Element D CBT Learning Material

Prior learning information for Element A of the CBT

Legal requirements


  • Age Age

16 for mopeds (50cc or less with a design speed of 28mph)  or up to 125cc if you are aged 17 or over

  • Licence Motorcycle Licence

Signed with valid Category A/AM (P) validated by a CBT certificate which lasts for two years

  • Helmet Motorcycle Helmet

Securely fastened when sitting, riding or pushing the machine

  • L-Plates Motorcycle L plate

Must be clearly displayed front and rear, and sized 7” x 7”

  • Insurance Motorcycle Insurance

Minimum legal requirement is Third party. Third party fire and theft is minimum recommended and Fully Comprehensive is highly recommended

  • MOT Motorycle MoT Certificate

Any bike over 3 years old must have a valid MOT

  • Road worthy Motorcycle Flat Tyre

Kept in road worthy condition with working indicators, lights, tyres etc.

  • Tax Motorcycle Tax Disc

Tax disc must fully meet all legal requirements before you can ride on the public highway


Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to the effects of crashing, we have no protection from seatbelts or airbags, even a slow speed collision can have serious consequences. We have balance to take in account and the effect of wind from vehicles like lorry’s whilst overtaking, which can cause loss of stability. It is important to give these sorts of vehicles a wide berth.

We are easily obscured on a motorcycle being around 1/3 of the width of a car, we are therefore hidden by parked cars, moving cars, pedestrians, trees, long grass etc., even the pillar of a car windscreen can hide us from view. Therefore there is a need to be clearly visible to other road users. Consider moving your position in the road to make yourself more easily seen.

Ride with headlights on dipped beam, wear fluorescent clothing or hi-viz – this will show up against all backgrounds.  Reflective clothing also helps stand out in poor light or dark conditions. Wear a bright coloured or white helmet - remember your helmet is the highest point on the bike. Be prepared to use your horn to warn other road users of your approach.

Road positioning

We ride in the centre of our lane for normal riding; we call this the dominant position. This gives us the best view of the road ahead whilst keeping us away from kerbs or the central white line. It allows on-coming traffic to see us and gives us the choice of escape routes should anything happen.

We can move position for bends – moving over to the left for right hand bends gives us a better view of the road ahead, however we should stay dominant for left hand bends where we can to avoid the dangers of on-coming vehicles. Positioning is flexible and we can move around for junctions and turns more than a car as we are physically smaller. We don’t want to ride too far to the left as cars will try to overtake us. If we ride too far to the right this puts us in danger from on-coming traffic.

As practised in the training area our position tells other road users a great deal about where we intend to go. Particularly for right turns it is important to move towards the centre of the road. However, flexibility is the key and in the case of parked cars it is important to give potential hazards plenty of room.

Rear observations

A rear observation or lifesaver is a combination of looking in the mirror and checking the "blind-spot" by turning your head. There are specific times that we need to do this, but always we look in the direction where we consider the danger is. We need to know what is behind us particularly before:

  • The potential for slowing down (traffic lights, zebra crossings)
  • Slowing down (junctions, roundabouts)
  • Changing direction or making a manoeuvre (junctions, parked cars, lane changes or overtakes)
  • Before accelerating (change of speed limit, pulling away)
  • Before pulling in or out from the side of the road
  • Lifesavers on turns - If you are moving position or changing lane a look in the relevant direction (i.e. the direction you are going) is recommended.
  • Updates - do regular mirror checks whilst riding

Following distances

We use the two second rule on the road. As the vehicle in front passes a stationary object e.g. a lamppost, we count “one ONE thousand”, “two ONE thousand”. If you pass the lamppost as you finish counting then you’re two seconds behind the vehicle in front. If you pass half way through counting it means you’re too close and risk hitting the vehicle if it suddenly slows. In the wet our stopping distance is doubled so we make it 4 seconds.

The dangers of following too closely are that you will not be able to react to stop safely in the event of an emergency, it will be hard for other road users (particularly those waiting at junctions) to see you, it will be hard for you to react in time for a change in road surface or pot hole and you may end up intimidating the driver of the vehicle in front.


It is important to consider how the prevailing weather conditions will effect our riding and make proper preparations before making a journey (such as warm clothes etc.). We are affected by weather conditions such as:

  • Sun - Heat and dehydration on very hot days can cause faintness, lack of concentration and accidents. Remain hydrated!
  • Setting/rising sun - Hard to see/be seen, leave big gaps from the vehicle in front.
  • Rain - Roads are slippery when wet, so we need to use the controls gently. No harsh or sudden manoeuvres. We have no wipers or demisters so have reduced visibility, also car drivers tend not to drive considerately to others so more care must be taken.
  • Cold - Cold hands cannot operate controls so well, we tend to find it’s harder to concentrate and tiredness can set in so stay warm. Wear the right clothing, if in doubt don’t take the bike out.
  • Wind - Head winds can tire you out, tailwinds can blow you over speed limits.
  • Side-Winds - These can blow us into oncoming traffic. Open roads and side roads are particularly dangerous for gusts. Again, if in doubt don’t go out.
  • Fog - Reduced visibility, cars tend to tailgate each other, fog can freeze on your visor.
  • Snow/Ice - Leave the bike at home. If you do go out leave 10 times the stopping distance, don’t go out at all if possible.

Road surface hazards

Be more aware of gravel, wet leaves, white lines, fuels spillages, twigs, branches, mud, horse waste – anything on the surface of the road that could cause a loss of traction. Busy roundabouts can result in the surface being polished which will be slippery. Watch out for wet drain covers and pot holes. Be careful when overtaking, braking or accelerating.

Again forward planning is the key here to anticipate when the road surface might change or become adverse, so for example wet leaves will collect on roads that pass through woods.

Hazard perception

A hazard is anything that can cause a potential change in speed or direction. For example a set of pedestrian controlled lights, a car emerging from a side road, children about to cross the road. We must constantly assess the changing situation ahead and think ‘what if’. The dangers of not recognising hazard’s are potentially becoming part of the hazard yourself. Riding too quickly through busy traffic, past schools etc. could cause an accident – you need to plan ahead and recognise danger points.  Look for signs warning us of dangers, and anticipate the actions of other road users.


The speed is not the danger, it is the inability to slow down or stop before hitting an object. Take care not to ride too quickly in wet conditions or in traffic.  Also don’t ride too slowly causing an obstruction and forcing drivers behind to become frustrated, this is when they will perform dangerous overtakes putting you at risk.

Ride up to the speed limit if the road ahead is clear and it is safe to do so, but bear in mind you need to tailor your speed to the traffic and weather conditions. Excess speed is the single biggest cause of death or serious injury in a motorcycle accident; there are no circumstances when it is appropriate to exceed the speed limit. Check your speed regularly and take particular care to note whatever the current speed limit is enforce on any given road.

Alcohol and drugs

The legal limit for alcohol in your system while driving is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood, or 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath, or 107 milligrammes per 100ml of urine. However, the amount of alcohol in your system depends on factors such as:

  • Your weight
  • Your gender (men tend to process alcohol faster than women)
  • Your metabolism
  • Your current stress levels
  • Whether you have eaten recently
  • Your age (younger people tend process alcohol more slowly)

It is recommended that you do not drink anything before riding a motorcycle. Consequences can be as severe as loss of life, loss of licence, loss of job, loss of respect from others and imprisonment for serious or persistent offences.

Drugs and alcohol will affect your ability to balance, your judgement of distance, spatial awareness etc., all of which are vital on a motorcycle. Prescription drugs such as ‘Night Nurse’ and some painkillers can cause drowsiness and are not to be used when riding. Be aware of “the morning after” as you may still be over the limit.

Effect of aggressive riding/riding in an emotional state

Do not ride if you are angry or upset. You will not be concentrating and it will have an adverse effect on your machine control. Do not react aggressively to road rage and try to remain calm and composed at all times and in all situations on the road.

Good forward planning and anticipation will significantly reduce exposure to situations where other road users may upset you. Remember; often your anger at other road users is really anger at your own inability to spot a hazard or dangerous situation. As motorcyclists the responsibility for our safety rests entirely with us - don't get cross, plan ahead!

Highway code

This is a set of rules and regulations that we must adhere to by law. It allows us to be safe and those around us to stay safe whilst using the public highway. If we do not understand the Highway Code then we could be seriously injured or killed, or cause injury or death to other road users. We recommend buying a Highway Code book and reading it thoroughly before attending your course. We need to be particularly aware of speed limits, warning signs, traffic light sequences, lane discipline, roundabouts and road markings. 

In principal there are four basic signs:

  • Red Circles - this is something you must not do (no overtaking, no turning right etc.)
  • Blue Circles - this is something you must do (turn left ahead, minimum speed limit etc.)
  • Red Triangle - this is a warning sign (uneven road surface, side winds, wild animals etc.)
  • Rectangles or Squares - these are information signs (road directions, advisory speed limits etc.)

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