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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.

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

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. Sam says:

    Hi, I have a headlight that I wish to modify slightly but in doing so will remove the emark from the lens but does not afect the light beam in ant way. Would it still be ok to modify and keep the cut off bits to show the lint was emarked? The light is from a gsxr k7 and I am cutting off the side light parts and re positioning the side lights to make a single light for a naked bike. Also are push bike spedometers ok for showing speed?
    Thanks.

    1. admin says:

      The E-Mark is irrelevant really. What matters is that the beam pattern on the lens. If your mods affect that then it will fail. Also you can’t have any light ‘leakage’ around the seams, it must all be contained within the lens.
      Some form of measuring your speed is a legal requirement but speedometers do not fall under the juristriction of the MOT.

  2. chris says:

    Hi I have a gilera ice that I have just bought has no m.o.t and I need to put it through asap. Is it a fail with no stand, speedo ,mirrors and rear reflector? I could ziptie a satnav on 4 now to measure speed. I have orded them but just want to get it through its m.o.t asap. Just curious. And I dnt have previous m.o.t or logbook just new keeper slip. Thanx

    1. admin says:

      Oddly enough Chris, yes it’ll pass. Except for the reflector but we have self-adhesive circular ones in stock for just £1. Easy fix 😉

  3. Sean says:

    Hi,
    I’m looking to streetfighter my SRAD after a slow speed tumble in which I destroyed the fairing 🙁
    as far as indicators go, I’ve seen some amber LED strip-lights that I think would look pretty good, but of course no E stamp. If I go with this option, will the bike pass MOT?
    Cheers

    1. admin says:

      Shouldn’t be a problem but if you put LED lights at the front but not at the back or vice versa they may flash to fast which will fail..

  4. Matt Ryan says:

    Hi,

    I’ve turned my GSXR 600 K6 into a streetfighter. I purchased an aftermarket headlight from the internet which has a lumen rating of around 900 from 3 x 3w LEDs on high beam. This light is not E marked and its dip beam has a flat spread with no kick to either side. how will this fair at MOT time.

    Thanks

    1. admin says:

      The headlamp fitted will be OK without an E-mark, but the tester will still need to check the headlamp aim. As long as there is definitely a flat beam pattern it will be fine.

  5. Ralph says:

    I put a Honda X4 (Jap Import) thro M.O.T. with Working Running Lights. that is the front indicators have dual element bulbs,& were on with the sidelights at all times, when indicating, these remained on & the secondary element was flashing quite clearly over the sidelight. They failed it .was this correct as a couple of years back I had ‘Super Magna’ with same lighting arrangement & it passed !
    Regards.
    Ralph

    1. admin says:

      Hi Ralph. I can understand why it might have passed as the wording in the MOT manual is slightly ambiguous – Amber lights located within the indicator lamp must not adversely affect the operation of the indicator ie. the indicator must go on and off to function not dim and bright – which suggests by inference that amber lights are allowed. However, it states ‘must go on and off not dim and bright’. In other words if the constant sidelight element doesn’t go out when the indicator element does it’s a fail. The indicator will go dim and bright not on and off. Easy fix though, just disconnect the feed to the sidelight. problem solved 🙂

  6. Mark Jackson says:

    I’m building a custom bike and don’t want to fit a front sidelight. Can I wire it so the headlight comes on with the ignition (as per my 2003 Suzuki GSX1400) and not bother with the sidelight?

    1. admin says:

      As long as it’s permanently on and there’s no switch to turn it off that will be fine. Obviously it needs both high and low beams though.

  7. Colin Anthony says:

    Hi, Just got myself a 1981 Kawasaki kz1000 for restoration. It has no indicators fitted. Not even from new. But do i need to fit them for an MOT. Regards Col.

    1. admin says:

      No mate. It’ll pass without them.

  8. Always pays to check your lights before the mot. It’s just not worth failing for.

    Often a kind mot tester will adjust, align your headlight for you, or allow you time to do it yourself. But broken indicators, faulty bulbs and badly repaired lenses just won’t cut it.

    1. admin says:

      Lol. Faulty bulbs… No coincidence that you sell them then, hey? 🙂

  9. Jake says:

    Hi, i have a Honda CRF motocross bike which now has supermoto wheels, the bike wasn’t manufactured with indicators and still doesn’t have any one or have a switch for them, also there is no number plate light,
    Will this still pass my MOT?
    Thanks
    Jake

    1. admin says:

      Yes it will! Because it was originally constructed primarily for off-road use 🙂

  10. Tim says:

    I have a KTM 525 EXC with no indicator lamps fitted but the switch is present, will it pass an MOT as is or will I need to remove the switch/add the lamps?

    1. admin says:

      That’s a hard one. VOSA state that indicators must be fitted unless the bike is ‘constructed or adapted primarily for off-road use’. So if the switch was fitted by the manufacturer and the indicators have simply been removed with no other modifications to make the bike primarily off-road in purpose it will fail. If the bike was manufactured without indicators and someone fitted an after market switch and ‘then’ they were taken off it should pass… Hope that makes sense.

  11. Simon says:

    The lights come on when I switch the ignition on. I would like to add a switch to control the lights independently from the ignition. Does the lights switch need to be on the handlebars or is it ok to fix it to the dashboard/fairing next to ignition switch (it is a burgman scooter)? It will be easy to reach although not without removing hand from handlebars.

    1. admin says:

      As long as the switch is secure and fitted correctly, in other words operating it doesn’t affect any of the other fitted lights, indicators etc, it will be fine.

  12. Dave says:

    i have a 50cc moped and the glass fell out of the mirrors recently so i have removed them both but its due for an MoT soon and i dont think the ordered mirrors will arive in time, i know its not safe to ride with no mirrors and can even get a FPN but are mirrors an MoT requirement?

    1. admin says:

      No, mirrors are not an MOT requirement 🙂

  13. Adam says:

    If a motorbike doesnt have a numberplate light fitted is that a fail? if there is one in its place which has stopped working is that a fail also?

    Thanks

    1. admin says:

      No it won’t fail. However it will be recorded as an advisory note and it’s actually a civil offence to not have a light so the Police won’t be too impressed if you ride it at night…

  14. Andy says:

    Hi
    I have a Honda Transalp and the light switch to turn on the main beam has failed. Dipped headlight works fine and comes on automatically when the ignition turns on as it should. The main beam ‘passing’ button also works. Can you tell me whether this would be an MOT failure. Not having a main beam?
    Thanks
    Andy

    1. admin says:

      Hi Andy,

      Unfortunately you need to be able to switch high beam on and for it to stay on in order to pass an MOT. So yes, that would be a fail.

  15. matt says:

    Hi

    I’ve installed a custom made tail tidy and was just wondering if a numberplate-light is required to pass an MOT test or is this optional so long as the plates reflective.

    Also if required, are there any specifics relating to it being wired into the bikes electrics, or could the light be power by its own internal small battery to allow ‘bolt on’ lights to be installed without any wiring hassle.

    Thanks for your advice

    Matt

    1. admin says:

      Hi Matt. No, a number plate light is not required for an MOT pass but all lights etc need to be easily controlled from the handlebar switches. In other words, wired into the same loom as the lights at the front. Front and rear lights must work off the same switch.

  16. steve johnson says:

    Hi does my motorcycle (a 2001 yamaha TTR600), need to have a speedometer, neutral light, main beam light and indicator light on the ‘dashboard’? I have removed all of these items. Cheers Steve.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Steve. The only MOT requirement is that the indicators must be visible to you from your normal seated position. If they are not you will need to have an idiot light. The other lights are not part of the current MOT test. Nor as it happens is the speedo, though it is a civil offence to not have a consistent method of measuring the speed of a motor vehicle.

  17. Ashley says:

    Hi,
    I am currently riding an imported Virago 750 from Europe and I have yet to get round to replacing the headlamp, so it’s still aimed to the right!
    I know that I am able to tape the headlight for the mot to stop the lick kicking up on the right, but what positions should I do it in? I’m thinking about 4 O’clock to about 6 O’clock or somewhere within that general area.
    Cheers!

    Ash

    1. admin says:

      Hi Ash,

      That’s not a very common question. Can’t remember the last time we had to tape up a headlight.. But put simply if you sit on your bike with the light on and aim it at your garage wall you should be able to see the kick-up. All you need do is tape it so the line is flat. Hope that helps. If not bring it down and we’ll do it for you when we do the MOT 🙂

  18. john briscoe says:

    Hi there , i have an old bike and have just restored a set of craven panniers I intend the use a second and third two inch rear light on eash black pannier with full lighting and braking function..this is added to the existing dentre one…will this pass an MOT also if i choose to remove the xisting rear indicators can I fit some small 2″ dome car indicators on the rear of the panniers

    1. admin says:

      Hi John,

      all of the mentioned modifications are fine, as long as the stop/tail lights are red and showing no white light and the indicators are orange showing no white light. Also as long as the new lights do not affect the operation of any other lights or the horn due to the increase in voltage required to power everything.

      Regards
      Scott

  19. Andy says:

    I have just fitted a new rear tail lamp that incorporates the indicators, when the indicator is turned on the stop lamp changes to yellow and flashes( left or right hand side only). Is this considered legal or not as the law states no other light must interfere with the indicator not the other way round.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Andy, yes this is considered as legal now, the lens should have an “E” marking which is clearly visible.

  20. Tony Born says:

    What is the minimum spacing of rear indicators, I have bought a E rated rear light with built in indicators and are now facing a fine for having the lights under the suposed minimum of 18 inches apart, the light was listed as being legal for use on UK roads, was the cop just guessing? could you clarify please.

    Cheers Tony

    1. admin says:

      Hi Tony. All I can tell you is that we failed one when these type of lights came out… We were subsequently told, by VOSA, that we should in fact pass this type of light as long as it is EU marked. So I would say that in this instance the Police are wrong.

      1. mark longstaff says:

        A have a sym jet 50 ped wich is due its mot but my main stand has
        snaped so I had to remove it but it still has a side stand will this pass its mot or not

        1. admin says:

          It won’t fail because you’ve taken the centre stand off, no.

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