Learn the basics in a day, then pass a test
TO ride a motorcycle legally in the UK you first have to complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and then pass a test
CBT is not as bad as it may at first sound. It really is designed to make you a decent rider. The tuition is normally done in a single day and most training agencies run courses on Saturdays. After a basic eyesight test (reading a standard number plate at 20.5m) you take your bike to an enclosed training area so you can familiarise yourself with the bike's controls and low speed manoeuvrability, away from impatient motorists.
Once that's out of the way, it's time to go into the classroom to learn the correct motorcycle road protocol.
The final part of the day is a practical on-road riding session of at least two hours during which participants will be taken through a variety of hazards. The whole time you'll be followed by an instructor who'll be in contact via a helmet-mounted radio.
As far as who can ride what is concerned, once you are 16 you'll be able to venture out on to the roads aboard a moped. To do this you'll need a provisional moped licence and a DL196 Certificate (to show you have completed CBT) and this is valid for two years. The other thing you'll need, besides a moped of course, is a set of L-plates. While on the subject, a moped is any powered two-wheeler with an engine less than 50cc in capacity and a top speed restricted to less than 30mph.
CBT must also include an overview of routine daily checks, procedures for starting, stopping, turning and changing gear, emergency braking, observation and signalling, manual handling (including use of stands), an introduction to defensive riding and a talk about riding on the road.
Fluorescent jackets and protective clothing and equipment must be worn during the course. Training schemes have to obey a number of rules, with a strict four-to-one student/instructor ratio off road and two-to-one on road.
All you have to do now is practise what you have been taught and pass your test. Good luck.