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headlights

MOT checks for lights and signals on motorcycles are divided into seven sections. Please click on a link below to skip to the section of interest.

front and rear position lamps :: headlamps :: stop lamps :: rear reflectors :: indicators :: headlamp aim :: audible warnings

Front and Rear Position Lamps on a Motorcycle

note: the front position light, or sidelight, is considered separate from the motorcycle’s headlight and at least 50% of all light sources within a lamp must function. If lamps are obscured by other parts of the bike they will fail.

  • The front light must emit a white light unless it is within a yellow headlamp and the rear must always be red
  • Both lights must illuminate immediately once the switch is pressed, be securely mounted and not flicker when tapped
  • The switch must also be securely mounted and again, tapping shouldn’t affect the lights
  • One switch must operate both lights

Daylight MOT

If a motorbike has no lights at all, or they are taped, painted or permanently disconnected so as to emit no light whatsoever you can still get an MOT pass but you will receive an advisory note stating that the bike should only be used during the hours of daylight and not during times of seriously reduced visibility.

Fog Lights

The motorcycle MOT does not cover rear fog lights or amber lights within the indicator lens of your bike.

Motorcycle Headlamps

  • Your motorbike’s headlamp must emit either yellow or white light
  • It must light immediately the switch is pressed
  • It should not be adversely affected by any other lamp or the horn
  • It must not flicker when tapped or when the switch is tapped
  • Both headlight and switch must be securely attached to the motorcycle.

Twin headlights

Only one or both headlamps need to illuminate for either dipped or main beam and they must be mounted one on top of the other or symmetrically and no more than 200mm apart.

Mopeds

For the purposes of the MOT mopeds are only required to have a functioning dipped beam.

Pre-1931 Motorcycles

If your bike was built before 1 January 1931 it doesn’t need a headlight at all but if there is one it must function correctly.

Motorcycle Stop Lamps

  • Your motorbike’s stop lamp must emit only a steady red light
  • It must light immediately once the switch(es) is pressed and switch off when released
  • It should not be adversely affected by any other lamp
  • It must be securely attached to the bike and not flicker when tapped
  • Both brakes must operate the stop lamp unless the the was manufactured with only one switch

Slow Vehicles & Mopeds

Bikes which cannot exceed 25mph do not have to have a stop lamp fitted nor do mopeds which were first registered before 1 April 1986 but if fitted they must function correctly.

Rear Reflectors on Motorcycles

  • Your bike must be fitted with one unobscured red reflector
  • It must be securely fitted and reflect squarely to the rear
  • It must be positioned along the motorcycles longitudinal centre line

Extra Reflectors and Tape

Only one reflector is required for the MOT but your bike will not fail for having more. Unfortunately reflective tape is not considered satisfactory.

Motorcycle Indicators

  • Indicators must be fitted to a motorcycle and emit only orange light
  • They must flash on and off, not just dim and brighten
  • They must flash between 60 and 120 times per minute
  • They must be visible when riding or have a functioning idiot light
  • They must be securely fitted and so must the switch
  • They must not be adversely affected by the operation of another lamp or the horn

Slow and Off-Road Vehicles

Bikes which cannot exceed 30mph or off-road bikes designed to carry just the rider do not need indicators but if fitted they must function correctly.

Motorcycle Headlamp Aim

note: a specialist piece of equipment is needed to correctly check the aim of your motorbikes headlight but if you follow the guidelines below we would be happy to make minor adjustments if necessary free of charge.

  • A motorcycle headlight should point directly forward and slightly downwards
  • The dipped beam must kick-up to the offside of the bike

Motorcycle Horn

  • Your bike must be fitted with a working continuous tone horn or horns
  • It must be loud enough to be heard by other road users
  • It must not make a harsh or grating noise
  • It must be easily operable whilst riding

front and rear position lamps :: headlamps :: stop lamps :: rear reflectors :: indicators :: headlamp aim :: audible warnings