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Approved motorcycles for learner and restricted riders

Updated: 31 July 2014

On 1 October 2012, new rules came into effect that change the types of motorcycles learner and restricted licence holders can ride. The rules, which aim to improve motorcycle safety, include the introduction of a new motorcycle rating system.

The rating system, known as the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) is an initiative of the road safety strategy Safer Journeys.

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LAMS identifies a range of motorcycles appropriate for learner and restricted Class 6 licence holders, based on their level of experience. The scheme determines appropriate motorcycles based on the overall performance capability of the motorcycle.

Learner and restricted motorcycle riders now have a wider range of motorcycles to choose from and need to ensure the motorcycle they are riding meets the new criteria.

LAMS-approved and prohibited motorcycles

There are two categories of LAMS motorcycles: LAMS-approved and LAMS-prohibited motorcycles.

LAMS-approved motorcycles are determined by two factors:

  • a maximum power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne (the power is that specified by the manufacturer and the weight is the weight specified by the manufacturer plus 90kgs for the rider and riding gear); and
  • an upper engine capacity limit of 660cc.

Motorcycles and scooters with an engine capacity of 250cc or under are automatically LAMS-approved, with the exception of a small group of 250cc motorcycles are not approved for learner and restricted riders due to their high performance capabilities.

Learner or restricted licence holders who rode one of these 250cc motorcycles before 1 October 2012 have the option to apply to the Transport Agency for an exemption, which may enable them to continue to legally ride this motorcycle.

The full lists of LAMS-approved and LAMS-prohibited motorcycles can be found below. The lists will be updated as new models are approved by the NZ Transport Agency.

Please note

Any motorcycle modified in a way that increases its power-to-weight ratio is no longer LAMS-compliant, regardless of whether it appears on the list.

If you are a rider on a learner or restricted motorcycle licence, it is your responsibility to ensure you are riding a LAMS-approved motorcycle, as produced by the manufacturer. If in doubt, seek confirmation from the manufacturer's agent or dealership. If you are unsure who to contact, details for all major motorcycle importers are available on the Motor Industry Association website (external link).

Failure to comply with the new rules may result in fines and demerit points.

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Applying to have a motorcycle added to the approved or prohibited Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme lists

LAMS-approved list

If there is a motorcycle you believe should be on the LAMS-approved list and it fits the primary criteria of being between 251cc and 660cc, and less than 150 kilowatts per tonne, you will need to submit a formal application to the Transport Agency for consideration. Vehicle specifications for the motorcycle should be gathered from your motorcycle manufacturer.

LAMS-prohibited list

If there is a motorcycle with an engine capacity of less than 250cc that you believe should be on the LAMS-prohibited list, you will need to submit a formal application to the Transport Agency for consideration.

Application forms

Complete either of the following forms and mail to: Assessments Team, NZ Transport Agency, Private Bag 6995, Wellington 6141, or email it to exemptions@nzta.govt.nz.

Requests received prior to the 20th of each month will be considered for addition to the LAMS lists, and if approved, will be published on the first working day of the following month.

Further information

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For further information: