At the time of writing, the major roadworks planned for St Mary’s roundabout were underway. Drivers have been dreading the chaos that this is going to cause and the immense time it will add to journey times travelling from Newport to Cowes and West Wight.

There is a solution to this and it’s very cost effective and quick. You can opt to go to work on a scooter. 

If you are over the age of 16, you can ride a scooter up to 125cc or at 16 you can ride a scooter up to 50cc on the road with L-plates, once you have passed the one day CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course.

If you hold a current UK drivers licence (full or provisional) and decide to go ahead, then you can take your CBT test. The CBT can be carried out at Pit-Stop training, Newport.  

The course consists of basic road safety, handling the bikes on their purpose built course and a two hour rideout with a fully qualified instructor to gain road experience. Once you have completed the course, you are the proud owner of your CBT certificate. 

Just remember that if you already own a scooter, you cannot drive it to the test centre by law, otherwise you will be arrested.

People of all ages attend the course from 16 to 80 years old. There are many reasons why people suddenly decide to buy a scooter: for leisure, getting to work, running costs and so on. Paul from Pit-Stop said: “You’re never too old to learn. We have taught 75-year-olds who suddenly fancy a scooter. Why not? It’s great fun on a scooter, and they are so handy. 

“Very few people fail the CBT. Even if they have difficulty on the day, we encourage them to return for more one to one training to ensure we get them through the CBT test. This is included within the one off fee of £110.00 we charge for the course. On very rare occasions, we do get people who, no matter how hard they try, do not feel comfortable on a scooter. In most cases, we refund them the course fee.

“We had one young student, a young girl, and she found it challenging. However, after a short break and a pep talk, she got back onto the scooter and carried on with the course. We didn’t pass her that day and invited her back for another day’s training. She is still persevering, this time with a smile on her face. This is why I do my job, to see happy riders, no matter what age.”

Once you have your certificate in your hands, the next thing to do is to purchase your scooter. This is a minefield which can be quickly solved by a trip to the local motorcycle shop. Carry out research; there are many to choose from. 

Looking on the internet, there seems to be one particular model which invariably hits the top of the list. The Honda PCX125 is a great buy. Not only do they hold their value really well, there are also some great deals available when buying them new. 

Adrian, from Church Street Motorcycles (Honda Dealer), said: “Honda are a really reliable make. The PCX is a great little twist and go scooter, with ABS, LED lighting and a nippy little engine that can reach 60mph. The cost of a new Honda PCX 125cc is around £2,929 on the road., finance packages available starting from £62.00 per month. You really cannot go wrong as a first timer.”

One thing Pit-Stop really drum into you on the course is protective clothing: you cannot spend enough on this. Modern motorcycle clothing is armoured, waterproof, comfortable and designed to keep you safe and secure. 

Adrian also reiterated this fact: “People come in and spend thousands on a bike and don’t realise they should apportion a slice of their budget on protective clothing. As a basic kit, you will need an armoured jacket (£70 – £300), boots (£100 – £200), a good helmet (£50 – £500), gloves (£30 – £90) and a good pair of armoured trousers (£70 – £200). This should be the basic requirements for any rider. It’s not as cool as a T-shirt and jeans, but it will do a much better job of protecting you in all scenarios.”

Riding on the Island roads is relatively safe. When you take your CBT, ‘lifesavers’ are drummed into you, such as a quick glance over your shoulder before changing lanes or turning, and at junctions. People pulling out on motorcycles is one of the biggest causes of accidents. However, as long as you ride sensibly and are constantly aware of potential hazards, you will enjoy many years of happy riding. However, riding sensibly on Island roads is generally much safer. 

Some people are happy to do their CBT and renew it every two years. Marion Shaw (aged 60) (pictured page 8) said; I have been riding my scooter for 16 years and love it. It’s funny but I never wanted to drive a car, I tried once when I was really young but did not like it. I am quite content nowadays to ride my scooter and re-take my CBT every 2 years, this is my 8th CBT test now. 

“Riding a scooter gives you complete freedom, I absolutely love it, I’ll keep riding for as long as I am safe on the road.However nowadays I usually get my husband to drive me to work if it’s really bad weather!”

However, there are some who continue to take their full bike test (A or A1).  Under the age of 24 you can opt for the A2 licence which allows you to ride a bike up to 47hp.

Paul explained: “The full bike test is a different kettle of fish altogether. You first have to pass the Motorcycle theory test, then you have MOD1 and then MOD2, before you obtain your full bike licence. 

“MOD1 and MOD 2 should be quite easy to pass with the correct training. From start to finish, it can take from one week to five weeks for the average rider. Once you have your licence, you can then go and buy any bike you fancy within your licence  restrictions and budget, or you can stick to your scooter and rip off those L-plates. Another advantage is that you are able to carry a passenger, something you are not allowed to do on L-plates.”

If you fancy beating the traffic and having some fun, then pop down to Pit-Stop training at St George’s Park Football Ground or pop in and see Adrian, who can be found at Church Street Motorcycles, Ventnor.

Pit Stop Training – Paul – 07774 000206

Church Street Motorcycles – Adrian – 01983 852232 

Colin Clarke
Author: Colin Clarke