Is The CBT Long Enough Or Adequate
It is a fact that a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course is typically only one day in length and in some cases a certificate is issued after just a few hours. It makes me wonder why we have made this acceptable for the most vulnerable road users in the country.
I’ve heard it many times over the years, that a professional motorcycle instructor tells a new rider that they were so good, they were able to finish early! This gives a new and novice rider the wrong start in their riding. They think they are good because the instructor was too lazy to do their job properly, they cut corners to finish early and do not train a novice rider to the best of their ability (or maybe that was their best ability!)
Vulnerable road users
A learner rider who can drive a car may have lots of road experience but it doesn’t really help them when learning to ride a two wheeled motorcycle. Also a rider with no road experience can undergo a minimum of a one day course (in some cases much less) and then be given permission to ride unaccompanied on the road.
According to the DVSA, CBT is not a one day course. Their theory is that it should last as long as is necessary for a learner to show competency in all exercises and elements of the CBT syllabus, laid down in their regulations.
The problem has risen from years of false claims that CBT is easy and is a one day course. It is true that back in the 1990’s when it was first introduced, it was more like an attendance course.
This is probably why old opinions are still so strongly in favour of it being a one day course. It really is not the case anymore, people learning to ride now have far greater challenges. They have to ride on faster, more congested roads. Cars are much quicker, motorcycles are much quicker, everyone is in a rush and riding a motorcycle today does have more challenges.
Hence the reason for a more robust structured CBT Course to ensure vulnerable road users are better prepared for their journey ahead.
The real world
With time restraints, business challenges, unscrupulous training activities and a lack of proper policing, there are some learner riders that slip through the net and are riding on the road without having good enough skills to be there.
A new rider can expect to have a maximum of two to three hours training in a car park riding around cones prior to having just two hours on the road. This means that if a training school is thorough in their delivery a new learner rider may have spent just 5 hours maximum on a motorcycle before being issued a DL196 (CBT certificate). Then they will be given the go-ahead to ride unaccompanied on the road by a trainer.
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Younger riders are at risk
For our younger generation who are our country’s future, I personally feel that they will not have the necessary skills to deal with all situations that they may encounter. A two hour guided road ride while being given instruction and being told what to do is not enough to keep young learner riders out of harm’s way. This is one of the reasons the accident statistics are high for this specific category of young learner riders.
CBT must be extended
Personally I would like to see the CBT course increased to 2 or 3 days, where more education is given. A more robust training delivery is achieved and a much higher entry level standard attained before new riders are allowed to venture on today’s extremely busy, congested and dangerous roads.
An existing car driver may have road knowledge but they lack the coordination and dexterity needed to be fully in control of a motorcycle. They may have been driving for years which will give them a better understanding of what to do at junctions and roundabouts. But if their skill, experience and ability on a motorbike is weak or limited they will be just as vulnerable as a young learner rider with no road skills.
The road is a dangerous place
The road is a dangerous place to be. A motorcycle of any size in the wrong hands can be dangerous. Additionally, a rider who is uneducated or unprepared for today’s traffic can be even more dangerous.
A lack of ability and performance can make it more dangerous for a new rider if they don’t have the skills to deal with the situations they face on a day to day basis. The CBT is still issued to riders who quite frankly should not be on the road. The CBT course still is a tick box exercise for so many trainers who are under pressure from their superiors to get the job done.
By making the initial learner training more vigorous, robust, and a more comprehensive program, it will stop many accidents involving inexperienced learner riders.
But will the industry have the strength to facilitate the changes it needs? And will they have the capacity to police and encourage out-dated training processes to be altered and implemented to make learner riders safer.
Our CBT syllabus is 30 years old and it is showing signs of cracks. Changes must be made to our current inadequate motorcycle training system for learner riders. You would not be allowed to drive a car for a few hours as a learner driver and then be let loose on your own, so why should you be allowed to do it on a motorcycle?
Written by Simon Hayes