K53 Motorcycle Test

For the South African driver’s licence for motorbikes

K53 Test is the term given to the practical driving licence test in South Africa. It is a more stringent test than the previous tests, with less penalty points being allowed and very specific defensive driving techniques forming part of the test.

It is therefore essential that a motorcycle learner driver prepares thoroughly before taking the official test. With the K53 test there is now a lot to know and remember to do correctly.

You are not allowed to carry a passenger with you when riding with a learner’s licence (not even an instructor). Therefore, you should instead work carefully through one of the manuals or the interactive CD reviewed on this site so that you know exactly how you will be tested and scored, and can practice the various manoeuvres over and over until you can do each test item well on your own.


What the test covers

  • a pre-trip inspection
  • a starting procedure
  • a skills test


What you will be tested on

  • competence in handling a motorcycle
  • compliance with traffic rules, road signs and surface markings
  • use of the K53 system of vehicle control


Some things you should know

  • This test is for riding a two-wheeled motorcycle, and not for three-wheeled (tricycle) or four-wheeled (quad-bike) motorcycles, nor for a motorcycle with a side-car.
  • During the test, you will not be allowed to smoke or use a cell phone.
  • There is no time limit for completing the test.


How the test is structured

Part One:

  • pre-trip inspection of the motorcycle’s roadworthiness
  • starting and stopping the engine
  • speed management and control
  • moving off and turning left
  • changing lane to the right
  • stopping on an incline and then moving off, without rolling back

Part Two:

  • turning speed judgement (to the left and to the right)
  • emergency stops
  • emergency swerves to the left and to the right
  • stopping in a controlled manner


How you are scored

Throughout the test, the following items will be marked with penalty points as necessary:

  • violation of a traffic law
  • uncontrolled actions
  • dangerous actions
  • collisions
  • mechanical failure


Examiner’s instructions

Before the commencement of Part One of the test, the examiner will tell you that:

  • you must do the observations and give the appropriate signals as would be necessary when driving on a public road
  • you must wear a properly fastened crash helmet throughout the test
  • both wheels must remain in contact with the road surface at all times
  • while you are performing a manoeuvre you must not touch the boundary lines for that manoeuvre – if you do, you will fail the test. (You will, however, not be penalized for touching any boundary lines when moving the vehicle to the next manoeuvre.)
  • all road signs, signals, rules and markings must be obeyed throughout the test
  • you must switch off the engine when the motorcycle is unattended
  • no uncontrolled or dangerous action will be permitted
  • you may ask questions about any of the above

See the official scoresheet

Other important notes

  • Prior to the commencement of a manoeuvre, the examiner will give you the instructions and explanation only when the motorcycle is stationary.
  • Immediately after moving off, you must place both feet on the motorcycle’s footrests.
  • If you feel that the test is too difficult, you may discontinue at any stage. However, in order to pass, you must complete the entire test.


Details of each K53 manoeuvre

These sequences are not all exactly the same for every manoeuvre, so be sure to study each one carefully.

Recommended K53 preparation material

Choose the format you prefer:

In these materials every motorcycle test manoeuvre is explained in full detail (with illustrations) in together with the sequences in which the K53 defensive driving actions must be carried out.


Related pages

The K53 Driving Licence
Licence Codes
The K53 Driving Licence Test
K53 Driving Test Scoring Method
K53 Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
K53 Road Test
K53 Motorcycle Riding Skills Test
Which K53 Manual To Use For Preparation?
CD – Topscore K53 Learner’s and Driver’s Licence Test Success