1. First things first, you need to get a licence. This is the easy part as all you need to do is get a passport photo of yourself signed by someone professional such as a teacher, lawyer, policeman or doctor and pop down to your local Post Office, fill in a form and pay for it. If you already have a valid passport you can even apply online.
2. The next step is to do a CBT course. This validates your provisional moped/motorcycle entitlement and gives you a basic understanding of the bike and the road.
3. The CBT teaches you all the basics including choosing the right equipment. You can use this knowledge to kit yourself out with jacket, gloves and helmet etc. All that matters then is the price.
4. Buying your bike is next. There’s a lot of choice out there so spend some time deciding exactly what you need, what you can afford and what you want. My blog has an article called ‘Choosing the Right Bike for You’ which might help if you’re a bit stuck.
5. Tyres wear out, bulbs stop working, suspension gets saggy and it will al be your fault. Well it certainly will be if you don’t fix it and then have an accident. By law the roadworthiness of your bike is your responsibility and no one else’s. You must also have a valid moped MOT.
6. Insurance is compulsory. The level of cover is not. If your bike cost 50 or so and you can afford to replace it if you make a mistake or it gets stolen (and even 50 ‘wrecks’ get joy-ridden) then third party cover will do. Otherwise it’s worth looking at fire and theft cover too. Comprehensive cover is usually cost-prohibitive to the average 16 year old as it will often be almost as expensive as replacing the bike outright
7. You also need to buy vehicle tax. Mopeds are reasonably environmentally friendly and consequently they are extremely cheap on tax. In 2009 the road tax fund for a motor bicycle is only 15. It is available from most Post Offices and you will need to take the Vehicle Registration Certificate (or the green tear-off slip if it was a recent purchase), a valid MOT for the bike and proof of insurance with you.
8. The last legal requirement is L-Plates. Large white squares with a big red ‘L’ in the middle to tell everyone you have absolutely no idea what you are doing on the road anyway. So they should please stop beeping or gesticulating when you cut them up because you knew no better You *did* pay attention in Step 2 didn’t you?
9. The best bit. Fill up with petrol (and oil if it’s 2-stroke), put on your helmet, gloves and jacket and off you go. The world is a much better place on a moped.
John Vincent, author of the moped spot and www.fasttrackmotorcycles.co.uk is a part time motorcycle instructor, father of twin boys and husband to the internet. Or so his wife says.