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Passing Your CBT Test for Motorbikes and Scooters

Updated on June 28, 2010

The CBT Test (which is also known as compulsory basic training) is a compulsory step you have to take to get your motorbike or scooter licence. The idea behind it is sensible enough in one way but also pretty stupid in the way it gets put into place. But stupid or not you have to do your CBT training to get your motorcycle licence so this is what you need to know.

The Origins of the CBT Test

The CBT test was introduced in 1990 to try to cut down on the number of motorcyclists getting killed on the roads every year in Britain. The numbers were pretty high and the government was especially worried about teenage riders getting onto their little 125cc bikes and then zooming in front of buses and lorries. Even today if you look at the accident rates and statistics, the two groups of riders most likely to get hurt are young riders who have no experience and middle-aged blokes who go through a mid-life crisis and buy a superbike that they can’t manage. Anyhow, the government reckoned that if they forced everyone to do a day of safety training before they could ride their bikes then it would help cut down on road deaths. Nice enough idea I suppose but a bit of a waste of time too. Its also expensive. Even if you look around for cheap CBT training you'll still end up paying through the nose because an instructor has to spend a whole day telling you stuff that you should already know if you have any common sense when in fact it would probably be better for all involved if the focus was on more advanced rider training. The CBT license for scooters is the exact same as the CBT motorcycle training (and do I even have to say that for mopeds it is is the same too), so it does not matter what you plan to ride, you have to do this training course.

What does it entail?

The CBT test is a pretty strange one, because it is not really a test so much as a day of doing what you are told. In theory your instructor can fail you (or at least say you did not complete it properly) and refuse to give you a certificate. In truth, I think you have to really make them angry to get them to do that. They get paid for doing the day’s training, not for certifying you as a safe driver. Anyhow, they hope you will stay on and do your module 1 and module 2 motorbike training with them. So they want you to like them and to come back to their school. The truth is I’ve seen plenty of students paying very little attention and being real hazards out on the road but still getting their certificates at the end of the day. So just remind yourself. This is not a test. Just try to stay awake, answer a couple of questions and do your best in the practical sessions. Oh yes, and be polite to you trainer. Most of them are pretty decent sorts and they live motorbikes. They actually want you to stay alive on the road, which is hopefully something that you want too so try to pay attention.

The training is divided into a theory part, an off road practical part and then a bit of time on the road with the instructor.

The theory part is pretty dull and covers things like protective clothing, helmets and the law. Boring as it is this is stuff you should pay some attention to. If your instructor is good they will show you some of the consequences of doing stupid things. Have you ever seen what someone’s face looks like after they came flying off a motorbike wearing an open-faced helmet. For your sake I hope not and hope you never do. Suffice to say it is horrible enough that when you go out and buy a helmet, get one with full face protection. The same goes for what happens if you come off your bike wearing nothing much more than shorts and sandals. This is stuff that you do want to know about. Naturally if you are 16 and have just got a 50cc moped and are feeling really chuffed,you think bad stuff only happens to other people so you’ll be joking with your mates at this point. If you’re middle aged you will probably be paying lots of attention and will then buy the best leathers you can get.

The practical on-site riding is simple enough if you’ve been on a motorbike before. A lot of it is driving in little circles, doing figures of eight, learning to u-turn and stop and all the rest. If you are brand new to a bike this is a good time to wobble your way through and try to get a feel for it before you have to go out on the road. This is also the time that you need to learn to do things like “lifesaver” glances. This are key and should become a habit if you want to be a safe rider. It means checking your shoulders and mirrors just about any time before you do a major change. The lifesaver itself is a check right over your shoulder and covering your blind spot. This really is key. If you are turning right and crossing traffic, or changing lanes, this should be second nature to make sure there isn’t another bike or a 10-ton truck zooming up behind you and overtaking just as you swing right. Also get in the habit of checking your mirrors before you slow down to be sure, once again, that a big red bus doesn’t flatten you.

These may seem tedious but this is the most important part of the day. Try to pay attention here. Even if you don’t care about the fact that this is the stuff that will keep you alive, it is certainly the stuff that will allow you to pass your module 1 and module 2 motorbike tests. The instructors there will be looking closely for these. Your CBT trainer won’t fail you, but the module 1 and 2 test instructors are looking for any excuse to mark you down and fail you. So pay attention closely during your motorcycle CBT training and you will be in a better position to pass your module 1 rider’s test which comes next, just as soon as you’ve studied for and passed your theory test.

You don't want this to happen to you


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    • LibertyLiterature profile image

      LibertyLiterature 7 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      Nice hub. Vote up + Useful!