The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations, 1999, made a number of changes to the provisions governing the holding of driving licences for motor cycles, including the removal of restrictions by reference to an age limit of 25. Prior to the making of the new regulations, persons had either (a) to have held a category A1, motor cycles not exceeding 125 cc, full licence for at least two years, or (b) to be over 25 years of age, in order to be eligible to apply for a first-time category A, motor cycles of all sizes, provisional licence.
The new regulations have relaxed access to first-time category A provisional licences by providing for eligibility of any person over 18 years of age. However, all such persons, irrespective of age, are restricted to riding motor cycles not exceeding 25 kW engine power for the duration of all provisional licences granted to them and for the first two years after passing a driving test and taking out a full category A.
The intention behind these new provisions is that new motor cyclists will be restricted to riding and gaining experience on lower-powered motor cycles, less than 25kW engine power, before being given access to higher-powered machines. These arrangements are considered desirable in the interests of road safety and against the background of the disproportionately high accident-fatality rate of motorcyclists in Ireland compared to other categories of road users. It should, however, be noted that these new arrangements do not apply to persons who held category A provisional licences prior to the commencement of the new regulations.
These progression arrangements for new motor cyclists will be kept under review in the light of the motor cycle accident and fatality rate and the impact of the motor cycle training initiative being undertaken by MAG Ireland with support from my Department.