United States vs Europe’s Motorcycle Test Systems Compared

Motorcycle tests are dreaded regardless of where you live.  But why should we have motocycle tests in the first place?  Well to be totally honest the tests, lessons, and classroom time is all designed to protect the rider.  With a good portion of motorcycle accidents chalked up as rider error or inexperience raises alarm bells right away.  The United States is one of the easiest places on the planet to get a Motorcycle license.  The Washington Post wrote that in the state of Virginia you can have your motorcycle license in a one weekend course without ever driving over 20 miles per hour or outside the parking lot.

How is a one weekend course ever going to cover all the different situations that you encounter while riding a motorcycle?  What about riding at night, in the mountains, traffic, or worst yet in the rain.  I know of plenty other US states where the motorcycle test is easier than a kindergarten test.  Now compare that to motorcycle tests in Europe that can take upwards of 6 months to a year.

England for example requires new riders to attend a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training).  CBT is not a test and there is no exam – it is a training course that requires satisfactorily completion. The CBT course syllabus includes five elements and these five elements have to be completed in turn. You can only move on to the next step of the CBT course when your instructor is satisfied  with your piratical skills and theory theory.

Very briefly, the structure of the course is as follows-

  • A. Introduction
  • B. Practical on-site training
  • C. Practical on-site riding
  • D. Practical on-road training
  • E. Practical on-road riding

Compare this to most US motorcycle tests and it involves a very basic theory exam and a practical exam that is usually performed in a parking lot around cones.  It is very possible to pass your theory and practical the same day without formal training.  So a brand new rider can be on the road with no training on a 100 horsepower motorcycle.  You be the judge on what will prepare new riders better for the “real world”?

It is important that the motorcycle community grows and teaches new riders how to deal with everyday situations.  If you have ever had the chance to watch R Nickey Mouse’s motorcycle YouTube channel you can literally watch hours worth of motorcycle accidents almost all blamed on rider error.    We as a motorcycle community must continue learning and teaching new riders how to survive on the road.  The US really needs to raise the standards of motorcycle tests to prepare riders for everyday riding and techniques to keep riders out of trouble.  Motorcycle training will not prevent all accidents but it will surely help riders help to avoid potential accidents.

Tell us in the comment section below how the motorcycle community can better motorcycle training around the world?

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