Compulsory basic training (CBT) syllabus and guidance notes

Element D: practical on-road training preparation

Meeting the legal requirements to ride, attitude, positioning, separation distances, speed, anticipating what other road users may do, and preparing for developing hazards.

About this element

The aim of this element is to make sure the learner has all the information they will need to ride legally and safely on the road and to prepare them for the on-road riding element of compulsory basic training (CBT).

During this element the learner may feel they are revisiting issues already covered, such as being visible to other road users. Care should be taken not to skip over these sections.

This element should be used to reinforce understanding, to build on the practical skills elements and to re-emphasise how important these issues will be when the learner goes out onto the roads.

What must happen

The learner must be coached to understand:

  • the legal requirements they must meet before they can ride their vehicle on the road
  • the importance of making sure their ability to ride safely and responsibly is not affected by alcohol, drugs or medication or any other factor
  • that things that happen before they start to ride, such as having an argument with someone, and things that happen when they are riding, such as being cut-up by another road user, may make them angry or upset
  • the importance of not riding while they are angry or upset and of making sure they do not react badly to the stupidity or incompetence of other road users

They should also know and understand:

  • why motorcycle and moped riders are particularly vulnerable
  • why it is important to be seen by other road users and how to do so
  • how to use road positioning to be seen and how to maintain a safe space around them
  • the importance of maintaining a safe separation distance and how that distance will change according to weather and road surface conditions
  • the importance of riding at an appropriate speed for the type of road they are using and the road and weather conditions
  • the importance of trying to anticipate what other road users may do or what road conditions are likely, for example around a bend in the road
  • the importance of identifying potential hazards as early as possible
  • how to use clues to help them to prepare for developing hazards as early as possible
  • the importance of making well timed and effective rear observations
  • how understanding the rules set out in the Highway Code can help them to understand what other road users are likely to do and how they should behave
  • the key elements of the Highway Code that apply to riders of motorcycles and mopeds

What the learner must know and understand

The learner must know and understand:

  • the law relating to registration/taxation of motorcycles and mopeds
  • that they must have a minimum of third-party insurance covering them for the intended use of their vehicle
  • that they must hold a valid MOT test certificate for their vehicle if it is more than three years old
  • that any learner rider must display legally compliant, red L plates (in Wales either red L or red D plates, or both)

They should also know and understand:

  • the legal limits for the amount of alcohol they are permitted to have in their bloodstream when riding
  • that over-the-counter or prescription medicines can affect their ability to ride safely
  • how particular emotional states such as anger, grief, sadness and joy can affect their ability to ride safely
  • that their vehicle does not provide the structural protection of other vehicles.
  • that there are many situations on the road, particularly at junctions, when other road users fail to see approaching motorcyclists
  • that other road users may react to them in an inappropriate way
  • that weather, road surface and traffic conditions may have an effect on their ability to ride a vehicle safely and responsibly
  • the law about the use of dipped headlights during daylight hours and the operation of daytime running lights and fog lights if fitted

What the learner should be able to do

The main test of whether a learner has gained the necessary competence will happen when they go out on the road.

To show that they’ve reached the required standard, the learner should be able to:

  • show they have fully met legal requirements before they ride their vehicle on the road
  • confirm that their ability to ride safely and responsibly is not affected by alcohol, drugs or medication or by any other factor
  • explain some of the reasons why motorcycle and moped riders are particularly vulnerable
  • explain the situations in which they might be ‘invisible’ to other road users and what they can do to be seen
  • explain how they can estimate a safe separation distance
  • explain how they would change their separation distance to take into account weather, road conditions and speed
  • explain the sorts of clues they will be looking for to help them to anticipate road conditions and possible hazards
  • answer questions about elements of the Highway Code, including those about motorcyclists