CBT - What is it and what does it entail?

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT for short) was introduced in 1990 in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents learner riders were having. Of course, training existed prior to CBT but it didn't stop people buying bikes and riding off on them without any training - hence the accidents.

Over the intervening years since CBT was introduced, the number of learner riders having accidents has reduced and this is thought to be attributable to CBT.

So, what is CBT?

it is COMPULSORY - every one (well not quite) is required to do it before they are allowed to ride on public roads unaccompanied by a qualified instructor. The only people who escape CBT at the moment are those who want to ride a moped and already hold a full car licence issued before the 1st February 2001 but even they are being encourage to go through a CBT course in the interest of safety.

it is BASIC - to use a ladder as an analogy, gaining a CBT Certificate is being able to put your foot on the first rung of what is a very long training ladder indeed. In fact, one without an end! It is designed to give you the minimum amount of experience and knowledge to be able to ride relatively safely on our busy roads. The amount of practical on-road riding experience given during CBT is very limited so everyone completing CBT is advised and encouraged to go on to take further training as soon as possible, if not straight away.

it is TRAINING - not a test. That comes later.

CBT can usually be completed in one day but if more time is required to complete the course, it will be allocated. Time is not the essence - safety is!

There are five parts to CBT, some theoretical and others practical. You must display an understanding of the theoretical parts and an acceptable degree of competence in the practical riding skills before being able to progress from one part to the next. If all is satisfactory with the theoretical and practical off-road riding elements, the course ends with an on-the-road session accompanied by an instructor who is in radio contact with you.

So long as everything is completed to the instructor's satisfaction (who is following the guidelines set out by the DSA), you will receive a CBT Certificate which validates your licence and allows you to ride a bike of up to 125cc on the road unaccompanied by an instructor. 'L' plates must be displayed however and pillion passengers are not allowed. Motorways are also forbidden at this stage.

A CBT Certificate is valid for 2 years. Failure to pass both the Teory Test and the Practical Test within that period will lead to its cancellation and CBT will have to be retaken to validate your licence once more. But don't wait this long. Further training is absolutely essential.

Next you will need to take your Theory Test.