#AskTheExpert – Top tips to pass your motorcycle licence first time
As part of the Motorcycle Live Online #AskTheExpert series, Mike Loydall, Director of Operations at The Motorcycle Experience, shares his top tips for ensuring you pass your motorcycle tests first time.
Meet the expert
With over 30 years of experience in the motorcycle industry and having ridden bikes since he was 17, Mike has experience as both a rider and instructor and has even written the curriculum for developing countries. He’s also worked with manufacturers to set up test ride programmes and is responsible for the popular Try Ride area – which allows potential riders having their first go on a bike – and the Test Ride Zone – offering visitors the chance to test ride the latest models on the road while being accompanied by specialist outriders – at Motorcycle Live.
Top tips to pass your motorcycle licence first time
Before you start your training
- Do your research
All training schools in the UK are governed by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), this should mean that you get a professional and enjoyable experience everywhere you go, but sometimes- and sadly – this isn’t the case, so it’s important to do your research. Spend some time checking out all the trainers in your area to ensure you get the best possible introduction to riding. Why not head down to your local biker cafe and ask people if they know of anyone local or visit your local motorcycle dealerships and ask if they have any riding schools they work with? Be sure to check out customer reviews too, there’s no better recommendation than that of others who have been through the training school courses.
- Ask lots of questions
When you first make contact with them ask them lots of questions – such as: What bike will you be riding and how old is it? Where is it based and are there facilities on site? What is the total cost?
And ask yourself some questions too. How did they make you feel when you first spoke with them? Do they sound professional? Will the course start and finish in line with the guidelines on the GOV.UK website?
If you can, visit the school and take a look at the instructors in action if you can.
- Get up to date with the Highway Code
Before attending your lessons or your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, refresh your knowledge of the Highway Code and the rules of the road. Road signs and markings are there to help you and tell you about upcoming hazards or changes in road circumstances, so use them to help make your ride flow – if you don’t know what they mean, then it makes this more challenging. Plus, during both your CBT and full licence tests you could be asked to illustrate your knowledge of the highway code.
- Take your bicycle out for a ride
If you’ve not ridden a pushbike in a while, it’s worth giving it a go to ensure that your balance is up to scratch. The momentum of travel does help keep you on the straight and narrow but it is good practice and handy to check your balancing ability for that slow riding element of module one.
Your instructor knows their onions – so listen to what they have to say. They are likely to have trained lots of riders to get through their test, so they have valuable information and advice that they’re trying to give you. What they say to you may sound simple and basic to you, but take it on board as they won’t just say things for the sake of it. Listen and apply their feedback – they know what it takes to get you your licence. Ask questions if you’re not sure of anything.
- Get some sleep
Depending on your training schedule, you may be on the bike for a long time and if you’re not used to riding, this can sap a lot of your energy. You’re taking a lot of new information and having to apply it to real-life situations, so you’re going to be pretty tired, so make sure you get some sleep. Your instructor should schedule in some regular breaks for you to have a break off the bike and grab a snack or a hot drink.
This point is extremely important. You should have fun – this is your way into a whole new world which will be great. Not everyone learns at the same rate so don’t feel pressured into going faster than you’re comfortable with. Take it at your own pace! A good instructor will teach you to ride the bike well and not just to pass a test. If you are given the skills to ride well, you’ll breeze the test itself.
Find out what you can ride on the Unlock Your Freedom website here.
Please note: Images used were taken before 2020.