Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

The first step to gaining a full motorcycle licence

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is your introduction to riding a motorcycle. No previous experience is necessary, and completion will give you 2 years to gain your full license or you will have to take CBT again. It’s compulsory for all prospective bikers, unless you passed your driving test before 1 February 2001, or have a full moped license gained after 1 December 1990.


CBT was introduced to help reduce the number of accidents caused by inexperienced riders. It provides the basic skills you need to ride safely on the road while you work towards getting your license. It normally takes just one day, although some riders need a little longer to successfully complete all 5 elements. We recommend paying for an extra half a day with an instructor to boost your confidence and ability.

Successful completion will allow you to ride a moped or motorbike up to 125cc on the road. You’ll still need L plates until you pass your full test.

Tuition is usually in small groups or pairs, though 1 to 1 training is often available on request. Prices normally include bike hire, as you won’t legally be able to ride yours to the training centre. You may also be able to hire protective clothing if you don’t have your own yet. You will just need a provisional license, a rough knowledge of the Highway Code, and a desire to learn. Click here for details of CBT course providers in Somerset.

Here’s an outline of what’s included in the syllabus:

Element A – Introduction & Eyesight Test

  • aim of the compulsory basic training course
  • legal requirements for course attendance
  • importance of the correct attitude to riding
  • demonstrate a basic understanding of the Highway Code and the legal requirements for riding on the road
  • importance of right equipment and clothing, including the correct fitting and securing of safety helmets

Element B – Learning the controls of the motorcycle

  • familiarity with the motorcycle, its controls and how it works
  • carry out basic daily and weekly machine checks
  • take the bike on and off the stand(s) safely mounting and dismounting the bike
  • wheel the machine around to the left and right showing proper balance and bring to a controlled halt by braking
  • start and stop the engine satisfactorily

Element C – riding practice off-road

  • ride the machine under control in a straight line and bring to a controlled halt
  • ride the machine slowly under control
  • carry out controlled braking using both brakes
  • change gear satisfactorily 
  • ride the machine round a figure of eight circuit under control
  • negotiate simulated bends safely
  • steering to avoid a collision
  • carry out rear observation correctly
  • carry out simulated left and right turns from major to minor roads and when emerging at junctions
  • carry out U-turn manoeuvre satisfactorily
  • bring the machine to a stop under full control as in an emergency

Element D – Road briefing and safety talk

Understand how to reduce the following risks:

  • your attitude to riding
  • visibility and vulnerability
  • ride defensively using hazard perception and anticipation
  • use rear observation at appropriate times
  • ride at the correct speed, road position and separation distance according to the road and traffic conditions
  • drug and alcohol use
  • passengers and loads

Understand the correct procedures for CBT Certificate dealing with:

  • varying weather conditions and road surfaces when riding
  • bends
  • roundabouts
  • one way systems
  • traffic light controlled junctions including multi lane junctions
  • dual carriageways, including the use of acceleration and deceleration lanes
  • filtering in traffic
  • incidents and first aid
  • eco-safe riding

Element E - practical on-road riding

  • traffic light/signals controlled junctions including multi lane junctions
  • roundabouts
  • junctions
  • pedestrian crossings
  • gradients
  • bends
  • obstructions
  • dual carriageways, including the use of acceleration and deceleration lanes
  • independent riding



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Somerset Road Safety aims to reduce collisions and casualties on local roads.

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