Motorcycle Driver Licencing

MotorcycleBack on the 25th of July I wrote about the rash of motorcycle collisions on Vancouver Island. Most were attributed to driver error and I wrote that the Graduated Licencing Program gave new drivers plenty of time to develop their skills before moving on to the next stage. Since then many riders have taken the time to point out to me that this is not the case when the rider already has a BC driver's licence for a vehicle other than a motorcycle.

"I was a learner and had my full privilege driver's licence in 32 days" wrote one man. He said that he was disgusted at how easy it was to obtain the motorcycle licence and that he did not have to display a new driver sign at any time during those 32 days. He also suggested it would be interesting to know how many of these fatalities happened to riders who went through the GLP and how many went the same route he had.

I returned to the ICBC web site and read the section on obtaining a motorcycle driver's licence when you already had another class of BC licence. It does state that you must remain a class 6 learner for at least 30 days, operate under the direct supervision of an adult holder of a class 6 licence, travel no faster than 60 km/h, carry no passengers and operate during daylight hours only. There is no need to display a new driver sign.

After the 14 days have passed a new rider may take a motorcycle skills test generally conducted in a paved lot at low speed. The allows the examiner to determine if the rider has the necessary balance and steering skills. Once 30 days have passed and the rider has successfully completed the skills test, the final one hour road test can be taken and if successful the rider would then hold a full privilege class 6 licence.

The writer was clear that 30 days was far too short a period and suggested that BC should consider the example set by England requirig that a rider develop skills on motorcycles with small engine displacements before moving up to larger more powerful machines.

What do you think? Send your comments by e-mail if you wish and I will post them to the Feedback page of the Behind the Wheel web site.


I agree 100%. New riders need more experience before taking passengers and riding at night. A good way to accomplish this is add another month or two onto the time period, which shouldn't be a problem because most riders get licensed in the spring when daylight is long and getting longer.

I have rode a bike as my only vehicle for 8 years and like to ask people who I come across why they stopped riding. Everyone said one of two things: they rode for many years then needed to buy a car for the family or wear a suit, or they rode a few months and got into an accident with their bike and gave up. All these people started out on 600cc, or even 900cc bikes, which I think is ridiculous. You shouldn't be able to go that fast, they encourage reckless driving. If a 300cc limit was imposed for the first year then a market would open up and these bikes could actually sell here in Canada. I think if everyone had smaller bikes there would be less problems on the road and less accidents.