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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. Ben says:

    Hi fasttrack, just a couple of questions about brake and running lights. i) Can a standard running light (which has only one filament) also be re-purposed as a brake light? I.e. could I mount separate brake and running light units, both units having the same spec? What are the technical characteristics required for each? ii) What requirement govern visibility from the side? I.e. what level of light output is required when viewed from a 90 degree angle? Thanks very much for any advice!!!

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hello Ben,
      Yes, as long as you can see a steady red light (tail light) and a brighter red light when the brake is applied and it is visible from the rear of the vehicle it is fine. It doesn’t matter if it is one or two units. It doesn’t matter if you cant see the brake light from the side.
      All the best,

  2. Stuart says:

    Hi, I have a engine management light showing on the dash of my 2009 Triumph Street Triple, it it due to the AIS valve being removed as its cant work with the Dynojet Power Commander V and Auto Tune as its skews the readings for the Auto Tune. I don’t have a dealer nearby to clear this/deactivate the AIS valve in the ECU. Would this cause a MOT Fail? I do intend to get it cleared as the soonest opportunity, just may not get the chance before the bike is due its next MOT

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Stuart,
      engine management lights are not a fail, so as long as the rest of the bike in good order you should get a pass certificate. Then in your own time have the light turned out.

  3. Alan says:

    Hi I have a 76plate yam xs 650 do the indicators need to stay on when the switch is activated or can you hold it in flashing position by hand?they work great when its held in position but cancell as soon as the switch is released. I thought it was ok but i’m told not???

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Alan,
      Because of the age of the bike you don’t need indicators fitted, but if they are fitted then they must work correctly. So them only working by being held on would be an MOT fail.
      All the best

    2. fasttrack says:

      Hi Alan,
      Because of the age of the bike you don’t need indicators fitted to pass an MOT. But if they are fitted they must work correctly, having to hold them on would be an MOT fail.
      All the best,

  4. Mr Luke Rocha says:

    Hi, will my bike pass with a headlight with no high beam switch. Horn and kill switch buttons?

    1. fasttrack says:

      You will need high beam and a continuous tone horn to pass, kill switches are not required.

    2. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      You need a high beam and continuous horn to pass, kill switches are not required.

  5. Andrew Ough-Jones says:

    Hi there!

    The Givi Spotlights mounted on my anti crash bars have for whatever reason decided to no longer work just days before my MOT. Standard bad luck. All other lights on my bike work fine and (to my knowledge) my bike should sail through it’s MOT.
    I have the ability to switch on and off my spotlights from a switch on the handlebars, so at the moment I just have them permanently switched off.

    My questions are 1) Are spotlights MOTable? – I haven’t been able to find the answer to this anywhere. And 2) If yes, will my spotlights in their current condition cause the bike to fail?

    Cheers in advance!

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Andrew,
      Spotlights are not an MOT item, so yours not working wont cause you to fail as long as your headlights work correctly.

  6. Tim says:

    Could you please give me some idea as to how long (or short) a flat seat should be before it is NOT considered as incorporating a “pillion” seat? I am building a street bike without pillion footrests so I want mine considered to be a solo seat. Many thanks in advance if you are able to help.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hello Tim,
      There is no set size for a riders seat that doesn’t incorporate a pillion seat. Physically only one person should be able to fit on the seat, this should eradicate anybody questioning it being a pillion seat.

  7. Mark says:

    Hi there,
    I have a 2001 Honda CBR600F & want to install LED headlights, what are the current MoT regulations on this and will I get pulled by the feds for having them installed

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hello Mark,
      The LED headlights wont get you pulled by the police, but to meet MOT standards they would have to have a clear beam pattern, be height adjustable and have high and low beam.

  8. Ian Harrison says:

    Hello there.
    I have a couple of questions in regards to the MOT issue. I have seen that people have asked before but that was a while ago and I know that laws change. Can you run your bike still without mirrors? Also with regards to indicators can I remove the front ones and run bar end indicators? Also I take it the integrated tail lamp units are still a fail.
    Many thanks for taking the time to read and I hope to get these points clarified in my head.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      Yes you can still pass with no mirrors and bar end indicators are still a pass. And yes you are correct an integrated tail unit is a fail, if the indicators interfere with the rear/brake light in any way.
      Hope this clears everything up for you.

      1. Martyn j says:

        Hi there. I’m currently customising a 98 xv535. I am fitting a side mounted number plate unit with integrated stop and tail light that’s e-marked so I know this is legal. However I’m planning on fitting another stop tail light on my rear mudguard . It’s only DOT approved but can I use this in the UK. I can’t find a definitive answer anywhere on websites. Thanks in advance…

        1. fasttrack says:

          Hi Martyn,
          The stop & tail light is fine in the number plate mount, as long as you don’t have any integrated indicators and emits a steady red light then you will be fine.
          Thank you,

  9. mick says:

    I have a Suzuki Volusia 2001 that was professionally converted to a trike, it has no hazard lights but has passed the MOT test for years. I have recently been advised that it will not pass now without fitting hazard lights, is this correct?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Mick,
      It depends on weight and a couple of of other items as to whether it needs hazards, but we are not sure as we don’t do the class. You need to try a 3 wheeler MOT station. Sorry we can’t give you more help.

  10. Kris Hughes says:

    Hi, I own a ktm 990 and I was looking at purchasing a bkmoto single HID projector light unit. This has a halo around the light and wold have orange led strips for turn signals as well. I will still have the original turn indicators. Does this meet the requirements for UK road laws as the unit is built into a Ktm original headlight unit?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hello Kris,
      as long as the headlight meets UK specification in terms of beam pattern and kick up of beam pattern, is adjustable up and down to meet the headlight aim requirements it will be fine.

  11. Jordan says:

    Hi there, I recently had a MOT which my bike failed it’s a 2003 Honda Cbr 600rr. It failed because I have a integrated rear indicator/ brake light unit which I purchased from demon tweeks it is E stamped. What’s your thoughts thanks J

    1. fasttrack says:

      Under British MOT law a integrated tail unit will fail if the indicators affect the brake light. So if your indicators are not in separate compartments it wont matter if it’s E stamped or not it’s still a fail.
      Hope this helps

  12. steve says:

    hi, i am considering swapping out my headlight but the replacements i am looking at, although dipped & high-beam (E-marked for road use), im not sure they have a fitted side-light. Is the sidelight a requirement for mot ?
    I have always believed the side light to be a legal requirement… is this not actually the case ?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      Side lights have to be fitted in order to pass an MOT.

  13. Richard Wells says:

    Could you please clear this up for me?

    I have a 1985 Honda H100S with rubbish electrics. I’m wanting to turn it into a cafe racer style bike. If I remove all lights and just leave horn, speedo, numberplate and rear reflector will it still pass an mot?

    Also planning on removing front mudguard, chain cover and removing pillion pegs and fitting a single seat. Would this still pass also? Are there any rules for amount of rear mudguard covering rear wheel?

    Sorry for so many questions.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Richard,
      If you want to remove the lights then you would have to put in for a daylight MOT. You would have to remove all the lights and indicators fitted. If you remove the pillion pegs and just have a single seat it would be a pass. For the rear mudguard, it doesn’t matter how much is covering the rear wheel, as long as it doesn’t have any sharp edges etc and is secure. You can remove the front mudguard completely and you would probably get an advisory but still pass. If you have removed the pillion pegs, then you wont need the chain guard, but again might get an advisory.
      Hope this answers all your questions

  14. Miller hopkins says:

    Hello I have a dtr 125 the rear running light has stopped working do I need one for mot the brake light and everything else works fine

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      If you are going for a full MOT and have all other lights then you would definitely need to have a rear running light. If you were going for a daylight MOT then you would have to remove all lights and indicators.

  15. callum says:

    hi I currently have a 50cc moped the headlight turns on with the ignition as it should but when I use the main beam ‘flash’ switch as I release it the headlight turns off completely would this fail?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Callum,
      the Headlight would need to stay illuminated once the high beam pass light has been released for it to pass the MOT.

  16. Chris says:

    Are side lights counted as part of motorcycle mot?
    Replacement headlight unit does not have one, or place to install one.
    Headlight comes on auto when engine started.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi there,
      You will need side lights fitted to the bike to pass an MOT.

  17. George O'Donnell says:

    Hi my scooter is due an MOT and I was gonna take it down tomorrow but the rear tail light is cracked not on the main facia so that to obscure the light but at top connection it’s currently taped on will it fail the MOT I have the part ordered just not getting delivered for a few days I really have to use the bike can you help me please

    1. admin says:

      Don’t panic! It should be fine as long as no white light shows through the cracks – use black insulation tape but don’t obscure the part of the light that shines red from the rear 🙂

      1. George O'Donnell says:

        Thanks that’s really appreciated I was a bit worried not wanting fail or get pulled over IV searched everywhere for somewhere in Glasgow that sells scooter parts but no luck so I ordered straight from the manufacturer but thanks for the feed back

  18. Mike Redmond says:

    Hi fastrack great service by the way, can I sit my number plate and lights on top of my rear mudguard would it be ok for mot. Thanks.

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Mike,
      Yes it would be fine as long as the number plate is close to vertical and must be illuminated by a small number plate light.

  19. rob says:

    chinese integrated indicators brake light, will the pass if not e marked?

    1. fasttrack says:

      To be 100% certain we’d have to see it, and is it a lens cluster or are all the bulbs withing the same lens because they need to be in a separate lens compartment.

  20. Michael says:

    Hi I’m just wondering if my bike will fail its mot due to not having rear pavilion foot pegs its a learner bike so I can’t carry passengers anyways but would it fail nether the less?

    1. fasttrack says:

      You always need to have pillion pegs if you have a rear seat. If you have a seat cowl/cover or a road legal enduro bike then rear pegs are not needed.

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