If you’re reading this, like me, you intend to get your motorcycle license. Before considering these 7 simple steps to get your motorcycle license, you may want to ask yourself, why do I want it? In my case, it was for the fun of it, and most importantly, because it is, for the Londoner I am, the fastest and most effective way of commuting. I must say that since I am riding a bike, time to commute have been reduced to the extant that I can get many things done within a day, unlike when I used to rely on London transport. The day I bought a bike, I bought my freedom of movement in the true sense. One thing I must tell you before going further, is that riding a bike may result in life-changing injures, and even death, have we not all bumped into some rider in bad shape lying in the middle of the road? I don’t want to put you off, but it is worth giving it a thought before jumping on the bandwagon.
Step 1: Getting your Provisional Motorcycle License
You first need to get a provisional Category A license. You are exempt from getting the provisional Category A licence if you hold a full car license. You can apply online for a provisional license if you don’t already possess one.
Step 2: Getting your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)
Completing your compulsory basic training is a must before riding any motorbike o the road. Please note that this is not a test, but an assessment on your riding skills to ensure you ride safely before issuing your DL196 certificate.
Choose the motorcycle Driving centre Carefully!
Make sure you choose the motorcycle training school carefully and rely, if possible, on independent reviews. You want to ascertain that you gonna get the best training at a decent price. Note that the CBT Certificate allows you to ride either, automatic or manual motorbikes, regardless of the type of bike that you rode on your CBT training day. My advice to you is, if you want to ride a manual bike, you may want to pass your CBT on a manual one. The automatic remains the easiest option, but in terms of acquiring the necessary skills to riding a manual bike, this will not help, unless you intend to do a ‘Gear Conversion Course’ afterwards, but again, this will come at a price. It is in my humble opinion best to start your training on the bike type that you intend to ride after undergoing the CBT training, and cost-effective (in the long term). Remember that the skills you acquire during the CBT training will be applied later for the full license, so don’t belittle this foundational step. if you get things right from the outset, you’ll spend less money and energy in trying to rectify things later on.
STEP 3: GETTING YOUR THEORY TEST CERTIFICATE
The Theory test is quite straightforward. You will need to know the Official Highway Code, as well as practise hazard perception skills. There are plenty of apps out there to get fully prepared, as well as software and books. The test consists of 50 questions based on the Official Highway Code, and you need 43 right to pass. You’ll also watch 14 video clips that feature common scenes on the road that contain at least one developing hazard. One videos contain two developing hazard situations. You get points for spotting the developing hazard (by way of clicking a mouse). The earlier the hazard spotted, the higher you score.
STEP 4: GETTING YOUR OWN GEARED BIKE
If you haven’t ridden a geared bike before, I believe you should not hasten into getting your Direct Access Scheme (DAS), or unrestricted motorbike license for two main reasons:
Safety and cost-effectiveness. Knowing how to ride a bike doesn’t happen overnight, same with driving. It takes quite some time for new drivers to learn ‘the ways of the road’. Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and you don’t want to be learning and getting experience on a motorbike with a powerful engine (a 600CC for instance, or even bigger), as any mistake may come at a hefty price. Also, it may take the beginner many hours to get to the level to be able to successfully pass the motorcycle test, and this, needless to say, will come at a cost. I have myself come across a driving school more than willing to take my money when I just got my CBT, but when calling another driving school, I was actually advised to gain road experience, and then get back to them. That was the soundest advice I was given, and despite having been in haste at the time to get my full license, I went with it. My riding after a few months on my Honda CBF 125 had much improved, and by the time I started my motorcycle training course, I was much confident dealing with a bigger engine, and my instructors didn’t have to give me much instructions (apart from a few bad habits that I had picked up).
STEP 5: FIND A RELIABLE AND ADEQUATE MOTORCYCLE TRAINING CENTRE
If you feel confident about the training centre where you underwent the CBT training, then stick with them. Remember that CBT training and DAS training are two different kettle of fish. Many CBT instructors aren’t qualified to direct access scheme qualified instructors, and many training centres don’t have adequate facilities, especially to get you prepped for MOD 1 (in my case, the car park wasn’t spacious enough to have real test conditions, although it was ample to practise all manoeuvres). Still, I believe that a reproduction of the actual test centre circuit layout would have been ideal. Choosing the training centre is paramount and I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. There are many unethical centres training centres willing to unscrupulously take your money. Find also a centre with that has adequate facilities, especially for the module 1 training. The training centre’s off-road manoeuvring area should ideally be identical to the one in the test centre, in terms of space and layout. For many of us, test days are stressful days, and the more practice you have, the less chances of failure. Click here for further details on MOD 1 test.
Pay a Visit to the Training Centre Before Committing
Visit the training centre to make sure they have all facilities to make your training smooth. Have a chat with instructors.
Avoid instructors who smoke, as they will take every opportunity to stop for a fag under the guise of “breaks to reenergize yourself’. Whilst some breaks may be needed, extended ones as well as too many should ideally be avoided, especially considering the money one spends in getting trained. Every minute counts. Also, make things clear from the outset, and if possible, ask instructors to supply you with a timetable to which you would both stick. When lesson starts, ends, breaks, and so on… This ideally should be clarified before any money in given, and should be defined in writing. Training centres don’t hesitate to come up with their own terms and conditions such as “if you’re late, trainers reserve themselves the right to cancel the lesson”, so don’t hesitate to come up with your own terms, so as to ensure the training goes smoothly.
STEP 6: GET INDIVIDUAL PRACTICE AND LEARN TEST ROUTES
I remember having failed a car driving test on my way back to the test centre. Had it not been because of that fault, I would have passed. This was due to the fact that I didn’t have much practice around the test centre and didn’t know test routes. As I had written earlier, the more the practice, the less the stress on test days. You will be familiar with the road layouts, ever-changing speed limits, and the immediate surroundings. This would definitely put you at an advantage. You will also put theory into practice, and work on things that were pointed at by your instructors. This will act as a rehearsal for the day you will have an audience member watching your every moves. You can download test routes from websites, and although they may not reflect your actual route on test day, they will definitely get you acquainted with the test centre area and surroundings.
STEP 7: GET PLENTY OF REST BEFORE THE MOD 2 TEST AND HAVE FUN
- Now it’s the moment of truth, and if you followed all the above tips, you are in a better position than those who didn’t. Make sure you get plenty of rest as tiredness will impair your judgement and make you less responsive. Bring all your documents with you including driver’s license, CBT, theory test pass certificate, CBT certificate, module 1 test pass certificate. The module 2 test take about 40 minutes and includes:
- an eyesight check
- “show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions (make sure you have revised that and know them well)
- road riding
- independent riding
You have done all that is humanely possible to get your full license, now it’s time to have fun. Remember that the examiner is not there to fail you. If your riding is safe and no serious faults is committed, he’ll have no choice but pass you. Focus on not committing any such mistake, follow the road, and you’ll be just fine.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line, and I will gladly answer.