Five biggest mistakes people make in the bike test

Avoid the biggest pitfalls to a pass

By Alan Dowds

CHRIS Spinks runs the motorcycle rider training school at top central London bike shop Metropolis. Based in Vauxhall, Chris has been training the good people of ye olde London towne for years – and he's got more than his fair share of A-list celebrities through their test too.

Now though, he's slumming it by sharing all his juicy rider training secrets with us here at Visordown. Get set for Spinksy's tips!

Chris Spinks (pic credit: Alan Dowds).

Getting ready for your Mod 2 bike test? Well, here's a list of the top five things you'll want to get right, thanks to our man in the high-viz 'Instructor' vest…

1. Leaving an indicator on

Of course, none of the HIGHLY TRAINED riding ninjas at Visordown Towers would ever do this. Obviously. But to an instructor, it looks like you're not paying attention to everything going on around you. A miscreant winker may not be the most important error around, but it will be factored into your overall performance, and could tip you over into a 'fail'.

No excuse for this really – use the 'two-second' rule to make sure there's enough of a gap. Watch for the bus/taxi/tank transporter in front of you to pass a lamp post, count two seconds (one elephant-two-elephants), and you shouldn't be passing the post any sooner.

Being too close to the vehicle in front is a no-no. It’s dangerous in the obvious way – you won't have time to stop in an emergency – and it also means you're restricting your view of the road ahead.

This usually happens when the examiner asks you to move off – and you're so taken up with what you've been told to do that you forget the basics. Nail this stuff into your psyche with flaming bolts of moto-skill lightning, and make it impossible for you to leave the kerb-side without looking behind you.

More basics – make sure you know how to identify speed limits: signs, lamp posts, road markings. And keep a running commentary inside your head of what that limit is, and ride at an appropriate pace. Oh, and do remember to obey those speed limits…

Unless there are filter markings on the road, you should only be in the left-hand lane at a roundabout if you're turning left, or going straight on. Turning right? Then get into the right-hand lane of the carriageway well before you get to the roundabout.


I went to practise to do the test, was not complicated at all but the teacher was not really awesome and I couldn't lost the fear to drive a motorbike, I hasn't went for a drive test yet but because of your article I will be going soon.


Common mistakes that make you fail your motorbike test
We asked instructors to give us some common errors that novice riders make which causes them to fail their test.

Like with the car exam, failure to arrive prepared with the right documentation and enough fuel to complete the test, or arriving late, will cause you to forfeit your test fee.

Lack of awareness
Motorbike riders need to be more aware of unfolding situations and what’s around them than car riders. Scanning is important – making sure you are looking at what’s happening 10-15 seconds up the road as well as what’s happening right in front of you, and anticipating danger. Plus, you will need to be doing your head checks/lifesaver checks (making sure you check over your shoulder when changing lanes or turning). Not checking your mirrors before you slow down increases your risk of being rear-ended, too, so maintain your spatial awareness of traffic at all times.

Moving away from danger
If you are scanning and anticipating danger then you will be adjusting your lane position to minimise your risk. For example, when riding past a line of parked cars you will have a much different road position than when riding along a narrow rural road. This kind of riding becomes quite subconscious if you have had enough practise with a qualified instructor. You will automatically find yourself adopting a line that makes you the most visible to other vehicles and gives yourself the best possible escape routes.

Moving away from danger also means keeping a good following distance – at least two seconds in dry weather. This means you’ll have good time to react to traffic situations unfurling ahead.

Cutting right hand turns
This applies on both the open road and for junctions.

On the open road you should maintain a fairly wide line around the corner so that you can see further around it. This also gives you some buffer if another vehicle veers across the centre line.

If you are riding on a main road and turning into a side road then you will be giving way to traffic coming towards you. If you try to beat any traffic then you can end up cutting the corner and that puts you in danger of hitting another vehicle that’s approaching the junction that are turning right out of the side road (or a larger vehicle that’s turning left but needs to take a wider line). Often riders become so intent on beating the traffic that they forget to look right before they turn and can miss traffic approaching in the side road.

Where are you looking?
If you don’t have your head up then you can’t properly anticipate and detect situations, and your balance will be worse. Keep your head up so that you can see further, and when you are riding through corners, try to look as far around the corner as possible. Remember that you have a lot of peripheral vision downwards and not much upwards so by keeping your head up you will still see what’s going on in front of your bike; if you keep your head down, you can’t see what’s happening ahead of you.

Riders also need to look where they want to steer the bike for more accurate steering control. Avoid target fixation – where you look at the thing you want to avoid.

As motorcycles usually travel in the right-hand wheel track of the vehicle in front, if you are turning left then you must check your left mirror and do a lifesaver over your left shoulder because a vehicle behind you, which might assume you are going straight ahead, could have accelerated into the gap. Source: https://michelkahaleh.com/

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