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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. Dan Mc says:

    why does my front and rear lights flash when i use the indicators?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi,
      You need to check the earths for your indicator/headlight wiring. If you have aftermarket indicators then it could be a problem with resistance from the new indicators. Either way it needs to be fixed before an MOT test as this is a failure.
      Thanks

  2. Matt 000789 says:

    Ive just fitted led indicators on my bike and changed relay as that was broke but when i turn ignition on indicators dont blink but are slightly lit but when engines running everythings fine would this be a fail?

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi,
      It sounds like your battery is low, but if they work completely fine when its running then its an MOT pass.
      Thanks

  3. sebastian says:

    hi i have a malaguti f12 50cc (moped) will it pass the mot with european headlights is the a way to go round the wrong beam pattern?

    1. admin says:

      Yes mate. Simply use tape to make the beam horizontal 😉

  4. Miike says:

    I’ve got a KTM 950 adventure. This has two fuel tanks left and right.

    My tanks are off being painting but I need to MOT in the bike in the meantime.

    I have a spare tank, but only one. Is the bike likely to pass an MOT with only one (left side) fuel tank attached? Everything else operates normally.

    Oh and I’ve removed the screen due to buffeting.

    1. admin says:

      As long as everything is secured properly and there are no fuel leaks (may have to blank off the second tank filler pipe) there shouldn’t be any problem.

  5. Craig Marshall says:

    What does ‘reflect squarely to the rear’ mean? Does the reflector have to be at 90° to the road or can you stick it to the bottom of the number plate even if that is angled up slightly.

    Thanks.

    1. admin says:

      It needs to reflect a light that shines onto it from behind so it depends on how steep the angle is. Generally though a reflector stuck to a number plate is a pass.

  6. I have a 1979 Harley Davidson 1200cc ,the brake light only comes on when I press the rear brake peddle ,will this pass a British mot ,,,Thanks for any help ,,

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi,
      Both brake levers must operate the brake light unless the bike was manufactured without a front brake switch. If it was manufactured without the switch it will pass the MOT.
      Thanks

  7. Ross Hutchings says:

    Hi,
    I own a 02 Yamaha Thundercat. the front position light/side is inop but both dip and main beam are fine. I have been told by local bike MOT centre that it will fail for the position light being inop. can you confirm whether or not it is a fail as, at the top of this page, it says that it is considered a separate light.
    Many thanks
    Ross

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi,
      The side light not working is just an advisory not a fail.
      Thanks,
      FTMC

  8. Adam says:

    Hi there,

    This is a great site and thank you for answering all these queries!

    I have a dual-sport supermoto which currently has factory indicators and a switch on the handlebars.

    If I remove the indicators, but leave the switch on the dash (which will become redundant) is that a fail, and would I need to also remove the switch? Or option three, fail either way?

    Thanks,
    Adam

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hi Adam,
      I’m glad you like the site!
      And if you take the indicators off you can go through a daylight MOT and it will pass with the switch on as long as you don’t have any other lights. If you tried to do a normal MOT it would fail because you don’t have indicators.
      Thanks,
      FTMC

  9. patrick says:

    Hi there, looking to get a 2006 Lifan back on the road after 6 years in the shed.
    One clear indicator lens has disappeared, but the yellow indicator bulb still functions, will this be an MOT failure? Currently trying to source a replacement lens..

    1. fasttrack says:

      Hello,
      Yes not having the lens is a pass providing that the bulb gives off an orange light.
      Thanks,
      FTMC

  10. chris says:

    Hi, I am looking to replace my current headlight, do they have to be e marked?

    Thanks Chris

    1. admin says:

      All that is important is the beam pattern. If that is correct it will be fine.

  11. Alan says:

    Hi, must the headlamp move with the steering or is it OK to be static with the line of the bike? That is – effectively front mudguard mounted.

    1. admin says:

      Um. I’m not sure I’ve *ever* seen a bike with a headlight that moves with the steering. Would prove very odd when cornering at speed. I’m pretty sure it would fail an MOT too! Yes, a static headlight will be fine…

  12. Keagan Van De Merwe says:

    Hi I have a yamaha YZF R125 and I want to mod the bike to have the low beam stay on when the high beam is switched on to have better visibility in the dark would this be legal. Also I am considering putting in a hid kit (white) as well as a angel halo and led strips like audi does to their cars would this be legal as well

    1. Keagan Van De Merwe says:

      By the way the hid’s will be in projector housing use the normal switch for low and high beam and all the other stuff will have a separate switch

    2. admin says:

      None of this should be an issue as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the beam pattern and height 🙂

  13. Mark Stringer says:

    Hi, I have an imported Honda VT1100 Aero which has the front indicators on constantly and obviously flash when required. Is this ok for an MOT and is it legal?

    1. admin says:

      As long as the indicators use a two filament bulb -in other words the running lights are dim and the indicators are bright – it should be fine.

  14. Omar says:

    Hi there, I recently crashed my CBR125r and the front fairing, including the headlight, have been removed. So the bike only has rear brake light, horn, the reflective cirlces, only the rear indicators and the two mini lights that you see connected to the wiring and into the headlight unit. Would it be possible to ride bike only in daytime without getting any trouble from the UK police, bearing in mind that i’d have to be using hand signals when i want to turn

    Also i was thinking of converting the bike into a streetfighter and using those headlights in the link below, which are E-marked. So wondering if i would pass an MOT if it had those headlights, with all sets of indicators, refective circles and working brake light

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/PAZOMA-Matte-Black-Dominator-Headlight-w-28-34mm-Brackets-Streetfighter-Motorcycle-Headlamp/32244519379.html?spm=2114.40010308.4.67.ajFEBG

    1. fasttrack says:

      You would be able to have a daytime MOT if you removed all lights and indicators from the bike. However you cannot ride until you have a daytime MOT.

      As long as everything else is in order those headlights should be fine for a normal MOT if you fixed the other lights, reflectors and indicators.

  15. Dan says:

    Hello. I am military getting ready to move to a new duty station. I have a US-spec Honda CBR500R. The front turn signals on the bike are dual-filament bulbs, so they act as running lights in addition to turn signals. Will I need to obtain “E” spec turn signals to get this bike legal on UK roads or will it be OK as is?

    1. fasttrack says:

      That should be fine because they’re dual filament bulbs. 🙂

  16. Bart says:

    I trawled through the questions but didn’t find what i was looking for. I’m building a cafe racer and am stuck in terms of the rear lights. I found a LED strip with integrated rear/brake/indicator lights, which is a flexible, waterproof stick on unit.
    Would that pass an MOT if stuck to the rear of the hump/seat? Is it seemed ‘securely fit’ enough? Bike is a pre ’86.
    Also, as to the reflector – rules mention keeping it on the longitudinal axis of the bike, so down the center line. My reg plate is to the side of the frame – would a reflector stuck to the plate be okay, or does it need to be stuck onto the center line, on the hump?

    Cheers!

    1. fasttrack says:

      The led strip depends on how far the lights are together, as sometimes they are too close together, it is down to the examiners discretion. The reflector has to be down the centreline of the bike.

  17. Dave says:

    My apologies if this has been covered already, two many comments to read them all. I have a 2003 900 diversion, a friend told me if I remove the indicators and mask off the switch it will pass the mot as there’s nothing to test. Is this true or will I fail?

    1. fasttrack says:

      That is false, indicators must be fitted to any bike manufactured after 1986, unless it is a daytime MOT

  18. Rueben says:

    Hey, lots of good info here. Apologies if my issue has already been addressed.

    I have recently picked up a 1993 Yamaha rxs100, originally a commuter style, but I’ve adapted it for off-road capability. Trail bars, tyres, removed passenger pegs, chain guard, battery and indicators. Question is: will this qualify as an off-roader to make lack of indicators legal? If not is it just a case of shortening my seat or will it always remain a commuter in the eyes of an mot tester?

    Thanks

    1. fasttrack says:

      If there is space for a pillion then there has to be pegs. What you’re asking for is a daytime MOT which is achievable so long as you tape up or remove all of the lights ( including the brake light).

  19. Andrew says:

    Hello, I have a 2015 GSX-R 750 which is primarily a road bike which I will also want to use on track. It will always have a full MOT (although at the moment it doesn’t need one) for proper road use.

    Will I be able to remove items such as the lights, indicators and mirrors (in case of a spill) and still be able to legally ride it to and from the track during daylight hours?

    How are daylight hours defined by law?

    I guess I’m asking what I can remove from the bike and still ride it legally on the highway for a day.

    1. admin says:

      Hi. The MOT test is simply a test that the vehicle needs to pass on the day is is tested. Thereafter it is the rider’s responsibility to keep the bike roadworthy at all times. In theory then, the bike should be able to pass an on-the-spot MOT at any time whilst it is being used on the road. To pass a daytime MOT you would need to remove *all* lights, including (believe it or not) the brake light… That said, I’m not trained in law so I can’t guarantee you wouldn’t get fingered if you were stopped with no lights at all and produced a normal MOT…

      Maybe you could remove it all, get a daylight MOT and use a trailer when it’s dark…

      There is no legal definition that I am aware of in regard to ‘daylight hours’ but ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ are pretty well defined by the met office…

      Hope that helps 🙂

  20. Paul says:

    Hi. Recently got hold of a headlight for my cafe racer build which is a perfect fit/look, only thing is the beam dips to the right – it is e marked. Can I use beam deflectors or tape it to make it legal ?.

    Useful site this, thanks for taking the time.

    Paul

    1. fasttrack says:

      you can use tape to make it a flat beam. 🙂

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