Motorcycle Safety

By making safety a top priority, motorcyclists can reduce the chances of death and injury

Motorcycle safety

Motorcycles represented 1 in 70 of all licensed vehicles in Ireland between 2007 and 2011, but motorcyclists accounted for 1 in 10 road deaths over this same period. One of the main reasons is that, in a crash, motorcycle and moped users have less protection than drivers or passengers in vehicles.

But training and education are also an issue. Trained motorcyclists around the world prove every day that biking can be a fun, safe and satisfying activity. However, if you don’t have appropriate skills, the right attitude to safety and the benefit of education and training it’s a much riskier pursuit.

Safety gear


Wear appropriate clothing and a secure helmet every time you get on your bike.

  • Jackets and trousers should give you enough protection from impact, abrasion, cold and weather conditions.
  • Use body armour on vulnerable areas such as the back, knees, elbows, shoulders, hips and shins. This should be adjustable so it fits snugly and does not move in a crash.
  • You should wear a good reflective jacket to make you more visible on the road.
  • Wear protective gloves, and footwear that at least comes above the ankle.
  • Learner motorcyclists must wear a yellow tabard displaying the “L” plate not less than 15cm high  on a white background, in clearly visible vertical positions  front and rear worn over the chest clothing.

Age requirements

Remember: you have to be 16 before you can ride a small motorbike (A1 vehicle category) 18 before you can ride an A2 motorcycle and 24 before you can ride a larger one (A category).

‘A1’ is defined as a motorcycle with an engine capacity not exceeding 125cc, with a and a power rating not exceeding 11kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW/kg.

‘A2’ is defined as a motorcycle with a power rating not exceeding 35kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW/kg and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.  For the purposes of the driving test, the motorcycle will have a minimum of 395cc, and a power output of at least 25kW but not exceeding 35kW.

‘A’ is defined as a motorbike with or without a side-car. For the purposes of the driving test, it is defined as a motorcycle with a minimum of 595cc and an engine power of at least 40kW.

If you held your learner permit in Category A prior to the 19th January 2013, you are restricted to driving a motorcycle that has a power output of a maximum of 25kW.  If you passed your test and took out a full Category A licence before the 19th January 2013, you are restricted to riding a motorcycle with a power output of a maximum of 25kW for a period of 2 years from the date of isue of your full licence.