An increasing number of people like our reader are changing their commuting habits. And that means they’re switching from cars to scooters or motorbikes.
What is the CBT test?
CBT is short for compulsory basic training. It’s actually not a test but a course. It ensures you’re safe to ride on your own on the road while you practice for your moped or motorbike tests.
Once you take a CBT test, you can ride a moped up to 50cc if you’re 16 or over, and a motorcycle that’s up to 125cc or 11kW (15hp) if you’re 17 or over.
If you don’t have a valid CBT and you’re caught riding a motorbike, you can be fined up to £1,000 and get six penalty points on your licence.
How easy is a CBT test?
Like many things in life, it’s pretty straightforward as long as you’ve done your CBT prep properly. It is designed to ensure that you’re a competent rider on the road so it will include elements like familiarity with the bike’s controls. It also features basic maintenance, bringing the bike to a halt and using the bike’s stands for parking.
The aim is to make you as safe as possible so you’ll be coached in navigating junctions, visibility and so on. And you’ll have to complete some manoeuvres like doing a u-turn and emergency stop.
There are five parts to it:
Introduction and eyesight check
Once the trainer is happy that you’re competent in each part, you’ll move to the next stage.
How long is CBT training?
The test will last for around a day and should include at least two hours of on-road training.
You’ll be with up to one other trainee plus instructor on the road. On-site, there might be up to four trainees per instructor.
You must then pass a full moped or motorcycle test within two years or you will need to take the CBT again.
What you need before training
You must have a basic knowledge of the Highway Code and traffic signs. Knowing the rules of the road that apply to moped and motorcycle riders is vital too. And you must have the right clothing.
That includes the correct boots, an approved helmet, textile or leather trousers and jacket and motorcycle gloves. If you’re not properly clothed or don’t know the Highway Code, the tester can stop the test at any point.
Once you’ve got the training
If you passed your driving test on or after 1 February 2001 and hold a car licence you can ride a 50cc moped without learner plates. You do not need to take the moped test. If you want to ride a bigger bike, you need to take the appropriate test.
Do you always need a CBT test for motorcycles?
No you don’t. If you want to ride a moped up to 50cc and you passed your driving test (for cars) before 1 February 2001, you don’t have to complete the training. You do need a CBT to ride anything bigger than 50cc.
Neither do you need a CBT if you have a moped licence from passing a moped test since 1 December 1990. And you don’t need one if you already have a full motorbike licence for one category and want to upgrade to another.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.