Irish Motorbike Test Advice, Tips & Tricks.

Motorbike Test Advice

I just did my motorbike test last week. It was stressing me out for a good few days before; I was worried I was not prepared, so I made sure to cram and practice as much as I could – and it paid off as I passed with flying colours :-D

I hunted down as much info as possible by asking friends for advice and searching all the forums, which really helped me a lot. In the hope of helping others too – I thought I’d write all my tips and advice down in a blog post – if you have your test coming up – study and know this, practice, and you’ll be fine.

General Stuff:

Lessons – Get them – no matter how good a rider you think you are, get a pre-test at least. There are lots of little things you might not think of that you can fail for easily. Definitely get a pre-test at a minimum, but do it early, weeks before your date. Practice is key – In the few days up to the test, whenever you are on your bike, ride like it was your test, do not be lazy. It’s very hard to just “Switch it on” for the test and start doing everything perfect. Sometimes you do know exactly what to do, but you can just make mistakes and forget stuff. Try talking to yourself and narrating your actions – it actually works!

Wear all your gear, boots trousers, Yellow reflective jacket with L plates -and make sure it’s not brand new looking, dirty it up a bit. Park your bike in backwards so you can drive straight out and not have to reverse. Know the road signs, especially Clearway, Bus lane, Contra flow bus lane, pedestrian zone etc. Look the part and answer questions confidentially without rambling, and you are already off to a good start.

He’s going to ask you all about your bike, how to check oil, brake pads, adjusting chain tension etc – know all this inside out. When he asks you to get on your bike, put your right hand on the bar and hold the brake before swinging your leg over.

When out on the road – be confident. Don’t drive stupidly slow and carefully – he will fail you. Drive normally but just drive as near to the speed limit as possible at all times. Driving too slow is one of the main reasons for failure. Don’t hold up traffic. If in a 50kph zone, you can get away with doing a 33/34kph a few times – just don’t do it consistently.
Don’t worry if you make a mistake – you can get away with a few and still pass- but you don’t know, he might not have even seen it! Don’t give up, give it your best at all times and relax…

Exaggerate your observations – move your head, not just your eyes – if he can’t see you looking – you did not look – so make sure he sees you. Indicate early and manoeuvre – but not too early. Look into approaching junctions early.
Check mirrors every 20 seconds or so. Don’t look at one mirror and then the other immediately, look straight ahead for a second or two in-between. Check your mirrors every time before you slow down, or even come off the throttle.
Look out for stop signs – made sure to put your foot down at/before sign – regardless if there is not traffic.
Keep elbows down especially on lifesavers – if your arms are straight when you look over your shoulder, your bike will turn slightly when you do a lifesaver – this can send a false indication to the driver behind you.

U turn: Mirror and look behind you, but keep your hands on the handlebars, do not take your hand off to look around. Don’t drive too far forward before turning, be confident. Turn your head all the way around and look back up the road, do Not look at the opposite curb. Lean into it, drag back brake, feather throttle if needed. Don’t kit the curb whatever you do, you won’t fail if you put a foot down. He may ask you to do it again. Don’t forget to mirror, indicate, lifesaver and pull in on the other side. Practice these a lot.

Obstruction Overtake Manoeuvre: Mirror, indicate, lifesaver, move to other side of road. Mirror, indicate in, lifesaver, move back in. Practice this, I actually fcuked mine up even though it’s something we all do all the time on the road.

Theory Questions:

When would you use dipped headlights?
Dusk/ dawn, built up area, traffic coming towards you, travelling behind traffic, in fog/snow.

How/Why would you  skid / loose traction?
Oil, Diesel, leaves, gravel, ice, rain, metal plates, bad tyres, improper use of Brakes or Throttle. Also because of bad tyres. Know the minimum tread depth: 1mm.

When can you overtake on the left?
When turning left or vehicle in front of you is turning right, or on dual carraigeway/motorway and traffic in the right lane is queuing

When would you use a lifesaver?
Junctions/Roundabouts/Moving off/ Changing lanes.

Continuous white line – can you cross it?
Generally no. Exceptions – For emergency and access.

Sequence of lights at a pelican crossing?
Green-amber-red-flashing amber-green

What’s the rule for entering a yellow box junction?
Enter as long as you can drive out of it. Exceptions – Turning right and even at that provided you wont be blocking/obstructing traffic as a result.

Who can give traffic instructions?
Members of the Gardai, or if there are roadworks, you have to obey the instructions given by the workers.

How do you recognize a zebra crossing?
Black and white striped poles on either side of the road with a flashing amber beacon, zig zag lines on the road leading up to it, and black and white markings going across the road for the crossing.


9 thoughts on “Irish Motorbike Test Advice, Tips & Tricks.

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  2. Thanks very much, this was really helpfull,my 16 year old son and i are beginners and are looking to do our basic training but its good to get a general sense of what lies ahead.

  3. Thanks for the usefull tips.

    I have passed my test today :)

    My adv is to watch some of the movies on you tube connected with motorbike drive test.

    Good luck everyone

  4. Hi. Read your tips and found them very helpful. Did my test yesterday in all the wind and rain and passed it. And I’m 60.
    Thanks also to Richard at Waterford road skills. Great instructor.


  5. Hold shit dude – it’s you. I had no idea when I left the comment below. I was just having last minute jitters about the test and I googled “motorbike test ireland tips”

    Small world!

    Some great photographs there too!

    What bike do you have Colly?

  6. Hahahah I was wondering if you had notices after your first comment :D :D

    Delighted to hear you are getting into biking Paul – its literally one of the best things I have ever done, if not the best.

    I have a Ducati 749 – if you click refresh on this page the header you’ll see it but here is the proper photo: – my absolute pride and joy.

    Let me know how you get on in your test!

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