Motorcycle training in the UK


If you want to ride a motorbike on the public highway in Great Britain you need to take appropriate motorcycle training from a qualified instructor. To start with you need to obtain a provisional licence, although if you already hold a full drivers licence for a car that will suffice, and then undertake a Compulsory Basic Training course.

The CBT course will teach you the basics of how to ride a motorcycle and can be completed in one or two days, depending on how quick you learn. Once you have taken a CBT course you will be permitted to ride a motorcycle with an engine size of up to 125cc and a power output of 14.6bhp, although you will have to display L plates and you must pass your full motorcycle test within two years or retake the CBT course. While you are riding on L plates you cannot ride on the motorway or carry a passenger.

In order to get your full motorcycle licence, you will first need to pass a theory test – a simple multiple choice test designed to ensure you understand the rules of the road. Providing you take appropriate motorcycle training, most people should have no problem with the theory test as it’s mostly common sense stuff and as long as you take the time to prepare properly, it’s unlikely that you’ll struggle with it.

Motorcycle training for the new test

As of April 27th 2009, all new riders will have to take a two part practical test, which has been introduced by the Driving Standards Agency to reduce the number of accidents involving motorcycles. Because the new test is likely to be even more demanding than ever, the need for an extensive course of motorcycle training is even higher.

Proper motorcycle training is essential for your safety
Proper motorcycle training is essential for your safety

The first part of the test will last approximately twenty minutes and requires riders to complete a series of manoeuvres on an off-road site:

  • Two or more low speed manoeuvres, one of which must be a slalom
  • Two or more higher speed manoeuvres,  one of which should be carried out in second or third gear at a speed of approximately 20mph and another which involves avoiding an obstacle at a speed of higher than 32mph
  • Two or more braking manoeuvres, including an emergency stop from a minimum speed of 32mph

You will not be allowed to take the second part of the new motorcycle test until you have passed the first part. The second part of the test is almost an hour long and will require you demonstrate your ability to ride safely on the public road in a variety of different traffic conditions, as well as answering several road safety questions and passing a simple eyesight test (usually reading a standard number-plate from a set distance).