How the DVSA is cracking down on non-compliant motorcycle trainers

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There's cowboys in just about every walk of life looking to grab a quick buck out of unsuspecting customers. Unfortunately, you'll also find them in the motorcycle training industry. The DVSA has recognised this problem and started to take action against these rogue traders. We take a look at what they've found and how they're tackling it.

2019 saw the CBT enforcement team step up and carry out larger numbers of compliance checks on the motorcycling industry. These checks allow the DVSA to ensure that training schools are sticking to the correct policies and procedures whilst using equipment that is safe and legal. They look at things like:

  • Condition of the motorcycles and their tax / MOT status
  • Whether correct protective equipment is being given to trainees and that it's in a satisfactory condition
  • If all incidents are being reported to DVSA
  • Whether training records are being completed properly
  • Are legal minimum requirements being met with regards to the CBT syllabus

Throughout the course of these compliance checks, they have found some absolute horror stories which have led to the removal of over 100 instructor licences and 18 ATBs (Authorised Training Bodies) being removed from the official register. Here's just a few of the reasons why:

  • Short CBTs or none at all! Some ATBs were closed after being found to be selling certificates to riders without any training being done! 
  • Short road rides - the minimum length for the CBT road ride is 2 hours. Schools were found to  be delivering CBTs in under 3 hours which is physically impossible!
  • Trainee ratios - CBT rules stipulate that it's a max of 2:1 student to instructor ratio on the road and 4:1 on the training pad. In addition to this, all training pads have a maximum number of students allowed on them. 
  • Untaxed and no MOTs on motorbikes!
  • Unapproves training sites - all training pads are assessed for suitability and max number of students by the DVSA. Schools were found to be exceeding these limits, using unauthorised sites and claiming to have used sites when they weren't available.

As you can see, the DVSA have a bit of a mountain to climb with regards to cutting out some of the bad practices that are, unfortunately, too common in the industry but what can you, as a customer, do to avoid booking in with a dodgy school? Here's some helpful tips:

  • Avoid "cheap" or "special offer" CBTs. The nationwide average seems to be somewhere between £120 and £140. Anything less than this and it's highly likely that corners will be cut to make them commercially viable.
  • Do your research - check out the customer reviews on social media or online. You can also use MCIA Ride (click here ) to gain access to schools that have been industry approved.
  • Pop in to see the ATB before booking - have a look at the state of their bikes and equipment & get a feel for how they operate. 
  • Ask for recommendations on a local biking group.

If you do find yourself booked into somewhere that you're not happy with then don't be afraid to walk away and start again. It is, after all, your safety that is paramount! If you've had a bad experience, you can also report the ATB to the DVSA - all of the information you need to do this is here.

The CBT is the start of a wonderful journey on two wheels. Hopefully this will article help you get the most out of it and get you rolling safely and happily.


Information and source - DVSA. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 


CBT compliance DVSA Instructor

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