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Lights And Signals

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 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.


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

Motorcycles Registered Pre-1986

Any motorcycle first registered before 1st August 1986 does not need indicators to pass an MOT

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

Audible Warnings

  • 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

463 questions on "Lights And Signals"

    1. admin says:

      Unfortunately not, no. When the rear light is on all the LEDs shine red, then if the indicator comes on some of the red LEDs will switch off… That’s an automatic fail, sorry.

  1. Gary H says:

    I have installed flush indicators to the the front of my gsxr. Do you know if these are legal. Still flash between 60-120/m

    1. admin says:

      You need indicators which are clearly visible from the front and rear of the vehicle… So possibly not.

  2. Adrian says:

    I currently have bulbed indicators and considering to change them to LED type.
    I am considering a stemmed indicator type that sequentialy flows as it blinks, are these legal on Motorcylces?.
    I have seen that they are starting to fit them to cars. e.g. Audi’s


    1. admin says:

      Yes they will be fine, as long as the flash rate (start of the flow) is no faster than two times per second. LED set ups have less resistance than standard bulbs so when fitted they often flash too fast. You may need to fit an inline resistor to fix that.

  3. Hyper95 says:

    Hello, thanks for the article.

    Would this type of LED tail light with integrated side indicators (link below) be legal in the UK? Will it pass the MOT?…BMAB6BAgIEAU&usg=AOvVaw1nBQ9h8d9xUbtL1w-1jQOk

    1. admin says:

      Sorry but I can’t seem to get the link to work so I can’t see what I’m supposed to be looking at. However, essentially if, when the light or brake light is on and then the indicators are switched on, if any of the red LEDs turn orange it will be a fail. If the banks of coloured LEDs are completely separate it should pass.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi I have a Honda CBR 125 2005 and I’ve took the faring of and put a street fighter light on would it pass the mot

    1. admin says:

      That should be no issue as long as the headlight aim is correct and the new unit is E-Marked.

  5. Max says:

    I have working indicators on all 4 corners. I had a low side a few years ago (this is the bikes first MOT), and it seemed to effect the function of the switch. It takes a few hits to turn on the right indicator, although afterwards they work perfectly. Will this be an issue?

    1. admin says:

      Yes it will. Indicators must work as soon as the switch is activated.

  6. Claude says:

    Hi I have turned my vn 900 into a bobber with the rear light and number plate moved to the side of the bike is this a m. o. t fail thanks.

    1. admin says:

      As long as it’s clearly visible from the rear, the correct size, and presents no sharp edges, no problem 🙂

  7. Adam says:

    Hi, are there any regulations covering decorative lights? I would like to fit coloured LEDs strips under the petrol tank to illuminate the engine.

    1. admin says:

      Maybe just fit a switch and turn them off when you go for the MOT…?

      But if you must, they shouldn’t project forward at all and certainly not flash. Red light visible from the front, or white from the back would be an instant fail.

  8. Dave says:

    Hi, I was thinking of getting bar end indicators and I’ve heard they can satisfy rear indicators also as they fire both forwards and backwards when applied correctly, but I think that’s only in the US…
    Are they ok over here too?

    1. admin says:

      It’s a slightly grey area as the indicators must be clearly visible from the rear of the motorcycle. Fro that reason, none of our testers would pass a bike that didn’t have as set at the back as well.

  9. Mark says:

    I have a custom 1989 Suzuki savage with a “ryca kit”,
    My question is that it doesn’t have any normal front indicators as like a standard bike would normally have.
    What it does have instead at the front is indicators in the cafe race like handle bar ends at the front and normal ones at the rear.

    Is this ok for a MOT?
    It had an MOT a year ago just before I acquired it but I don’t no if it had any on for its last MOT and have since been removed.



    1. admin says:

      Without seeing it I can’t answer for certain but it doesn’t sound like it’s a problem at all.

  10. Gary Benton says:

    Hi fast track I have a ktm 560 smr it has no lights ,indicators, brake light, horn or speedometer as it has been road registered from being a track bike will this pass a daytime MOT

    1. admin says:

      Almost. I does need a working continuous tone horn…

  11. Jason says:

    I have a Ccm 404 ds 2004 reg
    I purchased the bike from my friend he had it from 1 year old it has never had indicators on it I have just been told that it is now compulsory to have them fitted is this correct

    Thanks jay

    1. admin says:

      Unfortunately, yes. All bikes built after 1986 must have indicators unless you go for a daytime MOT which means removing all the other lights.

  12. brian cotton says:

    I have a 1998 motor cycle and want to remove the indicators and switch will it still pass the mot

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there
      A 1998 bike will need working indicators and a switch to control them to pass.

  13. Warren says:

    Indicators only work when i tap my brake, front or back.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Warren,
      To pass a MOT your indicators need to work of there own accord and cancel when switched off.

  14. Steven creasy says:

    With regards to indicators I’ve seen lots available from China e.t.c. but do they need e or eu marking for UK roads also similar question regarding the flexible strip indicators that stick on what’s the ruling on them thanks in advance.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Steven,
      VOSA doesn’t specify whether they have to be E marked or not, and it would be preferential to use normal stemmed indicators.
      All the best,

  15. Char Ponting says:

    I have removed a rear wheel mounted number plate that covered the back wheel and replaced with a tail tidy

    someone said its a MOT fail if something does not cover the back when is this correct

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      No you don’t have to have a rear mudguard or something acting as one.

  16. Karl sharpe says:

    I’m currently modifying a bike into a streetfighter and have a question about the rear indicators,
    Where I want to put them they will be visible but not very if any visibility to opposite side of indication, would this pass an not and be legal

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Karl,
      The rear indicators will be fine as long as you can see the indicators directly form the back of the bike.
      Hope this helps,

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