Taking The Road To Motorcycle Riding

By Ryan Welsby

In the UK, one thing that many teenagers who turn 17 want to do first is start working towards their driving licence. A driving licence gives a level of freedom and opportunity, not normally afforded to someone of this age before. However, with it can come the stresses of equal spells tedium and road rage. There is another option... Motorbikes!

The first thing one needs to get on the road on a motorbike, is to complete Compulsory Basic Training (or the CBT for short). The CBT is basically an "orienteering" course giving the beginner rider the opportunity to get used to riding a motorcycle in a designated off-road area an under the supervision of experienced instructors. Once successfully completed, the new rider is allowed to ride on the road without supervision - but with 'L' plates' - for up to 2 years, giving them the opportunity to build up experience riding on roads.

Once completed, learners are then able to move onto their full motorbike test. The motorbike test is split into a theory test and two modules of practical testing. The multiple choice theory test must be completed first, followed by a module of off road manoeuvre and hazard testing and a module of straight forward 'on the road' riding. This then allows the newly licenced motorcyclist to ride any bike up to 25kW engine power - which (very!) roughly translates as 250cc - for two years, after which the rider can ride a motorbike of any power.

However that's not all - if the learner rider is 21 or over, they can instead opt to take their practical test via the Direct Access scheme. It involves taking fundamentally the same test but using a higher powered motorcycle than the standard 125cc machine, and when completed gives the new motorcyclist immediate access to any sized bike. Learners looking to take the Direct Access Scheme are allowed to practise on the large motorbike only under the supervision of an instructor.

Most new bikers will opt for the standard test with the two year "probationary" period - meaning getting used to the world of 125cc motorbikes, a perfect starting step into a life of motorcycle riding.

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