The motorcycles theory test that riders must pass to obtain their motorcycles licence covers a broad range of topics. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) divides the test questions into fourteen categories in its publications, but no category covers all the information it possibly could, and the material actually covered in each overlaps considerably. The various types of information sought by the test questions is discussed below in order to provide a general sense of the type and scope of material that must be studied to obtain a bike licence.
The issues of observation, anticipation, concentration, awareness, distraction, and boredom are deemed “alertness” topics. Typical questions would require a rider to know the term “lifesaver,” (a final rearward glance), or that you should always check your mirrors before stopping. Falling under the heading of “attitude” are the subjects of consideration, courtesy, priority, and close following. Questions here can test riders’ knowledge of the term “tailgating” (following too closely) or the color of flashing beacon used by a doctor in an emergency (green).
Many of the questions on the motorcycles theory test concern safety. Some questions focus on equipment, such as the danger presented by a loose motorcycles chain, while others test knowledge of weather hazards, such as painted lines and road markings becoming slippery when wet. The dangers of drinking and driving are also frequently addressed in questions on the test.
Rules of the road are tested generally – such as the 70 mph national motorway speed limit, as well as specifically to motorcycless – such as bikes smaller than 50 cc being prohibited from motorways. Other vehicles are addressed in questions testing matters from the maximum speed of a powered wheelchair on the road (8 mph), to the knowledge that lorries may move to the center of the road in order to gain top clearance when travelling under an arched bridge.
There are also questions addressing the consequences of bad behaviour, such as what happens if you get six penalty points in your first two years of riding (loss of full motorcycles license and need to retake both the practical and theory tests and reapply for a provisional bike licence). The questions testing hazard awareness knowledge cover a significant amount of material, but the focus is clearly on the dangers of alcohol and riding, with the subject being addressed more frequently and more directly than any other issue on the test.
Although the questions on the motorcycles theory test are not especially difficult, they are also not necessarily common knowledge (e.g. powered wheelchair speed limits). It is helpful to study the right material beforehand. A brief review of the necessary motorcycle theory and you’re on your way to your motorcycles licence!
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