RAC Cars News


Three-Wheeler Licence Update Causing Consternation

By raccars Published

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New licence legislation was brought in this January applying to drivers of three-wheelers, which had attracted criticism among manufacturers of the vehicles. All new licence holders are now required to be at least 21 years old and to obtain a motorcycle licence, to drive motorcycle or car-based tricycles, such as the Triking of the new Morgan Three Wheeler.

The UK has more than 13,000 three-wheeler owners and 12 companies manufacturing the vehicles, who claim they were not given access to a consultation document, detailing the changes to regulations and were astonished by the new rules. Morgan claims its first knowledge of the changes came from a customer and that it would have appreciated the opportunity to discuss the matter with the DVLA. Manufacturer of the Zero tricycle, Blackjack, is also concerned that the new regulations could adversely impact the market and is concerned about the DVLA's motivation for the changes. Triking expressed similar disappointment and surprise.

Drivers already in possession of B1 category licences for lightweight vehicles will retain the right to drive tricycles and disabled drivers are unlikely to be affected by the changes, but any new licences as of January 19th this year, have required a test.

Existing licence holders will however find that swapping or replacing their current licences will be put into one of three new categories. There is AM, permitting them to ride mopeds capable of a maximum speed of 45kmh, small tricyles with a 50cc limit and lightweight four-wheeled vehicles up to 350kg in weight. Category P will apply to two and three-wheelers up to a maximum speed of 50kmh and category Q to the same with a maximum speed limit of 25kmh.

The AM category applies to some small vehicles, such as 50cc four-wheelers, but tricycles now come under motorcycle licensing legislation, which includes categories for small, medium and unlimited vehicles, divided depending on engine capacity, power output and power to weight ratio. The lowest category is suitable for drivers from 17 years of age, the next to drivers aged 19 and over, while the unlimited category can only be obtained from 21 years of age.

The DVLA has attributed the changes to the third European Directive on Driving Licences, which is designed to improve safety EU-wide. However, the now mandatory motorcycle licence test requirements do not make any provision for three-wheeled vehicles, nor does the test for a car licence.

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