Compulsory Basic Training

Once you’ve applied for your provisional licence you can then progress onto Compulsory Basic Training which is the training you need to take before you are legally take to the road. CBT takes only a single day and can be undertaken in locations all throughout the UK and once you pass it you will get a DL196 certificate which will allow you to ride on the roads unsupervised and allow you valuable road time to work towards your full licence.

What does CBT involve?

Before taking your CBT it may be worthwhile buying the ‘The Official DSA Guide to Learning to Ride’ book which tells you everything you need to know but here is a brief guide to what to expect. There are 5 elements to CBT:

  • introduction and eyesight check – Your instructors will check your eyesight and provisional licence and once satisfied with those they will briefly go through what the day will involve.
  • practical on-site training – This is where you will be introduced to the motorcycle and given the knowledge of how it works but won’t actually be riding it at this stage.
  • practical on-site riding – You’ll actually get to ride the moped now and learn some of the basic skills before the trainer will decide that you have the ability to move onto the next stage.
  • practical on-road training – You will be given a theory session on how to ride legally and safely on the road including anticipation, observation, and positioning.
  • practical on-road riding – This is the last section and takes you onto the road with the trainer following you and observing you. They will be in radio contact with you and you will have to prove that you can cope safely with a variety of road and traffic conditions.

At the end of the CBT the trainer will have to decide whether you have the ability to run unsupervised on the road and if they deem that you have ‘passed’ then they will issue you with a DL196 certificate.

For onsite elements you there will be a maximum of 4 learners per trainer and for on-road elements there will be a maximum of 2 learners per trainer. These quotas are set by the DSA and ensure that you get adequate training time on the day.


With a provisional licence and a DL196 certificate, you can ride any moped on the road, provided you have L plates (or D plates in Wales), you don’t have a passenger, and you don’t ride on motorways.

Some people will often not even opt to go for the full licence, often deciding to retake their CBT every 2 years as they are happy working under the restrictions in place. There’s nothing wrong with this but it can get annoying having to keep retaking the test.

Do I need to take CBT?

In some circumstances you don’t need to take CBT to ride a moped with a maximum engine size of 50cc and a maximum speed of approximately 31mph. These include:

  • if you passed your car driving test before 1 February 2001.
  • have a full moped licence from passing a full moped test after 1 December 1990.
  • have a full motorcycle licence for one category and want to upgrade to another.
  • live and ride on some offshore islands.

What next?

After your CBT you will have 2 years to get experience of riding on the road (with the restrictions described above) and throughout this time you can decide to go for your full ‘Category P’ moped licence which allows you to remove your ‘L’ plates and carry a passenger. If you don’t get your Category P licence within these 2 years then you will have to retake your CBT to still ride on the road.

Want more information?

If you fancy reading more about the CBT then please read the Compulsory basic training (CBT) syllabus and guidance notes which you can either download or read below: