Where’s the best place to take your motorcycle test in the UK?

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An ex police motorcycle Sgt and Tactical Pursuit Advisor, Dave Yorke has advised police forces around the UK and further afield, as well as addressing The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) conference on how to deal with the criminal and anti-social use of motorcycles. He has owned everything from mopeds at 16 through sportsbikes, off roaders, supermotos and currently rides a Honda Africa Twin…


During my time as Roads Policing Sergeant, I’ve come across riders of varying degrees of ability.

Some good.

Some, er, not so good.

And I’ve met lots of riders on BikeSafe who have really wanted to learn way past their motorcycle test.

I also know plenty of riders who are motorcycle trainers, and marvel at their patience; like every other job there are challenges and successes. Therefore, it always intrigues me when I see the latest numbers for riders who are passing – or failing for that matter – their test.


How many people passed their motorcycle test in 2020/2021?

After the CBT – which allows you to ride a scooter or motorcycle up to 50cc in capacity – there are four licences. In brief, here they are:


Min. age

What you can ride



50cc with a pillion & no L-plates



Up to 11kW (14.8bhp) / 125cc



Up to 35kW (47bhp)


21 (24 via direct access)


For a more detailed look at motorcycle licences, click here.

Each of these licences is obtained with a Module 1 certificate that’s earned in the test centre away from the road, and a Module 2 certificate, which is set on the road with an examiner following you with a radio link.


Motorcycle licences explained

It might seem confusing, but it’s worth understanding for the joy of riding a bike


As the Government has just released the latest figures showing the full picture of both Module 1 and 2 tests from April 2020 to March 2021, we’re able to see how many people are getting licences as it doesn’t count CBTs. While these are the starting point for many, they’re also very popular with people wanting a quick way to legally ride a delivery scooter.

The number of people passing their test, percentage wise, hit a 10-year high, so although there was a huge drop in the number of riders taking their motorcycle tests in the last 12 months – for obvious reasons – the quality of tuition from the trainers seemed to be higher than ever. I had a look at the figures in more detail…

From April 2020 to March 2021, 24,648 riders took their Mod 1, and 75.3% of them passed, whereas during the 12 months from April-March 2019-2020 over 51,000 Mod 1 tests were taken but only 72.1% were passed.

It was a similar story for riders taking their Mod 2 test, with 73% of the 21,995 riders passing – an increase from the year April 2019 to March 2020, which saw 50,993 tests being taken, with a pass rate of 71%.

Both of those figures, which represent the highest percentage figure for the last 10 years, are across the country averages, but where are you most likely to pass, or fail, your test? I had a scour of the government figures for England, Scotland and Wales to find out.


Where are you most likely to pass your Module 1 motorcycle theory test?

It’s a close call as lots of test centres had figures above 80%, including Burgess Hill, Burton Trent, Cardington, Exeter, Farnborough, Kings Lynn, Leigh on Solent, Leicester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Poole, Scunthorpe, Swansea, Swindon, Taunton and Walton LGV. The highest rates of tests being passed though were at Norwich with 86.6% and Dundee with 87.1%.


Where are you least likely to pass your Module 1 motorcycle theory test?

With an average pass rate across the UK of 75.3%, you would expect to find plenty of test centres in the 60-70% bracket – and you’d be right – but Kirkham LGV test centre had the lowest Mod 1 pass rate, at 59%.


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What’s happens in the Module 1 motorcycle theory test?

The Module 1 test takes place at the test centre, away from the public road, and you’ll need to demonstrate the following

  • Wheeling the moped or motorcycle and using the stand
  • Riding a slalom and figure of 8
  • A slow ride
  • A U-turn
  • Cornering and a controlled stop
  • Cornering and an emergency stop
  • Cornering and hazard avoidance

For the hazard avoidance and emergency stop exercises you must ride at a minimum speed of:

  • 19 mph on a moped
  • 31 mph on a motorcycle

The whole thing takes about twenty minutes and you’ll find out there and then if you’ve passed.

If you’ve failed, you have to wait at least three days before you can retake the test. If you’ve already booked your Mod 2 course, you have to give three days-notice of cancelling or your fee is lost, so you need to either make sure you pass, or leave more than three days until the Mod 2.


Where are you most likely to pass your Module 2 motorcycle theory test?

Workington had the highest pass rate of 96.2%; only 26 riders took the test but they nearly all passed. They were closely followed by Aberdeen South, where 93.8% passed.


Where are you least likely to pass your Module 2 motorcycle theory test?

There are a few test centres with pass rates in the 50-60% bracket; Glasgow Shieldhall came in at 54.1 %, Erith at 58.6%, Gloucester 56.6%, but Uxbridge tops the list – or bottoms it if, you like – with only 50.5% of riders passing. This was also the busiest test station, conducting 1,135 Mod 2 tests.

You can find out how your local test centre faired here.


What’s happens in the Module 2 motorcycle theory test?

The Module 2 test normally takes about 40 minutes and includes:

  • An eyesight check
  • Two ‘Show me, Tell me’ vehicle safety questions from this online list
  • Road riding
  • Independent riding

As with the Module 1, you’ll find out if you’ve passed there and then.


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Bennetts motorcycle insurance customers who buy direct, and Bennetts Rewards members, can take advantage of discounted motorcycle training at Bennetts Rewards.


Should I take more training after I pass my test?

Definitely! Look at Bikesafe, but also at what’s offered by additional training from private providers, who can offer courses longer than the one or two days with Bikesafe.

Some of the best days of riding I’ve ever had have been when I’ve had to show an assessor on a police requalification day how I ride.

An independent view from someone you trust is always better; it doesn’t have to be inner-city slow-speed stuff… It can be out on the open road where flowing lines pay dividends.

Having done BikeSafe twice myself, I can honestly say that it’s an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience. It’s definitely NOT about coppers telling you to slow down. Far from it in fact. BikeSafe is great value, so find out how much of a better, safer, and – believe it or not – faster rider you could be. John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor