Despite what you might have been told, there’s no such thing as a daytime MOT. There’s only one kind of MOT, and you can only either pass it or fail it. But when someone says they’ve taken all the lights off their bike, or have put a ‘daytime MOT’ on their trackbike, they’re not really lying. What they mean is that they’ve got an MOT with an advisory. An advisory that says something along the lines of “this vehicle was not fitted with lights at the time of its MOT test therefore can only be used during the hours of daylight”. Like other advisories on your MOT certificate, you don’t have to do anything about them… it’s just a bit of ‘advice’.
Unlike many other MOT advisories though, the ‘daytime MOT’ advisory is a manual advisory. That means rather than picking it from a list of things like “brake pads slightly worn” or “tyre tread depths nearing legal limit”, the MOT tester has to type it in manually. That’s one of the reasons the daytime MOT thing can be a little bit ambiguous; because different testers write all sorts of different things, and it’s rarely just ‘daytime MOT’!
But although, officially, there is no such thing as a ‘daytime MOT’ it is possible to MOT your trackbike; but there are still quite a few things you need to think about.
This is probably the biggest part of the daytime MOT question. You can pass an MOT without headlights, but if you don’t intend to use them, they have to be completely disabled. So you can’t just ask for a daytime MOT, if you’ve got a headlight bulb out. To satisfy the ‘completely disabled’ criteria, it’s not uncommon for some testers to want the switches removed as well; which can be a pain if the headlight switches are part of a big switchgear.
Some people will tell you that if you remove one light, you must remove them all. But that’s a load of nonsense. In the MOT manual, it states that a brake light is not required, but it doesn’t say you’re not allowed one. Whilst you don’t need one, it’s a good idea to have one. Especially if you’re intending to do many miles on the road, whatever time of day you’re riding.
You don’t need mirrors for an MOT. If you have them, they have to be secure, but if you don’t have any, they shouldn’t fail you.
You don’t have to have a standard exhaust, but if it’s an extra noisy one, take a baffle with you. There is no official noise limit for the MOT, but if you take the piss with an ear-splitting MotoGP spec end can, the tester can fail you, at his discretion.
This one is fairly simple; don’t turn up with the slicks on from your last trackday. And ‘Not for Highway Use’ means exactly that, as far as your MOT man is concerned.
Whether you are looking to put a so-called daytime MOT on your bike, or a standard one, it needs a number plate. And do yourself a favour by putting a full size one on. A small number plate is an easy fail.
Like the number plate, everything o the road needs a horn, or some sort of audible warning device, so it’s important for the MOT. It has to be operated by a button and have a continuous tone, so don’t try and be a comedian with your Dukes of Hazzard dixie horn.
You don’t actually need a speedo for the MOT, but they are required by the Construction and Use Regulations, so if you get pulled by the old bill without a speedo, you could be in hot water. Best to fit one.
You don’t need a side stand for an MOT, but if you’re planning on trying to put an MOT on your trackbike, it’s worth trying to get hold of a side-stand, if you can. If nothing else, it’ll stop your MOT tester from getting too pissed off.
When can I ride it?
If you haven’t got lights on your bike, and you’re MOT certificate states that you can only use it during the hours of daylight, you can only use it during the hours of daylight. That means if all the other cars on the road have got their headlights on and the street lights are starting to fire up, it’s time to park it. In fact you probably should have parked it an hour ago. If you get pulled when it’s getting dark with no lights, you might find the copper’s fairly unsympathetic. And by the time you’ve explained your ‘daytime MOT’ to them (and they’ve had time to check you’re not making it up), it will be dark. Then you won’t be going anywhere. So don’t risk it; make sure you’re home well before dark.
Find out more
If you’re planning on getting an MOT for your track bike, it’s a good idea to talk to the MOT tester beforehand. Because the rules can be a bit ambiguous, it’s best to find out how he interprets them, before you take your bike to him.
If you want to know more about the MOT regulations, you can go online and check the manual yourself. As you’ll see, there are many things that can be interpreted in a variety of different ways; that’s one of the reasons the whole Daytime MOT thing is so confusing for some. Find it at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-motorcycles