3. What happens during the motorcycle practical test

The practical motorcycle test is split into 2 separate modules:

  • off-road module
  • on-road module

You need to pass both modules to get a full motorcycle licence.

You can book both modules at the same time, but you must pass module 1 before you take module 2.

If you don’t pass module 1, you must wait 3 full working days before you can retake it.

Cancelling module 2

You have to give 3 full working days’ notice to cancel your module 2 test. Otherwise you’ll lose your module 2 test fee.

You should leave a long enough time between the 2 modules so you don’t lose the module 2 fee if you don’t pass module 1 first time.

If you don’t pass module 2, you have to wait 10 full working days before you can take it again.

Reporting for your riding test modules

You need to bring certain documents with you and a suitable moped or motorcycle.

Clothing rules

You must wear:

  • a motorcycle helmet that meets British safety standards (this doesn’t apply if you’re Sikh and wearing a turban)
  • motorcycle boots or other sturdy footwear that provides support and ankle protection
  • textile or leather motorcycle trousers or heavy denim trousers
  • a textile or leather motorcycle jacket or a heavy denim jacket with several layers underneath
  • motorcycle gloves

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you don’t meet these standards.

Module 1: off-road manoeuvres

Module 1 is the off-road module and normally takes about 20 minutes.

It includes:

  • wheeling the moped or motorcycle and using the stand
  • riding a slalom and figure of 8
  • a slow ride
  • a U-turn
  • cornering and controlled stop
  • cornering and the emergency stop
  • cornering and hazard avoidance

There is a minimum speed for the hazard avoidance and emergency stop exercises:

  • for mopeds this is around 19mph
  • for motorcycles this is around 31mph

Motorcycle manoeuvring area

Module 1 takes place in a safe off-road area called a motorcycle manoeuvring area. The layout of the area depends on where you take your test.

You can download diagrams showing the different types of layout.

Module 2: on-road riding

Module 2 is the on-road module and normally takes about 40 minutes.

You must bring your module 1 pass certificate to module 2, plus all the documents you had to bring to the module 1 test.

What happens during module 2

Module 2 includes:

  • eyesight test
  • safety questions
  • road riding
  • independent riding

The eyesight test

You’ll have to correctly read a number plate on a parked vehicle.

The vehicle will be at least 20 metres away if it has a new-style number plate, and 20.5 metres away if it has an old-style number plate.

New-style number plates start with 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, for example AB51 ABC.

You’ll fail your test if you can’t pass the eyesight test. The test won’t continue.

You can write down what you see if you can’t speak English or have difficulty reading.

Vehicle safety questions

You can download a list of all the safety questions you could be asked by the examiner.

Road riding

You’ll ride in a variety of road and traffic conditions. You’ll be asked to carry out:

  • normal stops
  • an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle)
  • a hill start (where possible)

The examiner will give you directions using a radio. They will normally follow you on a motorcycle.

Independent riding

You’ll have about 10 minutes of independent riding. This is designed to assess your ability to ride safely while making your own decisions.

At the end of module 2

At the end of module 2, the examiner will give you the result and feedback. If you pass, the examiner will explain to you how to change your provisional licence into a full licence.

Your riding test result

At the end of each module the examiner will tell you if you’ve passed or not and give you feedback on your riding.

When you pass module 1, you’ll get your module 1 pass certificate which you’ll need when you take module 2.

When you pass module 2, you’ll be told how to claim your test pass and get your full licence.

Types of faults

There are 3 types of faults that can be marked:

  • a dangerous fault - involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public or property
  • a serious fault - could potentially be dangerous
  • a rider fault - not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

Module 1 pass mark

You need to make 5 or fewer rider faults to pass module 1.

You’ll automatically fail if you make 1 serious or dangerous fault.

Module 2 pass mark

You need to make 10 or fewer rider faults to pass module 2.

You’ll automatically fail if you make 1 serious or dangerous fault.

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