About CBTA

Introduction to competency-based training and assessment (CBTA)

The introduction of competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) from 1 March 2014 means that you have another option when choosing how to get your motorcycle licence.

This option can reduce the amount of time it takes you to get your restricted or full licence, while ensuring you have the skills and knowledge you need to ride safely on New Zealand roads.

So from 1 March 2014, you can choose between the existing driver licence testing regime and the new competency-based training and assessment courses, or a combination of the two, to gain your restricted and/or full motorcycle licence.

This section is a reproduction of the CBTA course guide, which is also available online here.

What is CBTA?

CBTA is a new training and assessment option for people getting their motorcycle licence. Instead of taking a practical test at each stage of your licence you can choose to have your riding skills assessed by an approved CBTA assessor.

Although training isn’t compulsory, we recommend you complete training before attempting the assessment ride. This will ensure that you have necessary riding skills and you’re fully prepared to do the assessment.

The assessments are designed to ensure you’re competent in a prescribed range of riding skills, which are important to keep you safe when riding our roads.

What are the benefits of CBTA?

If you choose the CBTA option, there are a number of benefits:

  • It can reduce the time it takes you to gain your restricted and/or full motorcycle licence.
  • It improves your riding skill levels by targeting high-risk riding behaviours, which allows for a safer road system for you and other road users.
  • You’ll get feedback on your riding ability and you’ll be provided with training on how to ride smarter and safer. These improvements will help you make smarter choices on the road.

Who can I train with and be assessed by?


You can choose the style of training suited to your needs. You can complete your training with one of the approved CBTA assessors or any other qualified motorcycle riding instructor.


CBTA courses utilise the knowledge of industry based assessors who have been approved to train and assess motorcyclists’ riding skills. A list of approved CBTA assessors and their contact details can be viewed here.

Why we’re introducing CBTA

The Transport Agency is introducing CBTA to improve safety for motorcyclists.

The New Zealand Government’s Safer Journeys strategy identifies motorcycling safety as a priority area for improvement. In 2010, the government announced a package of reforms to improve the safety of motorcyclists through improved rider training and licensing requirements. Part of that package was allowing for the introduction of CBTA.

The more training and practical riding experience a motorcyclist gets, the more prepared they’re likely to be for potentially unsafe or confronting riding scenarios.

CBTA focuses on the specific skill sets required to help keep motorcyclists safe through the application of a robust course assessment and the availability of appropriate targeted training, resulting in improved riding skills and safer journeys for everyone on New Zealand roads.

There are two separate CBTA courses:

  • Learner stage (Class 6R CBTA) - occurs during the learner stage of the licensing system and upon successful completion, you’ll be able to apply for your restricted motorcycle (Class 6) licence.
  • Restricted stage (Class 6F CBTA) - occurs during the restricted licence stage of the licensing system and upon successful completion, you’ll be able to apply for your full motorcycle (Class 6) licence.

The graduated licensing system and your options

To be eligible to undertake the learner stage (Class 6R CBTA), you’ll need to complete a basic handling skills test, sit the learner licence theory test, and obtain your learner motorcycle licence (Class 6L).

When progressing from your learner to restricted and restricted to full you can choose to progress either through both CBTA stages, through the regular testing regime, or a mixture of the two.

If you successfully complete a CBTA course in either stage, you’ll get a certificate to use to apply for the related licence. This means you won’t need to sit a practical test to get that licence. It can also reduce the time it takes you to gain your restricted or full motorcycle licence. The learner stage has no minimum time period you need to hold your learner licence, but you must be at least 16½ years old to apply for your restricted licence. The restricted stage reduces the time you need to hold your restricted licence, from 18 months (practical testing time requirement) to 12 months.

The following diagram shows how progression through the CBTA courses affects the learner and restricted stages of your licence.

CBTA options

CBTA courses - an overview of the structure

Assessment routes

During a CBTA assessment, you’ll need to ride around a predefined assessment route.

Your riding skills will be assessed through the entire duration of the assessment ride (including mounting and dismounting). At any given time during the assessment, you’ll need to perform one of the seven riding tasks outlined below.

Assessment structure

Learner stage (Class 6R CBTA) course assessment - will take between 50-60 minutes riding time, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of your riding skills in both urban and higher speed zone areas.

Restricted stage (Class 6F CBTA) course assessment - will take between 25-30 minutes riding time, mostly in higher speed zone areas.

The assessment is conducted as one continuous ride, but you might need to pull over during the assessment on one or more occasions to allow the assessor to update the assessment score sheet.

During the assessment, you won’t receive any feedback, coaching or training from the assessor. Once the assessment ride is complete, they’ll give you feedback, and let you know if you’ve passed or failed the assessment.

Riding tasks

At any given time during the assessment, your performance in one of the follow seven riding tasks will be assessed:

  • moving in
  • riding straight
  • riding a curve
  • riding through an intersection
  • overtaking
  • turning back
  • moving out.

These riding tasks are described in more detail here.

Riding competencies

Where applicable, the following competencies will be assessed during each riding task:

  • looking
  • scanning/mirrors
  • head check
  • communication
  • consideration/courtesy
  • positioning
  • speed management
  • progression
  • stability/smoothness
  • following distance
  • other illegal.

These riding competencies are described in more detail here.

Riding tasks

To ensure safety, where your riding action creates immediate or potential danger to you or other road users, the assessment will be terminated immediately.

The following immediate failure errors are assessed throughout the ride:

  • falls off
  • obey
  • intervention
  • leaving lane
  • give way
  • excessive speed
  • collision
  • fail to stop
  • dangerous position
  • other dangerous action.

Immediate failure errors are described in more detail here.

Pre-ride checks

Confirmation of your identity and licence status

Before the assessment, the assessor will need to confirm your identity (your photo driver licence will provide clear proof of identity).

If you’re not able to produce a photo driver licence (ie you hold a temporary paper driver licence), you’ll need to provide alternative photographic identification (ie a passport).

The assessor will also check that your driver licence is current and that you’re complying with any special licence conditions.

Carrying your driver licence

You must carry your driver licence with you at all times when riding. If you don’t have your licence with you, the assessment can’t go ahead.

Are you fit to be assessed?

The assessment won’t go ahead if you show clear signs of having taken alcohol or drugs, or you’re not fully in control of your normal faculties.

Carrying out a pre-ride safety check

The pre-ride safety check is a basic check of your motorcycle to ensure that it’s safe and legally compliant.

The assessor will ask you to check the items listed below. As you check each item you’ll also need to provide a brief description of what you’re looking for:

  • any obvious damage that could be considered dangerous
  • chain tension (not too loose or too tight)
  • tyres (inflated, legal tread depth, no sidewall cracks)
  • wheels (undamaged)
  • rear vision mirror (fitted and undamaged)
  • indicators (operational and lenses intact)
  • brake lights (operational and lenses intact)
  • headlamp or daylight running lamps (operational)
  • horn (operational)
  • licence label (current)
  • warrant of fitness (current)
  • L plate (fitted to rear) - only applicable to the learner stage (Class 6R CBTA).

If any of these fail the pre-ride check, the assessment won’t start until non-compliant items have been fixed.

What you’ll need to wear - rider protective equipment

During any training or assessment you must wear the following protective equipment:

  • a long-sleeved, front-fastening jacket
  • long pants
  • suitable gloves
  • sturdy, covered footwear, and
  • a motorcycle helmet of an approved standard that’s securely fastened on your head.

Information about motorcycle helmets and other recommended safety gear can be found on the Ride Forever website.

If you’re not wearing the equipment listed above, your training/ assessment will be postponed until you’re wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

The assessor will also ask you to wear a Hi-Viz vest during any training or assessment (either your own or one supplied by the assessor).

The right motorcycle to use

Under the learner approved motorcycle scheme (LAMS), the learner and restricted stage CBTA courses can only be carried out if the motorcycle you’re using is LAMS-approved.

LAMS-approved motorcycles are determined by:

  • a maximum power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne (the power is that specified by the manufacturer and the weight is that specified by the manufacturer plus 90kg for the rider and riding gear), and
  • an upper engine capacity limit of 660cc.

With the exception of a small group of high-performance 250cc motorcycles, all other motorcycles and scooters with an engine capacity of 250cc or under are automatically LAMS-approved. For further information click here.

The list of LAMS-approved and LAMS-prohibited motorcycles is updated as new models are approved by the Transport Agency. These motorcycles must be in standard form as produced by the manufacturer. They cannot be modified in any way to increase the power-to-weight ratio.

If you have a written exemption from the Transport Agency allowing you to ride a LAMS-prohibited motorcycle, you’ll need to bring the written exemption with you and give it to the assessor.

In addition to being LAMS-approved, any motorcycle used in CBTA courses must be capable of maintaining open road speeds into head winds and on hills.

Motorcycles with automatic transmission can only be used for the assessment in situations where you provide your own motorcycle. In any situation where the assessor supplies the motorcycle to be used for the assessment, they won’t have automatic transmission (automatic transmission includes any motorcycle which doesn’t have a manually operated clutch, regardless of whether or not the gears can be manually selected and changed).

CBTA courses may not be undertaken on:

  • a motorcycle that is not LAMS compliant
  • a moped
  • an all-terrain vehicle
  • any motorcycle not capable of maintaining open road speeds.

Use of headlamp or daylight running lamps

If your motorcycle was manufactured on or after 1 January 1980, you’ll need to use your headlamp or daytime running lamps (if fitted) when undergoing on road training or assessment.

Learner plate

If you’re undertaking the learner stage (Class 6R CBTA) you’ll need to display an L plate on the rear of the motorcycle. If an L plate isn’t displayed you won’t be able to undertake training or the assessment.

Communication equipment

Before the assessment starts, the assessor will provide and fit you with communication equipment, which will allow them to communicate with you during the assessment. This is so the assessor can give you instructions to guide you around the assessment route.

Pre-ride instructions

Before the assessment starts, the assessor will give you the following instructions:

  • ‘During the test I’ll give you directions through the communication equipment. If you lose contact with me, pull over to the side of the road where it‘s safe and wait for me to catch up with you.’
  • ‘Instructions for turning or stopping will be given when needed, otherwise continue to follow the road.’
  • ‘You must observe all speed limits. Ride to the conditions and where it is safe, you are expected to travel within 5 km/h of the posted speed limit, but not over the speed limit. This includes any temporary speed limits. If you exceed the speed limit at any time during the assessment, it may result in the assessment being terminated.’
  • ‘Once we start the assessment I will calibrate our speedometers by asking you to confirm your speed. I will provide you with specific instructions on how to do this at the time.’
  • ‘Decisions such as overtaking, gap selection, positioning and speed control are yours to make at all times.’
  • ‘During the ride I will also be checking your observation skills. To help me, can you please make distinct head movements when scanning or using the mirrors?’
  • ‘During the ride I might ask you to pull over and find a safe place to stop. This will allow me to update the score sheet.’
  • ‘Do you have any questions?’
  • ‘When you are ready you can move off.’

Riding tasks

Your riding skills are assessed through the entire duration of the assessment ride (including mounting and dismounting).

At any given time during the assessment you’ll be performing one of the seven riding tasks listed below:


Moving in

Where you get the motorcycle underway from a standing or parked position and any other situation where you move into the traffic flow (other than turning at intersection).

This occurs when either:

  • moving in from the side of the road
  • entering from a vehicle entrance
  • using a motorway on ramp
  • changing from one lane to another and merging with traffic in the other lane.


When you are travelling straight ahead (with or without other traffic).


When you are travelling round a curve or bend (any situation where the rider is required to alter course when following the road but does not include turning at an intersection).


When you move through or turn at any intersection where there is potential for other traffic to cross your path.


When you move past other traffic travelling in the same direction on a two lane road (one lane in each direction). Does not include a situation where there are two lanes in the same direction and you change lanes to move past another vehicle.

Note: The assessor will not create any situation nor instruct you to overtake at any stage during the assessment. Any overtaking manoeuvre undertaken during the assessment will be a decision made entirely by you (where you judge it’s necessary to progress and safe to do so). Therefore, unless the opportunity presents itself, this may result in an overtaking manoeuvre not being completed during the assessment.

Turning back

When you turn around to ride back in the direction from which you have just come.

This involves you choosing the safest location and means to do so and could include turning from a parked position, vehicle entrance or side of the road (parallel or perpendicular to the kerb). For example, it may include a ‘U’ turn either where you are parallel to the roadway or with the rear wheel to the kerb.

Moving out

When you move out of the traffic flow. It includes the use of motorway off ramps, turning into a vehicle entrance, returning to the kerb and parking. Does not include turning at intersections.

Riding competencies

When performing the riding tasks above, your performance is assessed against the competency categories below. Failure to display the appropriate behaviour(s) or skills will result in a fault being recorded.


Head and eyes are up when riding straight. When riding through a curve or turning, looks in the intended direction of travel.

Keeps head and eyes up when riding straight, braking and operating the motorcycle controls (except when making brief checks of relevant mirrors and scanning to the sides). When riding through a corner or turning, looks through the curve or intersection in the intended direction of travel.


Maintains spatial awareness by scanning to sides and rear (mirrors).

Maintains observation to the sides and rear (mirrors) often enough to maintain awareness of surrounding traffic (when riding straight frequency of mirror use varies with traffic conditions but required prior to braking, diverging or changing direction).

Head check

Head check (to check blind spot) immediately before changing direction.

Performs a head check (as last check after signalling) before leaving the kerb, turning, changing lanes, overtaking, merging, diverging or reversing.

Communication (TUG)


  • Takes in information communicated by other roads users
  • Uses information gained to think and plan
  • Gives information to other road users (could include indicators, brake light, flashing your headlight, arm signals and sounding the horn).


  • Uses the appropriate means of communication either as a courtesy or a legal requirement.
  • Complies with legal requirements for signalling, including activation of the correct signal for a minimum duration of three seconds when leaving or returning to the kerb, turning, negotiating roundabouts, changing lanes, overtaking, merging (if required), diverging or parking and maintaining signal until manoeuvre has been completed.
  • Does not confuse or mislead other road users by:
    • activating the signal too early; or
    • not cancelling the signal after completing the manoeuvre.


Rider displays appropriate attitude in relation to the way they interact with other road users.

Does not display any behaviour that shows a clear lack of consideration or courtesy when interacting with other road users.


Adopts and maintains ideal position on the road at all times (relative to the riding task and hazards present).


  • Maintains the ideal lateral position relative to the task being performed (riding straight, turning, changing lanes, overtaking, negotiating curves etc) and the riding environment/hazards present.
  • When stopping behind another vehicle does not stop too close or in a blind spot.
  • Does not use incorrect lane for intended travel.

Speed management

Adopts appropriate and legal speeds, relative to the prevailing conditions and task being performed.


  • Adopts and maintains a speed suitable for the prevailing conditions.
  • When conditions permit, travels within 5 km/h of posted speed limit.
  • Does not exceed the speed limit.
  • Where necessary, adjusts speed to select and maintain a safe gap.
  • Selects appropriate gear for road speed.
  • Accelerates briskly and smoothly.
  • Does not coast.
  • Does not over-rev the engine.
  • Does not cause the rear wheel to skid or slide unnecessarily.
  • Keeps both wheels in contact with the ground at all times.


Rider is maintaining progress in traffic flow whenever it is safe to do so.


  • Rider does not filter or lane split when unsafe to do so.
    • Lane splitting - relates to moving through the traffic travelling in the same direction (that is in motion) by travelling between the lanes.
    • Filtering - relates to moving through traffic travelling in the same direction (that is stopped) by travelling between the lanes.
  • Does not remain stationary for no good reason (for five seconds or more) when there was ample opportunity to proceed:
    • at traffic lights when the applicable signal has turned green; or
    • at an intersection where all the vehicles to which the rider is required to give way to have cleared the intersection; or vehicles queued in front of the rider have moved off.
  • Anticipates gap in traffic by adjusting speed.
  • Proceeds in any situation where the rider has priority over other road users and is able to proceed.
  • Does not stop unnecessarily before riding through a pedestrian crossing or school crossing when there are no pedestrians on or approaching the crossing.


Maintains stability and manipulates the motorcycle’s controls smoothly.


  • Maintains stability of the motorcycle at all times (wobbling, weaving or erratic course).
  • Rides without jerky movements.
  • Maintains smooth coordination of clutch and throttle when changing gear.
  • Once moving, both feet remain on the footrests (other than when stopped).
  • Uses both brakes when stopping.
  • Stopping is smooth and progressive.
  • Does not stall.

Following distance

Adopts and maintains safe following distance relative to prevailing conditions.

Adopts and maintains the appropriate following distance (2 or 4 seconds) dependant on the prevailing conditions.

Other illegal

Does not perform any other illegal action (that does not meet the threshold for an immediate failure error) which is not already covered under any other competency categories.

Does not perform any other illegal action not covered under any other competency category (that does not meet the threshold for an immediate failure error).

Immediate failure errors

Immediate failure errors are serious riding errors that compromise safety.

Any one immediate failure error recorded during the assessment will result in immediate termination and failure of the assessment.

The table below lists the categories of immediate failure errors and provides a description of the corresponding fault.


Falls off

You fall off or have a significant loss of control.


You’re unable, because of lack of riding ability, to carry out a riding task required by the assessor.


The assessor provides verbal or physical assistance to you while the assessment is in progress (eg to prevent a collision or prevent the development of an unsafe situation).

Leaving lane

Your lateral position is either too close to, or over the centre line (unless overtaking), or you cross no passing lines (solid yellow lines) at any time.

Give way

You fail to give way to other road users when required to do so, resulting in another road user having to take evasive action. This includes pedestrians on, or obviously waiting to cross at, a pedestrian crossing.

Excessive speed

You exceed the speed limit for more than 10 seconds.


You hit or mount the kerb or touch any stationary object (such as a sign, fence, pole, tree or rubbish bin) or touch any vehicle or road user (pedestrian or cyclist).

Note – you are not penalised in the following situations:

  • if your tyre contacts the kerb (without mounting the kerb) when parking perpendicular to the kerb
  • if your motorcycle collides with another vehicle or road user and the collision is the fault of the other road user and you did not contribute to the collision.

Fail to stop

You do not come to a complete stop at a stop sign (with one foot on the ground) before proceeding.

You fail to stop when required to do so at:

  • a red or yellow traffic light; or
  • a railway level crossing.

Dangerous position

You stop the motorcycle in a dangerous position, eg intruding into or blocking a pedestrian crossing or an area controlled by pedestrian traffic signals resulting in a pedestrian having to take evasive action (ie stop, slow, turn back, hurry, or diverge around the vehicle).

When waiting to turn you stop in a position that blocks the path of oncoming traffic.

You stop on a cross-hatched clear zone (cross-hatched yellow lines).

You stop on a railway crossing.

You enter an intersection when your passage or exit is blocked by stationary traffic.

Other dangerous action

Any other riding action not covered by other immediate failure errors that will either:

  • cause another road user to take evasive action
  • cause immediate danger to road users or property
  • unnecessarily increase the risk of collision.

Assessment wrap up

Debrief and assessment feedback

At the end of the assessment, the assessor will give you feedback on your riding performance. You can choose to have a support person present during this feedback if you would like to.

Any relevant feedback (regardless of whether you’ve passed or failed) will be documented on the ‘Assessment feedback’ form and given to you at the end of your debrief.

Training requirements

While training is not a compulsory part of the approved CBTA course content, it’s highly recommended that you’re fully trained/prepared before attempting the CBTA course assessment.

Any approved CBTA assessor will be able to offer you optional training at any stage of your progression through the graduated licensing system.

Successful candidates

If you pass the assessment, you’ll be issued with a Transport Agency motorcycle competency certificate for the appropriate CBTA course.

You’ll need to produce the certificate to a driver licensing agency when you apply for a Class 6 restricted or full licence.

Unsuccessful candidates

If you fail the assessment and wish to be reassessed, you’re required to be reassessed in full over the entire assessment route.


If you want to dispute your course assessment outcome, you’ll need to complete the CBTA customer complaint form and send it directly to the CBTA assessor who carried out your assessment. The form can be found here.

The assessor will investigate your complaint and respond to you in writing within 20 working days.

If you’re not satisfied with their response (or don’t receive a reply within the specified timeframe), you can then refer your complaint to the local Transport Agency regional office for review. Office location and contact details can be found here.

CBTA course queries

If you have any further queries about CBTA, please contact either the Transport Agency contact centre or your local Transport Agency regional office.

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Last updated: 15 July 2014