When you start dreaming about hitting the road on a motorcycle, it’s a great time to start studying. Beyond taking a road test you need to study and learn the rules of the road first. The process of getting your license slightly differs depending on whether you’re an existing driver, totally new to riding motorcycles, have a learner driver, or a novice driver.
Motorcycle licensing for New Drivers
There are certain rules that apply to new drivers vs. experienced B.C. drivers. If you’re a new driver or have less than two years of experience, there are a few extra steps you have to take to help ensure that you will not have a crash. As a new or inexperienced driver, you first have to get your motorcycle learner’s license. You’ll need to pass the motorcycle knowledge test and then the passenger vehicle knowledge test if you don’t have an L or N. You need your legal guardian or parent to get involved by providing consent if you are under the age of 19. After you’ve held your L for at least 30 days, you can take your motorcycle skills test. However, once you’ve had the L for 12 months, you can take the Class 8 motorcycle road test. Once you pass the Class 8 motorcycle road test, you’ve reached the Novice stage. After 24 months in the Novice stage, you can take the Class 6 motorcycle road test which is the final test. The Class 8N license helps prepare you for real-world riding scenarios. At this stage of licensing you’ll learn how to identify hazards, and proper riding posture.
Motorcycle licensing for Existing Drivers
Existing B.C. drivers have a little bit less to go through to gain their motorcycle license. If you already have a license in B.C. with full privileges, first pass the motorcycle knowledge test. You’ll need a parent or guardian if under 19 years old. At least 14 days after the motorcycle knowledge test you can take the motorcycle skills test. Note that if you complete certified motorcycle training, you won’t have to wait 14 days because the motorcycle skills test is included with the knowledge test. After 30 full days of being a learner, you can obtain your full motorcycle license by passing the Class 6 motorcycle road test.
The varying motorcycle license levels are as follows:
BC 8L License
BC 6L License
BC 8N License
BC Class 6 License
When can you get your British Columbia motorcycle license?
In British Columbia, you can obtain your license at the age of 19 years old or 16 with parental consent.
How much is a British Columbia motorcycle license?
The motorcycle knowledge test is $15. You don’t need an appointment to take the test, you can simply show up with your ID and the fee. Once you pass the knowledge test and receive your Class 6L license, hold it for 30 days and then you can take the 6L road test. The $50 fee is due when you arrive to take the 6L road test.
What is a Class 7 license in BC?
Class 7 is the first license level. A Class 7 license allows you to operate a vehicle that requires Class 5, 6, or 8 without holding the license yourself. With a Class 7 license, you must drive under the supervision of a fully licensed driver. A driver with this license is able to pull a trailer or vehicle that does not exceed 4,600 KG (in a vehicle with no more than two axles). The 7L license is a beginning step of learning to drive. The 7N license indicates you’re at the Novice level and able to drive alone but it is not a full license.
Can I ride a motorcycle with a car license?
If you already have a license to drive a car in B.C. you’ll have an easier time obtaining a license. A special license is required to ride a motorcycle even if you have a car license. You’ll still need to pass the motorcycle knowledge test, motorcycle skills test, and finally pass the Class 6 road test.
Can I get a license without a car license?
You can get a license without a car license, there are just a few extra steps. You’ll need to take and pass the passenger-vehicle knowledge test, motorcycle knowledge test, motorcycle skills test, and pass the Class 8 motorcycle road test after 12 months. After 24 months at the Novice stage, you can pass the Class 6 motorcycle road test for a full license.
Is lane splitting legal in BC?
Lane splitting usually occurs when a motorcyclist is held up in slow-moving traffic and switches lanes to alleviate congestion. While the practice may seem to speed up traffic for motorcyclists, it’s still illegal in B.C.
Can you drive a motorcycle with a Class 5?
A Class 5 license does not permit you to drive a motorcycle, but you can drive a moped. The Class 6 license is what grants access to driving a motorcycle. A Class 5 license only permits you to learn how to drive a motorcycle.
A Class 5 license will allow you to drive certain motor vehicles, including;
- A moped
- Any combo of a trailer and recreational vehicle (2 axles or less, no airbrakes)
- Trailer towing with one axle or more (no airbrakes)
- A motorhome without airbrakes (unless you have an airbrake certificate)
- A 2-axle vehicle with a single motor
How long does it take to get a license?
The period of time it takes to get a license varies. It mainly depends on whether you currently hold a license or not. If you have a B.C. driver’s license Class 1-5, you can take the motorcycle knowledge test and hold your learners for 14 days. After 14 days, you can take the motorcycle skills test. You can avoid waiting 14 days by taking certified motorcycle training with your knowledge test. After 30 days of holding your learner, you can take the Class 6 road test to get your full license. The total amount of time it takes to get your license will vary upon passing or failure of tests and whether you complete certified motorcycle training or not.
If you do not have an L or N, you will need to take and pass the passenger-vehicle knowledge test. This is a test that more experienced drivers will not have to take. For new drivers, you hold your learner’s for 30 days and then pass the motorcycle skills test. Then, hold the learners for an additional 12 months and you can take the Class 8 road test. After the Class 8 road test is passed, you hold onto your Novice for 24 months and then take the final Class 6 motorcycle road test. There is an exception to the rule if you already have a 7N license, you only have to pass one road test in order to complete GLP. Without any driving experience, it can take a total of 37 months to get your license in BC.
The process of getting your license is most contingent upon whether you have a license currently or not. New drivers are going to have to show that they have acquired knowledge of motor vehicle law as well as laws specific to motorcycles. If you currently have a driver’s license getting your license will likely be a 3 step process. If you fail the knowledge test you may be asked to wait a specific period of time before coming back to retest. After successful completion of the knowledge test, you are actually able to ride your motorcycle as long as you have supervision. The person supervising you must have their license for no less than four years and a blood alcohol level of 0%.
There are restrictions on when you can ride all learners, driving isn’t allowed between 12 am and 5 am. You cannot go faster than 60km/h. Also, you can’t have passengers on your bike as a learner and the permit is valid for one year.
Study and preparation
Regarding testing for your learners, you’ll be expected to know proper hand signals, identify all motorcycle controls, and have knowledge of lane positioning. Study for your tests by visiting a driver’s license branch office for resources or take the practice test online. Study the British Columbia Learn to Drive Smart Guide before taking the practice test.
Regarding the type of bike you’ll need for your road test, you can bring any kind you like. Just be sure that 100% of the bike components are working. Make sure that all safety features are working including; the speedometer, lights, and brakes. Once you’ve successfully acquired a license to ride, you still need motorcycle insurance to stay in the parameters of the law. Make sure all necessary documents are available prior to riding.