In order to get out on the road, you’ll need to pass Compulsory Basic Training, or the CBT for short. You can take CBT from the age of 16 and, until you pass, you can only ride with a qualified instructor in radio contact with you at all times. Once you’ve passed, you’re eligible to drive on roads – although you’ll still need your L-plates. You’ll also be limited to a 50cc bike, and you can’t drive on motorways, or carry pillions. If your bike was manufactured after 2004, it will need to be limited to 28mph.
Once you have turned 17 you can ride a 125cc bike, but with all the same rules and limitations as before. As of 2013, you can’t take the full motorcycle test until you’re 24, but there are plenty of interim tests you can take – such as the A1 and A2 – to prepare you for the full Cat A license. For now though, we’ll look at what you need to know for your CBT.
What to expect
A CBT course can usually be taken over the course of one day, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be – it depends on how quickly you advance through each of the five stages:
- Introductory theoretical training, including an eyesight check
- Practical training – at a training area rather than on a road
- Practical riding skills – at a training area
- Briefing and training before riding on-road
- Practical riding on-road
Each of the first four stages lasts as long as it takes for you and your instructor to feel comfortable with your progression in both theory and safe practical skills. The fifth stage works on the same principle, but has a compulsory minimum duration of four hours. You’ll get a logbook on the day of your CBT, which your instructor will use to record your progress.
How to book
CBT training can only be conducted by an approved training body – use the gov.uk website to find the one nearest you, they have a really useful search function. Once you’ve found them just give them a call – but keep in mind that there may be waiting lists.
Using your own bike
You can use your own bike for your CBT – it just has to be legal for you to ride it. It must also have a current MOT, full-size L-plates on the front and back, and be fully taxed. The gov.uk website lists the rules and regulations in full, so check your bike against them to be sure.
Your own bike will also need to be properly insured. It’s best to give yourself plenty of time to arrange your moped insurance before CBT training begins so it’s all in place in time for the course.
You will need, at the very least, third party insurance cover in place on the day to use your own bike for the CBT.
The majority of CBT courses are run with two students per instructor, but if you’re feeling nervous and want some extra help then you may be able to arrange a one-to-one session with the test centre you use – just ask them! Don’t rush yourself, either – you don’t have to complete the whole course in one day, so take your time.
Make sure you have the right safety gear, too – wear your helmet and boots, gloves, and a weatherproof jacket. Some training schools will provide protective trousers and jackets, so make sure to ask when booking your training.
So best of luck with your CBT – it’s your first step in to the biking community, and we hope to see you on the road soon!