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Guide 6: Road Riding Theory and Safety


James B · December 18, 2018

As part of your CBT you will spend at least 2 hours training on the road with your instructor. This requires a good understanding of the Highway Code and rules of the road. Below are a few common questions and scenarios for best practice and staying safe on the roads.

What steps must you take before moving off?

  1. Look around and make sure the road is clear by using your mirrors and shoulder checks.
  2. Signal and take a final look around you before moving off

You are waiting to pull out of a junction when a vehicle approaching from the right signals left. What should you do?

Wait and be sure the vehicle is turning before pulling out. You should never assume that the vehicle will make the turn.

Why is overtaking a vehicle at a side junction is dangerous?

The vehicle in front may stop to allow a vehicle to turn out of the side road or turn into the side road suddenly. They are unlikely to be expecting the motorcycle to be overtaking them. Stay where you are.

Before making a turn what four steps you should follow?


  1. See the position and movement of traffic behind you by checking your mirrors
  2. Indicate using your left or right signal
  3. Look over your shoulder one last time
  4. Make the turn when a safe gap appears in traffic.

When turning right what is the correct movement?

Keep left of the middle of the road (or in a space marked for traffic turning right), allowing other vehicles to pass you.

You intend to turn left on an approaching junction but you are stuck behind a slow moving vehicle. What should you do?

Stay back and wait. Never undertake or overtake a vehicle just before you turn left. Always let the junction clear first to avoid any risk of collision.

A pedestrian is crossing a road into which you are turning. What should you do?

They have priority so give way and wait for them to cross.

Why is it important to take extra precaution around turning busses and lorries?

They require more space to turn, and may even take up the entire width of the road when doing so.

Are bus lanes off limits for motorcycles?

No, The TFL road network (red routes) allows motorcycles on all of its routes but only in some bus lanes on other routes. A good way to confirm is to look for a motorcycle symbol on the sign at the start of the bus lane.

What are the distances you must keep behind other vehicles?

1. Leave a 2-second gap in good, dry conditions.

2. Leave a 4-second gap in wet weather.

You can count this gap using stationary objects, as the vehicle in front passes until you pass that same object.

Why should you keep a good distance from the vehicle ahead of you?

  1. Your visibility increases to the vehicle in front you
  2. Your visibility also increases to the traffic emerging from junctions.
  3. Your response time increases in the event there are sudden changes ahead of you.

What are the three factors responsible for most motorcycle collisions?

  1. Excessive speed
  2. Poor road positioning
  3. Not enough distance between the motorcycle and vehicle in front

Is filtering through traffic allowed for motorcycles?

Yes, filtering through stationary or slow moving traffic is legal. However, slow down and look out for hazards including:

  1. Other oncoming vehicles that are turning, joining the traffic or changing lanes.
  2. Traffic islands and narrowing of lanes
  3. Pedestrians crossing the road
  4. Cyclists

When can’t you filter through traffic?

  1. You have to pass over a solid white line on the roads
  2. You pass the wrong side of a “Keep left’ sign
  3. Overtaking is illegal
  4. There are zigzag lines on the approach to a pedestrian crossing

What are braking distances?

The time taken to slow down and stop. As your speed increases, your braking time also increases. This puts you at a much greater risk of failing to stop in time to avoid a collision.

What surfaces are slippery when wet and what should you do?

These surfaces include cobbles, granite setts, block paving and painted road markings are common in urban environments. Take precaution when riding over these by slowing down.

What does an oil or diesel spill look like on the road and what should you do?

An oil or diesel spill looks like a shiny or rainbow like sheen on the road. These can be extremely slippery and dangerous to motorcyclist, so avoid riding over them

What can you do to increase grip on wet roads?

  1. Reducing your speed and braking smoothly helps to avoid skidding
  2. Increasing your following distance from the vehicle in front stops sprays of road residue.
  3. Roads are usually more slippery after an extended dry period, so take extra care.
  4. Avoid painted road markings and drain covers if safe to do so as they become extra slippery

What should you do when faced with icy conditions?

Icy conditions especially black ice, which is not visible on the road is slippery and extremely dangerous to ride in. If possible leave your motorcycle at home.

Well done, you've made it to the end of the Pre CBT guides! We hope you've learned a few things and feel more prepared for your CBT training. If there are areas you weren't sure about and would like to recap, you can follow the links below.

Guide 1: Prepare For Your CBT Training: What to wear, take and do.

Guide 2: Motorcycle Controls and Overview

Guide 3: Road Signs

Guide 4: Roundabouts

Guide 5: Traffic Lights

This information is given to you as a guide to support you in your choice of licence and RideTo has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided about motorcycle licence and training requirements. However, RideTo cannot guarantee the information is up to date, correct and complete and is therefore provided on an "as is" basis only. RideTo accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. We recommend that you verify the current licence and training requirements by checking the DVSA website.