Planning your European bike trip for next summer? Read this first.

Motorcycle in Europe

Riding in Europe makes a spectacular adventure, however, spanning across several countries means that you’ll face a lot of different laws concerning your motorbike. Some countries are stricter than others on what you can and can’t do. Failure to follow the law could be not only dangerous but also expensive, as well as void your travel/bike insurance or even void your bike’s warranty.

So how far can you get on a CBT?

You’ll occasionally hear of a rider who’s just passed their CBT, jumping on their 125cc and planning a big summer adventure across Europe. However, what many motorists don’t realise is that the moment they leave the UK on a CBT licence, they’re breaking the law.

That’s right; there are many cases of young riders being pulled up for not having the correct level of documentation.

Unfortunately, you’re not legal to ride outside of the UK on a CBT. To ride abroad in Europe, you must have a valid full UK motorcycle licence. This is because your CBT certificate is only valid in the UK.

In addition to this, even if you do go ahead and get a full licence, there are still several restrictions placed upon you. For example, you’re still restricted to the output and engine size conditions as stated on your licence. For example, if you have an A1 licence, you’re still limited to bikes between 120-125cc abroad.

Using a CBT in Europe

I have a full licence, do I need anything else to ride in Europe?

There are a variety of essentials you should carry on you if you plan to tour in Europe, and some countries have different requirements than others. You should make yourself aware of the individual requirements for each EU country before you set off.


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Essentials you should always carry on you

  • Your Passport – You should make sure you have at least six months validity
  • The originals of your driver’s licence, insurance certificate and registration document You could be asked to produce these at any point
  • GB sticker or a plate with a GB logo – This is a legal requirement
  • Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – This will allow you to access health services abroad
  • Spare bulbs


Country-Specific Advice

  • Hi-vis jackets are mandatory in France. You will be fined if you don’t carry one
  • Helmets – required in all EU countries, but some countries such as France require reflective stickers
  • Breathalyser kit is a legal requirement in France, but there’s no longer a fine for not carrying one.
  • Check your tyres – different countries have different tyre tread. For example, France requires 1.6mm
  • If you plan to travel through Paris, Grenoble or Lyon, make sure you have your emission Certificates
  • If you need glasses for riding, if going through Spain you must carry a spare pair.
  • Avoid using “hands-free” kit on a motorcycle with any device that emits a sound in France. It is now illegal – including headphones.
  • Avoid using devices – including a GPS or mobile phone – that can indicate the presence of a fixed or mobile speed camera.
  • Always check your motorcycle insurance policy if you plan to ride abroad – remember not all policies give automatic EU cover.


The most critical advice for travelling is to ensure that you research as much as you possibly can. Don’t make assumptions about local laws and always ensure you and your motorcycle are in a fit condition to ride.

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