Welcome to the first part in our new series of blogs on how to get into motorcycling. Whether you’re interested in just a CBT or the full motorcycle licence I will be covering every aspect as I go through it myself on the way to becoming a motorcyclist!
This week I’ll be covering the first steps to take when you are thinking about getting on a motorcycle, moped or scooter.
First a little introduction, my name is Roger and I have been working for Lexham and involved with motorcycles for years but I had never even held a licence before. Eventually there came a time where relying on public transport and taxis was just too restrictive and I became desperate for the freedom of my own transport. Naturally my first thought was: it’s time to get a bike!
At 32 I will be going through the entire process, from obtaining a provisional licence to completing my DAS (Direct Access) course and becoming a full unrestricted motorcycle licence holder.
Obtaining a licence
For me the first step was obtaining a provisional licence, If you already have a driving licence this step can be ignored.
Applying for your first provisional can be done online relatively pain free here: www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence but it will require a valid passport. There will be a fee of £34 when applying online.
Alternatively you can apply by post which is what I did. Obtain and complete a D1 application form from your local post office. This was a slightly more expensive fee of £43 but allowed me to update my picture as I provided a new passport style photo, taken in a booth at my local supermarket.
The forms and website indicated the application would take up to 3 weeks so bear that in mind when applying and don’t book anything that requires it too close. Mine ended up arriving in less than 2 weeks but it’s not something I would rely on.
Booking your Motorcycle theory test
Once your new licence arrives, your free to move onto the next step. For some people that would be moving straight on to the CBT and getting riding, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that approach if that is what you have decided to do! For me, I decided to tackle the theory test first of all before I even sat on a bike.
Although you are not required to hold a theory certificate to do a CBT or begin your motorcycle lessons (you will need one before you can do either Module 1 or Module 2 bike tests however) I decided that since I had never driven or ridden on the road before it might be handy for me to learn some of the theory and road rules first to make the overall experience more safe and increase my own confidence a bit. My plan from the outset was always to take a DAS course and obtain a full licence so I would need the theory eventually anyway, why not get it in right now? In case you are wondering, you will still need to complete a motorcycle theory test even if you have already completed the car theory and hold a car licence if you intend to take a full motorcycle test.
Once again booking your theory is very easy you can do it online here: www.gov.uk/book-theory-test with a fee of £25.
I was unlucky here as I booked mine just as summer was beginning - the most popular time to get on a bike! As a result I had almost a full month wait before I could take the test. I decided to book my motorcycle course at the same time and this worked out well, I was able to time my course to begin the week after I would sit my theory test. Even if I failed first time that would still give me time enough to re-book another before my Mod1 test would be due.
Revising for your test
With everything booked and in place I set about revising. Considering the waiting times I was determined to pass first time to get the process going as soon as possible, again if you only plan to do a CBT and get out on a moped or scooter this isn’t a concern as some theory elements will be covered during your CBT.
To prepare for the test I used ‘The Complete Motorcycle Theory and Hazard Perception Tests 2015 Edition’.
This was an excellent and comprehensive guide to everything involved with the test, including all the actual questions used and various practice tests. The software keeps track of your progress, breaking the information into categories and showing you which areas you are doing well in and which require more work.
I couldn’t recommend this software highly enough, after a couple of weeks revision I came to my theory test fully prepared and passed first time comfortably.
With the first hurdle passed it was time for my CBT!
Other blogs in this Motorcycle Training Series are:
Please note: The views shared are that of the author and are not neccesarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.