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Learning how to ride a moped or motorbike

Before you can ride a moped or a motorbike on UK roads, you’ll need to take Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).

The CBT is a one day training programme and although it’s not a test with a pass or fail element, the instructors will be looking closely to ensure that you’re safe enough to ride on the roads.

Watch the video to see what to expect from the CBT and read on below for more details about the course.

The Driving Standards Agency recommends that anyone wanting to ride on two wheels takes the CBT but there are some exceptions.

If you have a car driving licence and passed your driving test before 1 February 2001, you don't need to complete a CBT to ride a moped.

But If you want to ride a motorcycle you must apply for a provisional motorcycle licence and then complete the CBT.

You also don’t need to take the CBT if you have a:

  • full moped licence from passing a full moped test after 1 December 1990
  • full motorcycle licence for one category and want to upgrade to another

Once you’ve completed the CBT, your certificate allows you to ride on the road if you’re displaying L plates (or D plates in Wales) for two years, after which you’ll have to take it again.

The CBT is the first step to two wheels and will allow you to go on and take the full motorcycle theory and practical test to ride more powerful bikes.

What the course involves

The course is divided into four elements.

Element A

Eyesight check – your instructor will ask you to read a number plate from a distance

Equipment check – your instructor will go over the basic safety equipment, including helmets and clothing.

Element B

This will be an introduction to the motorcycle/moped. You’ll learn how to start and stop the engine, stand the vehicle correctly and will cover the basic controls, like brakes, speedo and throttle.

Element C

This part of the course involves learning how to ride on-site at the motorcycle training centre. It covers basic maneuvers, safety checks, emergency stops, slow control of the bike, left and right turns.

Element D

The final part of the course puts everything from element C into practice on the road. You have to demonstrate to an instructor that you can ride on the roads for two hours; although you’ll be accompanied and receive instructions through an earpiece for most of it.

At the end of the day, providing you’re deemed to be a safe and competent rider, you’ll receive an official DVLA certificate to show you have passed the Compulsory Basic Training.

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Lois Avery

Lois Avery

Lois joined in 2010 after working for Dyson and as a local newspaper reporter in Wiltshire. After a year writing financial journalism at, Lois won the 2011 'most promising newcomer' at the BIBA journalist of the year awards.

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