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How to get a motorbike licence

Pass your test with flying colours and you'll be on your bike in no time.

bike in sunset

You’ve bought your bike, the leathers fit like a glove and your crash helmet is shiny and new — but before you can hit the road, you’ll need to pass your motorcycle test.

Completing the basic training

Before you head for the open road, you’ll need to complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course. Use gov.uk to find your nearest training body.

It’ll cost around £120 and you’ll spend a day riding around cones learning the basics of motorcycle roadcraft. It’s not a test, it’s training, and what’s more, you can’t fail.

The CBT will ensures that you have some competency before hitting the highway and is valid for two years.

You can even hire a bike and riding gear from the training centre. That way, if you fall off, it won’t be your bike that gets scratched.

Once completed, you can practice to your heart’s content, until you feel ready to take the full test.

The theory test

Motorbike riding at sunset

Before you’re eligible for your full licence, you need to take a theory test, which costs £25. It’s a two-part test on Highway Code knowledge and hazard awareness using video clips.

Practice tests are available from the Driving Standards Authority. Once you’ve passed this, you can book a date for your practical test.

Going direct to a full licence

If you're over 24 years old, you qualify for Direct Access to ride a Category A bike.

The only way of doing Direct Access before you’re 24, is if you’re 21 and have held your A2 licence for two years.

The cost of a Direct Access course could range between £500 and £900, depending on how experienced you are and where it is.

The practical test

Pass both modules and you can ride away from the super-centre on a bike without L-plates.

Once you’ve passed your theory, there are two practical test which cost from £90.50, depending on when you take them.

The first module is an off-road manouevres test which should take around 30 minutes and will include cone-dodging, low-speed handling assessments, an emergency stop and more.

The second module is on-road assessment and it should take about 40 minutes.

You’ll be instructed and directed by the instructor through an ear piece for majority of the test, apart from a section where the learner will be asked to drive independently.

If you need more information, visit gov.uk website for more detail about the practical test over at gov.uk.

Come well prepared

Learner sign being ripped

You might find that your test is cancelled and your fee is lost if you come unprepared for the test. Here’s what you’ll need to wear:

  • A motorcycle helmet that meets the minimum British or European safety standards
  • Motorcycle boots or other sturdy footwear
  • Leather or textile motorcycle trousers and jacket
  • Motorcycle gloves

Here’s what clothes you should consider wearing once you’ve passed your test and you’re out and about.

What happens after the test?

The examiner will go through and explain any faults you may have made on the test.

If you pass, your examiner will normally arrange for your licence to be issued, but if you’re not eligible you’ll need to send the test pass certificate to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

If you don’t pass, the instructor will explain why you failed to help you prepare for your next test. You’ll have to pay the full amount again to re-do the test.

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