Trike Law
Trikes and UK Law
This section is a comprehensive idiot's guide to Trikes and triking in the UK. We have strived to make the information as clear as we can, but there is additional help and information on the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) website.

Please note - Trike Shop (UK) Ltd only build motorcycle Trikes we don't touch car engines.
Are There Different Types Of Trike?
Yes, but in a nutshell, there are only two types of Trike that you really need to know about, bike engined and car engined. Having said that, it isn't the engine type that finally influences the decision of what type of Trike you're going to ride, it's the weight of the Trike, and what you are actually licensed to ride; any type of Trike can be built or bought to suit disabled needs. These can realistically vary from a humble 250cc bike engined Trike, all the way up to a growling, car engined V12 monster.
How Much Does A Trike Cost?
How long is a piece of string? If you're thinking of building a Trike yourself, then there really are no price guidelines we can give you. As they say - the sky's the limit! If you're going to buy a readymade Trike, whether it be bike or car engined, second hand or new, you can be sure to be looking at anywhere between £1,000 and £20,000, depending on how many "trick" or "shiny" bits you want on it, or indeed, the extent of the disabled adaption. The adaption can be anything from a linked brake system, to a Trike design where it is possible to board the Trike in a wheelchair, and steer the Trike from said chair; the possibilities are endless.
I Want To Build A Trike ... What's This SVA Scheme I've Heard About?
The Single Vehicle Approval scheme is a pre-registration inspection for cars and light goods vehicles that have not been type-approved to British or European standards, including amateur-built vehicles and vehicles using parts from previously registered vehicles; this can include some Trikes. The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that these vehicles have been designed and constructed to acceptable safety and environmental standards before they can be used on public roads. If you're seriously considering building your own Trike, a copy of the SVA manual would be more than helpful to you. Go here ...DETR Home find out how to order the manual, read a more in depth explanation of the SVA, and have a look at loads more useful information.
DETR Home Page
... To find out how to order the manual, read a more in depth explanation of the SVA, and have a look at loads more useful information. If you choose to convert a motorcycle to a Trike, please note that you will have to present the end result to your local DVLA office; with all the correct documentation & receipts to complete re-registration from a 2 wheeled (Motorcycle) vehicle to a 3 wheeled vehicle (Tricycle)
Vehicle Classification
There is a long complicated formula to classify vehicles, which coupled with the different driving categories’, has made for great confusion in the past on whether people could ride Trikes or not? The laws changed this year and now the ability to ride a Trike falls in the Motorcycle category, where as before it was also covered by the Cat B1 which was part of the car category. Which in truth possibly makes it clearer?

The basics are if you have a full Motorcycle licence (Cat A) or a full car licence that proceeds 19/01/2013, (Cat B1 on your licence) then basically you can ride a Trike.* If you do not have either of these then you need to complete a UK motorcycle C.B.T, theory test and full motorcycle test. Unless you are a disabled rider. They are the only people who are allowed to take a Trike C.B.T and Tricycle test.

*Restrictions apply. e.g., If you have a licence for Automatic, you can only ride an Automatic Trike. If you have a restricted motorcycle licence, then the Trike would have to be restricted in accordance with UK motorcycle laws. Check on the DVLA home page if you are unsure.

The able bodied riders who ride on L. Plates will have to complete a motorcycle (not Trike) C.B.T. to stay on the road legally, they then have 2 years to take their full motorcycle test.

What your trike is classified as, will denote which driving licence you will require, and what vehicle excise licence your trike will require.

The hi-lights show where the Trike bit comes in........

Category A1

You can drive light motorbikes with:

• an engine size up to 125cc
• a power output of up to 11kW
• a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1kW/kg

This category also includes motor tricycles with power output up to 15kW.

Category A2

You can drive motorbikes with a:

• power output up to 35kW
• power to weight ratio not more than 0.2kW/kg

The motorbike must also not be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

Category A

You can drive:

• motorbikes with a power output more than 35kW or a power to weight ratio more than 0.2kW/kg
• motor tricycles with a power output more than 15kW

Light vehicles and quad bikes

Category B1

You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400kg unladen or 550kg if they’re designed for carrying goods. For licenses that pre-date 19/01/2013 this includes Trikes, new laws cannot be back dated. For licenses after that date the B1 category has been abolished.

Able-bodied drivers can no longer ride motor tricycles with a provisional category B licence.

Category B

You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorized Mass (MAM) with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).
You can also tow heavier trailers if the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg. The fully loaded trailer can’t weigh more than the unladen vehicle.
Physically disabled drivers with provisional category B entitlement will also have provisional entitlement to ride category A1 or A motor tricycles.

Category B auto

You can drive a category B vehicle - but only an automatic one.

Category B+E

You can drive a category B vehicle with a trailer when they have a combined weight over 3,500kg.

Below is a letter we received from Rick Hulse, who is Chairman of the N.A.B.D. We wish to greatly thank him for clarifying the new laws that were implemented on 19/01/2013, laws that even the D.V.L.A do not seem to understand

Changes to B1 Entitlement 19th January 2013
New Motorcycle Test (3rd European Directive) & Trikes As of January 19th 2013 the new ‘staged’ licensing system comes into effect. This is how will it affect Trikes >

As of January 19th 2013 Trikes will become part of the Motorcycle licence category. (Before they came within the Car Category). For people with existing full car licenses prior to January 19th 2013, nothing changes. (New licensing rules cannot be backdated).

After January 19th 2013 only people with disabilities will be permitted to take a test on a Trike. (This dispensation is greatly due to consultations between the NABD and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) including the submission of a very detailed report by the NABD Chairman relating to the use of Trikes and sidecar outfits by disabled people).

For disabled people wishing to take a test on a Trike after January 19th 2013 they will have to take a CBT (slightly amended to suit Trikes). They will also have to do the motorcycle theory test and the practical tests (Mod 1 test is also slightly adapted to suit Trikes; i.e. less cones and no avoidance manoeuvre etc.)

The B1 category of licence is to be scrapped. A disabled person riding a Trike on a provisional car licence before January 19th will have to apply for a provisional motorcycle licence and do a CBT course after the 19th before they can ride on the road again. A disabled person taking a test on a Trike will qualify for a licence restricted to Trikes. It will not qualify them to ride solo motorcycles or drive cars.

Able-bodied people who don’t hold a full car licence prior to January 19th 2013 will have to pass a motorcycle test, on a motorcycle, before they can ride a Trike. (Those who already hold a motorcycle licence will by default be able to ride Trikes).

Able-bodied people who are currently riding Trikes on L-Plates must successfully pass a test before January 19th 2013. After that date they can only ride a Trike if they successfully pass a motorcycle test on a motorcycle first.

There is no change to the dispensation that allows disabled people to use a motorcycle and sidecar combination to take a motorcycle test, though this would also result in a licence restricted to motorcycles fitted with sidecars.

Trikes and motorcycle/sidecar combinations used for CBT, training and tests are not subject to the power output or power to weight ratio restrictions detailed in motorcycle tests.

DVLA Home Page
MOT Testing Classes
Just give a little more help, we have listed the MOT testing classes .. It could make a difference when it comes to MOT time, and you suddenly find out that your local bike workshop isn't entitled to test it. The requirement for an MOT test is the same for all vehicles, including Trikes, but excluding HGVs and PSVs.

Class 1 - Motorcycles - With or without sidecars up to 200cc.
Class 2 - All motorcycles, including class l with or without sidecars.
Class 3 - 3 wheeled vehicles, not exceeding more than 450kg unladen weight.
Class 4 - Cars, including motor caravans, dual purpose vehicles, and goods vehicles not exceeding 3000kg.

If you're wondering why I've included this table, then look again at class 3. Say for example, you've got a Trike of between 450kg and 550kg (B1 licence maximum), it will need to be tested at a class 4 MOT centre. So, your Trike could be classed as a motorcar, yet you're riding it under a quadracycle licence, but you need to get it tested at a car MOT centre. Got it? Good!

And finally in this section :-
Vehicle Excise licence
Just to make sure it doesn't get too easy for you, your Trike will be taxed under one of three classes. Where as previously your Trike would have been taxed as either a PLG vehicle (private light goods), or a motorcycle, a new rate was introduced on 1/6/99, as a concession for smaller engines ...

Part 1 - General rate - (PLG).
Part 1 : Concession - PLG not exceeding 1100cc.
Part 2 - Motorcycles up to 450kg unladen weight.

As with the vehicle registration, the "Tricycle" class has been introduced here too, or rather re-introduced; it's actually existed years, but hardly been used.

Expect to see "Tricycle" instead of "Bicycle" on your tax disc, if your Trike falls into the relevant class [Part 2].

Spot the anomaly again. Say for example, you've got a Trike weighing 420kg, it's not a motorcycle under vehicle classifications, it's a motorcar, but you're riding it under a "B1" (quadracycle) licence. It's tested at a class 3 MOT centre, but it qualifies as a motorcycle for vehicle excise licence.
Vehicle Excise Rates As Of 01/02/2013
Motorcycle (with or without sidecar) (TC17)

   Engine size (cc)      12 months rate      6 months rate   
   Not over 150   £16.00   Not available
   151-400   £36.00   Not available
   401-600   £55.00   £30.25
   Over 600   £76.00   £41.80

Tricycles (not over 450kg unladen) (TC50)

   Engine size (cc)      12 months rate      6 months rate   
   Tricycle not over 150   £16.00   Not available
   All other tricycles   £76.00   £41.80
Do I Need To Wear A Helmet When Riding A Trike?
In a word, "No", neither for bike engined nor car engined Trikes. Helmets are only compulsory for motor bicycles, not motor tricycles. On the other hand, you may wish to wear a helmet, say on a long journey, to protect your head from the weather, flying debris etc, etc; it's up to you. As a word of warning, should you be unfortunate enough to have an accident on your Trike, some insurance companies may try to use against you, the fact that you weren't wearing a helmet should you wish to make a claim for damages, especially if you sustained head injuries.

As far as 'the boys in blue' are concerned, do no more than to print this next piece out, and carry it with you. If you get pulled and quizzed about your lack of lid, just show this to them. Do not alter it in any way, as it is an official police document and will be recognised as such.
[Print from here]
Motor Cycles (Protective Helmets) Regulations 1988.
Statutory Instrument 1998 No 1807:-


1. Citation and Commencement - Omitted.
2. Revocation - Omitted.
3. Interpretation.


In these Regulations:-

a. EEA state mean a state which is a contracting party to the agreement on the European Economic Area signed 2nd May 1992. b. A reference to a numbered regulation is a reference to the regulation so numbered in these regulations. c. A reference to a numbered paragraph is a reference to the paragraph so numbered in these regulations.


[as to the area of the European economic area see further the editorial note to regulation 3820/85].

4. Protective Headgear.


(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2) every person driving or riding (Otherwise than in a sidecar) on a motor bicycle when on a road shall wear protective headgear. (2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person driving or riding on a motor bicycle if - a. it is a mowing machine. b. it is for the time being propelled by a person on foot. (3) In this regulation "motor bicycle "means a two wheeled motorcycle, whether or not having a sidecar attached, and for the purposes of this definition where the distance measured between the areas of contact with the road surface of any two wheels of a motorcycle is less than 460mm those wheels shall be counted as one wheel. "protective headgear" means a helmet which:- (a) either - (i) bears a mark applied by its manufacturer indicating compliance with the specifications contained in one of the British Standards (whether or not as modified by any amendment) mentioned in schedule 2 to these regulations. 0r (ii) is of a type manufactured for use by persons on motorcycles which by virtue of its shape, material and construction could reasonably be expected to afford the wearer a degree of protection from accidental injury similar to or greater than that provided by a prescribed under regulation 5. (b) If worn with a chin cup attached to or held in position by the strap, provided with an additional strap (to be fastened under the wearers jaw) for securing the helmet to the head ; and (b) is securely fastened to the head by means of straps provided for that purpose and "strap" includes any fastening device.
Do I Need Seatbelts Fitted To My Trike?
This is the definitive guide to seatbelt requirements for Trikes; except no imitations! This took some serious research, and a few arguments with the Vehicle Inspectorate, but they agree this is totally correct.

Vehicles first used before 1 April 1987.

Seatbelts are required for three wheelers that fall into the following categories:

1. With an unladen weight over 410Kg first used on or after 1 January 1965.
2. With an unladen weight over 255kg if first used on or after 1 September 1970.


Less than 410kg unladen equipped with a driving seat of a type that requires the driver to sit astride it and where that vehicle was constructed or assembled by a person not ordinarily engaged in the trade or business of constructing those sort of vehicles.


Vehicle first used before 1 April 1981:-

Drivers - A belt that restrains the upper body (but need not include a lap belt). Forward facing rear seats - no requirement.

Vehicle first used after 31 March 1981:-

Drivers - a 3 point (lap/diagonal) belt. [1] Forward facing rear seats - no requirements.

Vehicles first used after 31 March 1987:-

Seatbelts are not required for Trikes that either ...

1. Have an unladen weight of less than 255kg. 2. With an unladen weight of more than 255kg but less than 410kg which are equipped with a driver’s seat requiring the driver to sit astride it and where it’s been constructed or assembled by a person not ordinarily engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing vehicles of that type.


Drivers - three point belts Forward facing rear seats ... If not more than 2 rear seats then either:-

1. A 3 point inertia belt for at least one seat.
2. A 3 point belt, lap belt, disabled persons belt or child restraint for each seat.
Vehicles with more than 2 rear seats then either:-
1. A 3 point inertia reel belt on an outboard seat and a 3 point static or inertia reel belt, lap belt, disabled persons belt or child restraint for at one other seat
2. A static 3 point belt for one seat and a disabled persons belt or child restraint for at least one other seat.
3. A 3 point belt, lap belt, disabled persons belt or child restraint for each seat.
[1] A 3 point belt means a seat belt that ...

1. restrains the upper and lower parts of the torso.
2. includes a lap belt.
3. is anchored at not less than three points.
4. is designed for use by an adult.

Kindly reprinted from the original article by Wolf on the NABD website and updated by the Trike Shop (UK) Ltd. Although we try to keep this page up to date please check the DVLA Home Page for the latest changes!

Trike Shop UK | Unit 10 | Waterside Business Park | Lamby Way | Cardiff | CF3 2ET | UK | TEL: +44 (0)29 2036 9420