Compulsory Basic Training
CBT in London

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Training: Driving Standards Agency (DSA)

Compulsory Basic Training for Motorcyclists and Moped Riders
This information will help you have a safe and enjoyable motorcycling career. The starting point for learners is the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course which was introduced in 1990 to help reduce the very high accident rate among inexperienced motorcyclists.

Your full car licence also gives you provisional motorcycle entitlement for learner machines (up to 125cc)

The course is conducted by training organisations that have been approved by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). All learner motorcycle and learner moped riders must complete a CBT course before riding on the road.

Also, with effect from 1 February 2001, all new car drivers wanting to validate the full moped entitlement granted with their full car licence, must complete a CBT course.

CBT courses can only be provided by Approved Training Bodies (ATBs). To gain this approval ATBs must have:

  • Instructors who have successfully completed a 2-day assessment by DSA examiners
  • Sites approved by DSA for the off-road training aspects of the course

Most ATBs offer the loan of machines and helmets for the course. The CBT course syllabus includes five elements that have to be completed in sequence:

  • Element A – Introduction.
  • Element B – Practical on-site training.
  • Element C – Practical on-site riding.
  • Element D – Practical on-road training.
  • Element E – Practical on-road riding.

When you have satisfactorily completed all five elements you will be issued with a Certificate of Completion of Training (DL196).

This is a legal document which serves to validate the relevant entitlements on the driving licence. It is important that the holder of a DL196 certificate considers the following points:

  • All DL196 certificates issued before 1 February 2001 are valid for 3 years from the date of issue.
  • A DL196 certificate issued after 1 February 2001 validating a provisional moped or provisional motorcycle entitlement lasts for 2 years. CBT will have to be re-taken if both theory/practical tests are not passed within the 2-year certificate life.
  • A DL196 certificate validating a full moped entitlement is not subject to expiry.

You do not have to take CBT again if you hold a full motorcycle licence and wish to obtain a licence for another category of motorcycle.

With effect from the 1 February 2001 riders completing their CBT course on a moped with more than 2 wheels or who use a motorcycle/sidecar combination will be restricted to riding those machines as a learner.

The motorcycle entitlement on provisional motorcycle licences issued before 1 February 2001 expires after 2 years. The law has now changed and holders of these licences can apply to have the licence replaced with one that will include provisional motorcycle entitlement valid to age 70.

Replacement licences should be applied for from DVLA using the normal application forms (available from Post Offices.

Once you have your Certificate (DL 196) you are advised to take additional training to pass your tests and qualify for a full motorcycle or moped licence.

CBT must be completed before riding on the road by all learner riders (and moped riders using a full car licence gained after 1 February 2001) who are resident on mainland Great Britain, islands that are connected to the mainland by a road, and the following islands: Wight, North Uist, Lewis, South Uist, Harris, Benbecula, mainland Orkney and mainland Shetland. Residents of all other islands will be exempt from the need to take CBT, but only if riding on roads which are on an exempt island.

Theory Test

You will need to pass a Theory Test before taking a practical test for a moped or motorcycle. You do not need to take a Theory Test if you have passed a moped test since 1 July 1996.

The Theory Test Pass Certificate is valid for 2 years. The practical test must be passed within this period otherwise the Theory Test will have to be taken again.

Full Motorcycle Licence Options

There are 2 types of full motorcycle licence to aim for:

  • A light motorcycle licence (A1) which restricts riders to any bike up to 125cc and a power output of 11kW. The practical test must be taken on a bike of between 75cc and 125cc.
  • A standard motorcycle licence (A) is obtained if the practical test is taken on a bike of over 120cc but not more than 125cc and capable of at least 100km per hour.

After passing the standard motorcycle practical test you will be restricted for 2 years to riding a bike of up to 25kW and a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.16kW/kg. After this you may ride any size of bike.

Direct & Accelerated Access

However, riders age 21 or over, or those who reach 21 before their 2-year restriction ends, have other options.

Direct Access

After taking CBT and the Theory Test the practical test may be taken on a motorcycle with a power output of at least 35kW. A pass allows you to ride any size of bike.

All or part of the CBT course may be taken on either a learner bike or a large bike. You may practise for the practical test on bikes larger than the learner bike specification provided:

  • you are accompanied at all times by an approved instructor on another bike and in radio contact
  • you wear fluorescent or reflective clothing and follow all other provisional licence restrictions.

Accelerated Access

Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the 2-year period where they are restricted to maximum 25kW machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35kW.

They may practise on bikes over 25kW under the same practice conditions for Direct Access riders. You will revert to learner status while practising (on a motorcycle greater than 25kW) although test failure will not affect your existing licence.

Sidecars

Learners who wish to ride with a sidecar can practise on a combination with a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.16kW/kg.

On obtaining a standard licence, you will be restricted to a combination with the same power/weight ratio for 2 years.

At age 21 learners may, only within Direct or Accelerated Access, practise on a larger combination. But the test must be taken on a solo bike (although physically disabled riders can use a combination).

Examples

1kg = 2.2 lbs; 100kmh = 62 mph (approx); 1bhp = 0.75kW;
14.6bhp = 11kW; 33bhp = 25kW; 46.6bhp = 35kW; bhp = brake horse power.

Mopeds and Motorcycles

A moped is a motorcycle that has the following features:

  • Maximum Design speed not exceeding 50kmh (approx. 31mph).
  • An engine capacity no greater than 50cc.
  • Can be moved by pedals, if the moped was first used before 1 August 1977.

A learner motorcycle has the following features:

  • Engine up to 125cc.
  • Power output not exceeding 11kW.

Licences

Full Car Licence: If you have a full car licence, you are automatically entitled to ride a moped without L-Plates although if the licence relates to a car test passed on or after 1 February 2001 you must first complete a CBT course and obtain a DL196 Certificate to validate your entitlement.

Your full car licence also gives you provisional motorcycle entitlement for learner machines (up to 125cc) i.e. you may ride a motorcycle as a learner with L-Plates and NO pillion passengers or motorway use after completing CBT.

Provisional moped

You can only hold this if you are at least 16 years old. It entitles you to ride a moped on the road as a learner with L-Plates and NO pillion passengers or motorway use.

Your provisional licence is only valid when you have the DL 196 Certificate issued on completion of CBT by an ATB. A CBT certificate obtained on a moped is also valid for motorcycles once the rider has reached the age of 17 years and has the necessary licence.

Full moped licence

A full moped licence automatically gives you provisional motorcycle entitlement. However, you must be at least 17 years old to take up the provisional entitlement.

Provisional motorcycle licence

You can only hold this licence if you are at least 17 years old. It entitles you to ride a moped or a learner motorcycle (up to 125cc) as a learner with L-Plates. You MUST NOT carry pillion passengers or use motorways.

The motorcycle entitlement on provisional motorcycle licences issued before 1 February 2001 expires after 2 years.

The law has now changed and holders of these licences can apply to have the licence replaced with one that will include provisional motorcycle entitlement valid to age 70.

Replacement licences should be applied for from DVLA using the normal application forms (available from Post Offices).

Further Information

If you have any queries or require details of your local approved training bodies, please contact the Driving Standards Agency on 0300 200 1122.

For more information contact your:

  • Local Motorcycle Dealer
  • Local Authority Road Safety Officer
  • Motorcycle Rider Training Association

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