Skip to main content

Improving moped and motorcycle training: one week left to give your views

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Learning to ride, Motorcycle trainers

Improving motorcycle training

At the end of December 2016, I took a detailed look at our proposals to improve moped and motorcycle training. Since then, we've received 1,690 responses to the consultation.

It’s also generated a lot of discussion on Despatch and social media.

With one week to go until the consultation ends, I thought it would be useful to talk about some of the most common themes that have been discussed.

The cost and complexity of getting a licence

We’ve heard from some people that these proposals will increase the cost and complexity of getting a motorcycle licence.

This is absolutely the last thing we want to do.

We’ll carefully weigh up the cost of making any of the proposed changes. We should be able to make many of them without increasing costs to riders and trainers. Some could even save trainers money.

Theory training

Some comments have suggested that more theory education would also be appropriate. This idea was identified in previous research into compulsory basic training (CBT).

In the consultation, we’re asking for views on suggestions that either require learner riders to:

  • pass a theory test (multiple-choice questions and hazard perception) before taking CBT
  • have their theoretical knowledge tested by the instructor, as part of the CBT course

How CBT courses work and what they include

We’ve been asked if bikers can receive tuition on filtering and whether we would add this to the current training.

The consultation includes a question about including filtering in the theory part of the CBT syllabus.

Some people have asked if there could be compulsory testing after a period of CBT certification.

We did consider limiting the length of time a CBT certificate is valid for, but decided that it would affect too many people. It would also increase the costs of motorcycling for a significant number of people, which we don’t want to do.

Retaking CBT if you get 6 penalty points

We want your views on the subject of riders who get 6 or more points having their CBT revoked. This would mean retaking their CBT before we would allow them to ride unaccompanied.

Some comments have suggested that the court should have the power to make a rider retake their CBT instead of it being automatically revoked. We’d have to think about this one carefully. Giving courts the power to make a rider to retake their CBT may be more complicated than revoking it.

Some people have also asked whether the number of CBT riders who get 6 points justify the proposed changes. We hope the consultation will help us answer this question.

Post-test training

Some people have asked how our proposals to improve training fit in with the enhanced rider scheme. We aren’t looking at post-test training in this consultation - at the moment we’re focussing on CBT and pre-test training.

However, we know that there’s more to do with the enhanced rider scheme. We’ve started talking to post-test trainers to develop options for improving this.

Training and testing for car drivers

Some people have commented that all learner drivers should have to take CBT course. We’ve considered this suggestion before, but it would be costly to introduce and there aren’t enough motorcycle instructors to do all the extra courses.

Some people have suggested that car drivers should have the same power restrictions and progressive training for licences.

The position for motorcycle licences comes from an EU Directive, and the government has no plans to limit the engine capacity that young or novice car drivers are able to drive.

We’re instead doing work to investigate what behavioural, technological and educational interventions are most likely to have a positive road safety benefit for young car drivers.

Don’t miss out on giving your views

The most important thing that you can do at this point is respond to the consultation and give your views.

Do take another look back at my last blog post where I looked at each proposal in turn if you need more information.

Fill in the consultation response form by 11:45pm on 17 February 2017.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Alan Campbell posted on

    I agree that there should be a stepped licence for cars as well as motorcycles. I fully appreciate the thinking behind the stepped licence which counters the ability of an inexperienced rider to buy and insure an inappropriate first large motorcycle provided they have enough disposable income but unfortunately the same cannot be said for car drivers. As this is an EU directive does that mean that the UK will repeal this requirement after BREXIT? In my opinion this would be a retrograde step.
    I speak from the point of 30+ years as a motorcyclist and car driver, I freely admit that early in both my driving careers I have had at least one 'inappropriate' vehicle for my experience level which would have been countered had there been a stepped licence system in operation.

    • Replies to Alan Campbell>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      To provide legal certainty over our exit from the EU, the government will introduce the Great Repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and convert the body of existing EU law into domestic law.

      This means that, wherever practical and appropriate, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after we leave the EU as they did before.

      Once we have left the EU, Parliament (and, where appropriate, the devolved legislatures) will then be able to decide which elements of that law to keep, amend or repeal.

    • Replies to Alan Campbell>

      Comment by Dave posted on

      Obviously if there is more power then irresponsible behaviour is going to translate to thrill seeking to exploit the car's power. Take that away and you'll still have people trying to drive the car they do have to its limit in an effort to gain some thrill or to show off. I don't get the feeling that high power car accidents are a result of the inability of the driver to control it while trying to remain within the law. It's caused by them treating the roads like a race track. That's down to mentality and that isn't necessarily remedied by limiting power to age. I see plenty of adults behaving like morons in their Audis, Mercedes and BMWs.

  2. Comment by John Leech posted on

    I think thathe car drivers should have to get experience driving a low powered car before they progress to a more powerful car like bike because at the moment they can pass their test and with no experience drive a 500bhp car and probably have an accident because they do not know how to handle the power. It is the same with motorcycles but with the stepped licence people get some experience before progressing the more powerful machinery.
    I also think that personal protection should be highlighted as the fools that are seen in the hot weather wearing shorts and teashirts are not true motorcyclists and give a bad image to motorcycling.
    They also push up our accident figures and insurance premiums because they are poorly protected when they have an accident.
    I also think that 16 year old schoolboys and girls need to be made aware that a moped is not a thing to show off on and give lifts and tows to your friends on their pushbikes. Which I see regularly in Lowestoft as this also give motorcycles a bad image not helping us with the public image of motorcycling. I hope this helps you .

    Yours sincerely

    John Leech

  3. Comment by John Francis posted on

    I to have had a full license for over 30 years and prior to the two part test when motorcycle training consisted of the bike shop sales rep pointing out the difference between the clutch and the front brake and if you want to go faster twist that bit harder. The predominant cause of accidents involving motorcycles needs to be properly investigated are there more accidents after 10pm. Are there more accidents in people who commute, do most accidents occurr at junctions. How many are solo motorcycle accidents. Is the motorcyclist always at fault. Could the biker have avoided the accident if his attitude was different. I am sure more training will improve the accident rate but also lower the number of new motorcyclists. And that to will lower the accident rate. However most accidents involve other road users and everybody needs more and cheaper training. Who are you trying train just young motorcyclist who need it the most or more mature riders looking for a cheap commute. The two part test killed a lot of motorcycling, the CBT is a good idea but all vehicles are on the road and all road user's need to show better awareness and consideration. Perhaps you should add politeness and curtesy to the test. Just a thought.

  4. Comment by Stephen Ravenhill posted on

    In a perfect world motorcyclists would be awarded the stepped program based on their ability rather than their age but the implications and costs of such an idea are simply not practical to introduce or enforce. However, if I had to choose one thing that would make things safer it would simply be to stop 16 year olds having the legal entitlement to travel on a national speed limit road such as a dual carriageway on a machine capable of only 28mph. This speed difference of up to 52 mph is potentially quite lethal. Lets improve the training and skill level and then up the capacity as soon as we can for 16 year olds as soon as is possible.

  5. Comment by Dave Bowen posted on

    First thing that needs to get sorted is the absolute farce of a A2 student having to do another Theory Test if they want to do the A licence when they reach 24 but haven't spent two years on the A2.

  6. Comment by Neil posted on

    I truly believe CBT. Is fit for purpose, yes let's change the category that if you learn and complete on a auto your only licensed to ride a auto,
    Theory it is covered in Cbt, there is online material which can be incorporated in Cbt training, Its all about making it fun ! 🙂

    • Replies to Neil>

      Comment by kev h posted on

      I speak as a minority I ride a geared scooter {vespa&lambretta} the full test puts a lot of us off because we can only take it on a motorcycle not the machine we used to riding ive been riding scooters on&off for 30 years&a lot of us in our 40s&50s are getting our scooters back but the current requirement means we cant use our scooters for the test&we have no desire to do the test on a geared motorcycle so we carry on doing the ctb every 2 years we have the road knowlage its crazy

  7. Comment by Graham Shipway posted on

    in terms of insurance for new drivers irrespective of age cars are grouped into bands, could one consider that having passed a driving test for the first 12 months that person is only allowed to drive a group 1 or 2 insured car, year two a group 3 or 4 grouped car year three a group 5 or 6 grouped car and so on, so that means the driver is restricted to the lower grouped cars and gain years worth of experience before driving the more powerful cars. m/c's could also be put under the same restriction. i know a person who is over 24 years old completed his CBT then passed his A1 m/c licece after 4 days training and went and bought a Kawasaki Z1000 sports bike and you guessed it spat him off within days. going form cbt (125cc to A1 unlimited) with very few road miles under his belt does that make any sense?
    Drivers are being taught how to control a vehicle within limited circumstances during their training period, how about teaching some sort of Roadcraft training without the progression. Teach drivers and riders how to asses bends and think for themselves. Driving and riding is all about Observation and Planning, if you do not see and identify a hazard or potential hazard no plan to deal with it can be made.

  8. Comment by Mike Wilkinson posted on

    Surely CBT for drivers doesn't need to be on motorbikes, and why is there no concern about the cost to motorcyclists when there is for drivers? Obvious double standards being applied - yet again!
    It seems that the vast majority of young drivers I see are always in a huge hurry with no sense of appropriate speed or lane discipline - just this morning, in pouring rain, a young female came haring into a shopping carpark, far too quickly and on the wrong side of the road completely - absolutely no regard for what could be around the corner or whether she had sufficient distance to stop in the conditions should there have been a hazard.
    I do firmly believe that every new driver should be given half an hour on a moped, or even a push bike, to let them see just what we have to go through just to ride.

  9. Comment by Paul Gillett posted on

    The review provides an ideal opportunity to improve the rules about L plates for motorcyclists. It is difficult (almost impossible) to fit L plates safely to many bikes. Even when fitted, they are often not clearly visible to other road users. A more practical alternative would be to permit L plate tabards. Arguably, this is also more logical, since the bike knows how to be a bike and thus doesn't need L plates: it is the rider who is learning! Unfortunately, L plate tabards are not valid under current legislation. The Republic of Ireland has taken the sensible step of making L tabards legal. Could the same be made possible for the UK in this round of changes?

  10. Comment by Ben Graham posted on

    As L drivers have to be accompanied, CBT for them is irrelevant and is a distraction to this issue. However, do you need CBT for riders who are only riding accompanied up to their test? I would suggest not - CBT could be to allow riders to ride alone only.

    All tests and training should reflect on the theory element, and it is not unreasonable for learner riders to have to demonstrate some basic theory prior to and during their CBT - after all, they are being allowed to ride unaccompanied at the end of it.

    I believe the actual practical tests for all vehicle categories should have some questions on theory to ensure it's retained.

    Finally, I note RPMT is not a selection option in the survey.

  11. Comment by Nick Roskelley posted on

    Having gained a cbt and survived to its expiry date , then having to retake a cbt smacks of typical UK gov cash cow mentality, and rather than encouraging someone to pursue further testing to gain a graded licence it puts them off ,I have spoken to many young people who just say they would like a bike licence but its much more expensive to get than the car licence,the motorcycle enthusiast has long been the government's minority group legislation experiment target.

    • Replies to Nick Roskelley>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Nick

      The purpose of the 2 year CBT validity period is to give learners some experience on the road and time to take further training before taking their full test.

      In the last 5 years, 1,763 motorcyclists lost their lives on our roads, many of them young people, and the accident rate by distance travelled has hardly changed over that period.

      We believe that the risks motorcyclists face on the road could be reduced by more realistic and individually tailored training, delivered by better-qualified instructors.

  12. Comment by Sally D posted on

    As a petite woman in my 50s with Autism I have failed three times to pass my test, having ridden quite happily on a 125cc bike for 6 years, but 600 is way too cumbersome for me and I blew my budget. It's just impossible to get up to speed on a 125, but I could probably pass on. 250 if the test wasn't so restrictive. Why not have a system where you can pass on a bike under 300cc and then move up to a bigger bike after say 5 years, if you want to? But no, it's all about money these days.

    • Replies to Sally D>

      Comment by Bridget Jamieson posted on

      Exactly my problem, I am 54 with 38 years driving experience, have ridden 125 for almost two years daily in London but I just want to progress to a 250 not take a test to ride a 650 and pay out over £500!

  13. Comment by Yazz bailey posted on

    How about introducing the same type of testing system for new car drivers as we have for motorcycles. More young idiots kill or maim themselves or others in vehicles that are powered higher than their experience allows.

    • Replies to Yazz bailey>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Yazz

      The position for motorcycle licences comes from an EU Directive. The government has no plans to limit the engine capacity that young or novice car drivers are able to drive.

      We’re instead doing work to investigate what behavioural, technological and educational interventions are most likely to have a positive road safety benefit for young car drivers.

  14. Comment by Cliff F posted on


    The CBT is a good thing. Instructors should be praised for the effort they put in emphasising the safety aspects not only for motorcyclists but for all road users.

    Statistics, make of them what you will. And most organisations do.

    The risks motorcyclists, and in fact all road users face on the road would be reduced by more training for all vehicle users. The standard of driving by so called "professional" is abysmal despite the introduction of CPD.

    Instructors are constantly being told they have to be better teachers, but you seem to avoid the point that a pupil has only one goal i.e. To get their driving licence as quickly and cheaply as possible. This includes avoiding professional instruction if possible by having some other licence holder sit in the car while they practice. Are we the only EU country that doesn't make it compulsory for a car driver to have professional instruction before being allowed out on the road with a relative/friend?

    An increase in direct policing of roads and driver/rider behaviour would also combat the current disregard for numerous areas of the Highway Code.

    Cliff ADI retd.

  15. Comment by Philip posted on

    I agree with the comment about having better quality instructors but also for the dvsa to recognise that a cbt course should Not be about delivering the minimal basic requirements and should be delivered in a way that gives a new rider the Best start in their career on two wheels. Having worked in most regions of the country as an instructor, the delivery of cbts is shocking with some Atbs cutting every corner possible. There are some good ones out there but they get swamped by the bad.
    If a Cbt is done right there is no reason a competent 125 rider should have problems with the Mod 2 part of a full bike test. The SAME process for everything a person does on a 125 does not change on a bigger engined bike.
    To treat a Cbt differently is criminal with some 125 machines having a top speed of 80+ mph which is the same as some small city cars.
    Even 60mph is still 60mph regardless of the size of the bike. An accident at this speed is going to cause major harm or even death. The bikes engine size is irrelevant.
    I've known instructors to shout, and swear, and intimidate students across the board which is unacceptable.
    Student bikes that are barely legal or safe that have been motd on site that should not have been allowed on the road.
    Un taxed and no current mot, as well as stolen bikes being used.
    As I have said there are a few good ones, one being in Cambridge (not sure if it's still there, as well as Long Marston among others. BUT..
    Any improvements to the cbt should start with instructors and to have their house in order. Then for the DVSA to bite the bullet and bring in a 2 day minimum Cbt course to cover the highway code in depth on day one and up to element D.
    The following day should concentrate on a full day of riding and road craft as there would be the time to get new riders to a higher standard than currently.
    No short cuts.
    Dont get me wrong, as I enjoyed my time as an instructor and there are a lot of good people in the industry but they are hamstrung by a system that currently does not work and is barely fit for purpose.
    By not wanting to impose extra costs on a new rider, the dvsa has hamstrung itself and the training industry. To most people an extra days charge would not impact their lives and the lives of their loved ones as much as paying for a funeral for an accident that could have been avoided with a little extra training.
    The extra fees would also be welcome by ATBs who struggle year to year for survival.
    I have trialled a 2 day Cbt and it lead to a 90% first time mod2 pass rate.

    Dvsa can get my email address from this comment and I hope they get in touch as it will open their eyes.