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Obtaining a Motorcycle Licence

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 20 Jun 2012 | comments*Discuss
Obtain Motorcycle Licence Car Dvla Cbt

Ever fancied experiencing the freedom of the open road, on two wheels instead of four? People turn to motorcycling for a variety of different reasons, for example to avoid the grind of the daily commute, or simply to explore the countryside at weekends. Whatever your goals, if you want to ride a motorbike you’ll need to obtain your licence first.

Basic Training

Back in the early 1990s the DVLA introduced a Compulsory Basic Training course (known as CBT), in order to reduce the excessively high rate of accidents that were involving inexperienced motorcyclists.

It is now a legal requirement for any motorcyclist to have completed the CBT before taking to the road as a learner rider.

The course itself comprises five main elements. These include a classroom-based introduction, practical riding instruction, both on-site and on-the-road training, and no less than two hour’s of practical, on-road riding.

Would-be riders are expected to complete all of these five CBT elements, although the order in which they are taken can be varied. A learner will not be able to move on to the next element of the CBT until the instructor is able to confirm that they have demonstrated the necessary skills to ride at a safe, basic level.

Theory Test

Riders who have successfully passed the CBT (and provided they already have a provisional drivers licence), can then take the next step towards obtaining a full motorcycle licence, by taking the motorcycle theory test. Drivers should note that although previously having a full driving licence meant that they were not required to take the motorcycle theory test, this is no longer the case.

During the theory test, candidates will be asked 50 set questions, with a pass mark of 43 out of 50. Candidates need to be aware of the Highway Code, with a good understanding of the traffic signs and all of the study material available through the Driving Standard’s Agency.

Details of how to take the theory test are available from the Driving Standards Agency, and once that the theory test has been passed, then a learner has a period of two years in which to pass the practical motorcycle test.

The Practical Test

The new practical motorcycling test was introduced in 2009. It is completed in two distinct modules. The first module consists of specific riding manoeuvres conducted at pre-determined speeds. These manoeuvres take place away from public roads and on safe ‘off-road’ testing sites.

The second module is similar in scope to the standard car driving test, as it consists of the standard eyesight test, several road safety questions and a further 40 minutes of road riding. During the second module the rider will be expected to negotiate a variety of different traffic and road conditions, as well as completing standard manoeuvres such as hill stops and angled starts.

After You’ve Passed

Having passed your test, it is always worth investing in the best protective gear, including a high quality helmet that fits well. Wearing tough clothing is always sensible and it doesn’t have to be leather. Bright colours will also prove helpful in ensuring that other road users can see you more easily.

A well worn phrase amongst bikers is that new riders reach their skill limits long before they ever reach the limit of what their bikes can do. New drivers should try to know their limits and avoid putting themselves in a position where they are riding too fast or harder than they feel comfortable with.

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