I have taken my motorcycle Direct Access at 27 years old, having driven cars and passed my car test nine years ago in Poland
However, my friend has told me I will lose my whole licence (which is now British, as I live in Britain) if I accumulate six points in the two years after I pass my test, is this true? if it is. I wish I had not bothered taking my bike test!
Your friend is wrong but a few people would make the same mistake. Your first licence was obtained in a European Union country, so it is treated as a British licence under EU Treaty Rules. Your position is no different to any other full British licence holder.
The date of your first full licence, in your case a car licence, means the timer started running on the day that you passed your Polish test and obtained a full Polish licence.
For the first two years, had you accumulated six UK points on your UK licence (and there is no method of putting foreign points, including EU points, on a British licence) then your car licence would have been revoked. You would then have had a provisional UK licence and you would have had to take your theory and practical tests again for any class of vehicle you wish to ride or drive.
The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 treats the first two years after getting a full licence as ‘probationary’. The test is, when did your licence stop being provisional? If you hold a non-provisional licence, it is treated as a full licence under EU regulations, whether for car or motorcycle and once the two years has expired, your probationary period ends.
However, if you accumulate six points in your first two years of a full licence, your licence is simply lost. There are no appeals, no court hearings, just a letter telling you that your licence has been revoked and you then have to apply for a fresh provisional and start all over again. However, this does not apply nine years after you got your first full licence.
Recent holders of full licences need to be very careful about this Act. If you are pulled over by a Police constable in the first two years of holding a full licence for minor speeding, or if he pulls you over for a duff brake light and a bald tyre, you could instantly lose your full licence, if you have not held it for two years, if you passed your car and bike tests in close succession, you lose both.
The police are fully aware of this and it is at contacts like this when your attitude becomes absolutely crucial. A police officer will either give you words of warning or, if the defect is more serious, he can give you a vehicle rectification notice, without points.
A bad attitude means you will be written up and points win a lot of trips on the bus. This is not about a power-crazed copper setting out to ruin your life. Most police officers assess whether or not words of warning are sinking in. A much better response to being pulled over is to promise to rectify your ways, fix your brake light, replace your bald tyre, keep an eye out for speed signs or whatever it is that has drawn police attention, if the copper is a powerhungry numpty intent on ruining your riding career, then a couple of minor infractions can do this. Speed cameras are immune to persuasion, so do not trip two of these as a new driver.
As a general proposition, it is wise to avoid any police attention in the first two years after your provisional licence has been changed to a full one, whether for a car or a motorcycle. So look after your bike and don’t risk a ‘silly’ pull. Keep your lights working and your tyres good, don’t have a noisy can and while small plates and a black visor don’t attract points, they attract police attention. For the first two years of a full licence, keep a low profile, obey speed limits and avoid behaviour likely to attract police attention.
RiDE Magazine September 2017