Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)
Table of Contents
Who Needs to take a Course?
In fact, compulsory basic training (CBT) is not a test (e.g. you do not pass or fail). It is a course that most riders need to take before riding a moped or a motorcycle on public roads and highways.
So, what is the purpose of the training? It helps to make sure riders can ride by themselves in a safe manner so they can continue practising for the full moped or motorcycle test.
Put another way:
Upon completion of your compulsory basic training, you will automatically have the entitlement to ride:
- A moped (providing you are at least 16 years old).
- A motorcycle up to 125cc and with a power output of up to 11 Kilowatts (providing you are at least 17).
You must be using ‘L’ plates to show you are a learner (L or D plates in Wales). You would need to take the CBT again, or stop riding on the roads, unless you pass the full moped or motorcycle test within two (2) years.
Note: Riding a motorbike without a valid CBT certificate can result in six (6) penalty points and a £1,000 fine.
You DO NOT need to take CBT training if you:
- Passed the car driving test before 1st of February 2001 and will ride a moped (no more than 50cc).
- Hold a full moped licence (by passing a moped test since 1st of December 1990) and ride a motorcycle.
- Hold a full motorcycle licence for one of the categories and want to upgrade your entitlement.
- Live and ride on certain United Kingdom offshore islands that qualify (see a full list of places below).
Learning to Ride Tips: Browse through a list of rules and regulations in the United Kingdom for further advice and help guides.
How to Book a CBT Test
Motorcycle training schools help beginners learn how to ride a motorcycle or moped. You can search online to find a motorcycle or moped CBT course near to where you live.
The cost of CBT test varies because each training school sets out their own course price. As a general rule, the area that you do the training, and whether you use your own moped or motorcycle, will determine the final cost.
Note: You may need to create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record with the training school before the course.
Preparing for your CBT course
A trainer will conduct the compulsory basic training course in a controlled environment (e.g. a circuit). But, they will stop the training if you lack sufficient knowledge of The UK Highway Code and road traffic signs to ride in a safe manner.
The new online motorcycle training – called Ride Free – is a course that you will need to complete before taking the moped or motorcycle compulsory basic training (CBT).
You will need to know:
- The primary road rules that apply to riders of mopeds and motorcycles.
- What actions other road users are likely to do around bike riders.
You can buy the ‘Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Ride‘ book online or from reputable book shops to help you prepare.
Note: The motorcycle training school may charge you again to retake the course if your trainer stops the training due to your lack of preparation.
Things to Take to the Riding Course
You will need to take your United Kingdom driving licence to the compulsory basic training course.
For CBT training you MUST wear:
- A motorcycle helmet that meets British safety standards (exceptions apply for Sikhs who are wearing a turban). Most training schools will provide a safety helmet for you to use.
- Motorcycle boots (or some other sturdy footwear that will support and protect your ankles).
- A leather or textile motorcycle jacket (a heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath serves a similar purpose).
- Leather or textile motorcycle trousers (heavy denim trousers may suffice).
- Motorcycle riding gloves (will be a different thickness for winter and for summer).
Note: Failing to wear suitable clothing means they may stop your course and charge you to take it again.
Riding Your Own Motorcycle or Moped
You would need a valid compulsory basic training certificate to ride your own vehicle on the roads to get to the course. An example would be to retake the CBT before the expiration of a current certificate.
Note: The short video [1:29 seconds] is the Official DVSA guide to compulsory basic training (CBT) for 50cc mopeds and motorcycles.
How CBT Training Courses Work
Learners should allow one full day to complete the compulsory basic training course (even though it may take longer for some riders).
The five (5) elements of the CBT approved training are:
- Introduction and eyesight check
- On-site training
- On-site riding
- On-road training
- On-road riding
Note: The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) produce extra guidance notes that explain how the CBT course syllabus works.
In short, the trainer will only allow you to move from one part onto the next when they are satisfied that you:
- Have learned and understand the theory elements.
- Have shown competency in the practical skills to a safe basic level.
The On-road Riding Part
The part designated for on-road training preparation part must last for a period of at least two (2) hours. See the section below explaining how to complain to the DVSA if your trainer cuts it short.
Training with Other People
It is not uncommon to train with other learner riders. But, CBT rules allow a maximum number of:
- Four (4) learners per trainer for the on-site elements.
- Two (2) learners per trainer for the on-road training parts.
You can also complain to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if your group has more learners than the standard allows.
After Completing the Course
You will get a ‘certificate of completion’ (also called a DL196) if you complete the CBT course successfully.
It also means you can ride a moped or a motorcycle up to 125cc and with a power output of up to 11kW on the road. Keep in mind that you would still need to display L plates (L or D plates in Wales).
If You Already Hold a Car Driving Licence
Having a car licence means you may be able to ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates and without having to take the moped test.
Car Test Passed since 1st of February 2001
In this case, you would get a full moped licence if (either):
- You pass the car driving test and then complete a compulsory basic training (CBT) course.
- You complete a CBT course and then pass the car driving test within the following two (2) years.
You can then ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates and you would not need to take the full moped test (for as long as your car driving licence stays valid).
Car Test Passed before 1st of February 2001
In this case, you would be able to ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates and there would be no need to take a CBT course (or the full moped test). But, you would need to take the CBT to ride anything with a bigger engine than a 50cc moped.
Note: The main section expands on the current rules for riding a motorcycle, moped, or motor tricycle in the United Kingdom
If You Ride a Motorcycle on Offshore Islands
You must take compulsory basic training (CBT) to ride bikes in:
- The Isle of Wight
- North Uist and South Uist
- Mainland Orkney
- Mainland Shetland
- Any other island that connects to mainland Great Britain by a road
Note: All of the other GB offshore islands are exempt from this ruling.
Complain about a CBT course
You can complain about the service that the motorcycle training school provided to you. A good place to start is the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you paid a person or a business to carry out a service.
Complaints about Standard of Training
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is the right place to contact if you are unhappy with the standard of training that you received.
Typical grounds for making a complaint include:
- The on-road training preparation lasted less than two (2) hours.
- The number of learner riders per trainer exceeded the recommended amount.
The basic information that they will want from you will be the:
- Name of the trainer and the motorcycle training school.
- Location address of the place you took the training (including the date and time).
- Details of why you feel unhappy about the training you received.
Replacing a Lost Motorcycle CBT Certificate
The same training school that conducted your CBT course will be able to provide you with a replacement motorcycle compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate. They may charge £20 for replacing it.
If the Motorcycle Training School has Closed Down
You should contact the DVSA CBT team (details above) if you are unable to find the same school that you attended. You will need to give them:
- The name of the motorcycle training school that you used.
- The address of the school and the date you took the course.
- A payment method for the £20 fee (e.g. a credit or debit card).
Note: You must inform the police if someone steals your CBT certificate. There is a specific phone number for reporting non-emergencies to the police.