The driving licence legislation for three-wheelers (tricycles), irrespective of whether they are car or motorcycle based, changed considerably on 19.01.13. The two most important changes were that from 19.01.13, new rider/drivers:
- must be a minimum of 21 years of age (for tricycles over 15 kW), and
- require a motorcycle licence (category A or A1) to be able to drive them because they no longer fall within category B1. This only applies if you don't already have a full car licence - see below.
The changes only affect those taking their test after 19.01.13. Those riders/drivers with existing full entitlement to ride/drive category B1 vehicles gained before 19.01.13 will retain that entitlement. However, when the holders of such licences exchange them, DVLA will add a new entitlement 'category A (limited to tricycles - restriction code 79)', to their licence.
Riding a tricycle with a car licence
You can drive/ride a motor tricycle of any power rating if you're over 21 and you have a full car driving licence. If this is not the case you'll need a full category A1 motorbike licence to ride motor tricycles up to a power output of 15 Kilowatts (kW), and a full category A motorbike licence to ride trikes with a power output more than 15 kW.
At age 16 or over, you must pass your CBT, theory test and then a practical test on a motorcycle without a sidecar with an engine capacity up to 50cc. You may then ride two or three wheeled vehicles no more than 50cc and below 4 kW, with a design speed not exceeding 28mph.
A1 motorcycle licence – three-wheelers not exceeding 15 kW
At age 17 or over, you must pass your CBT, theory test and then a practical test on a motorcycle without a sidecar of between 120 and 125cc. You may then ride a motorcycle up to 125cc with a power output up to 11 kW, or a motor tricycle with a power not exceeding 15 kW.
A motorcycle licence – three-wheelers above 15 kW
Test taken on a motorcycle without a sidecar of at least 595cc and an engine power of at least 40 kW; this gives full access to all motorcycles and motor tricycles. There are two routes to acquire category A:
- Progressive access – riders can get this category from age 21 years, provided they have a minimum of two years' experience on a category A2 motorcycle with a full licence and pass the category A practical motorcycle tests
- Direct access – riders must be at least 24 years old, have a valid CBT certificate (only if they don't have full entitlement to A1 or A2 because then they will have already completed their CBT to get their A1 or A2 entitlement) and pass the theory and category A practical motorcycle tests
Points to note:
- Provisional B1 entitlement to ride/drive a three-wheeler has been withdrawn from all riders, even if they were using a three-wheeler prior to 19.01.13. After 19.01.13, a provisional licence will only cover riders to ride motor tricycles if they have a physical disability.
- The rules apply to all three-wheelers regardless of wheel configuration i.e. two wheels at the front and one at the back or visa versa.
- Driving tests for three-wheeled vehicles will only be available for physically disabled drivers. Able-bodied provisional licence holders who wish to ride motor tricycles will have to pass CBT and practical tests on a two wheeled motorcycle AM, A1 or A without a sidecar.
Three-wheelers that are motor vehicles i.e. those constructed or adapted for use on road will require a minimum of third party cover.
Certificates are required for all vehicles over three years old.
Vehicle's unladen weight
Is a crash helmet required?
Not exceeding 550 kg
No, providing the distance between the centre of contact of the front/rear wheels exceeds 460 mm.
Exceeds 550 kg