A motorcycle is a great way of commuting or exploring the countryside, and in 2018 there were over 860,000 registered motorcycles in Australia. Like with a motor vehicle, there are several steps you have to take before you can legally ride on the road. This blog will take you through the process of obtaining your motorbike licence so you’re well prepared.
The first step to gaining your motorbike licence is to get your learner permit, often called Ls. Before you can do this, you need to check your eligibility, which can be different within each state. For example, in Victoria, you need to be:
- 18 years of age or older;
- a Victorian resident;
- not disqualified from holding or getting a Victorian learner permit;
- not subject to a Fines Victoria licence sanction;
- medically fit to ride.
It’s therefore best to check what the requirements are for getting your motorbike Ls before you start the process, to ensure you satisfy all the criteria.
The next step, which is similar across all Australian states and territories, is to attend a Pre-Learner Motorcycle course, which usually runs for two days. During the course you’ll be tested on your knowledge of road rules and safe riding, given an eyesight test, and undertake an on-road and off-road assessment of your skills on the second day, which will teach you how to ride and reduce your risk of accidents on the road, learning about emergency braking, steering and cornering, manoeuvring at low speed, and other skills.
After you have passed the Pre-Learner Course, you can then pay a fee to receive your learner permit, which will be valid for 15 months. During that time, you should then gain more experience riding on the road and become more familiar with riding in different conditions.
Learners need to ensure that they practise their riding on an approved LAMS (Learner Approved Motorcycles). According to Vicroads, a LAMS motorcycle must meet these criteria:
- the motorcycle must be in a standard form as produced by the manufacturer;
- not modified in a way that increases its power mass ratio;
- have a power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne or less; and
- an engine capacity of 660cc or less.
The next step is to complete a few more tasks, which consist of an eyesight test, hazard-perception test (which isn’t necessary if you already hold a motor vehicle licence), a Check Ride (further development and assessment of your motorcycle skills by a qualified coach), and a motorcycle assessment, which tests your knowledge of all the necessary road rules.
The Check Ride involves on-road coaching and riding in different environments, such as multi-lane highways, narrow country roads, shopping centres, and hills and bends. Each participant (in a group of up to five riders) takes turns in leading the group, with the instructor observing and assessing your skills.
Some of the skills evaluated in the off-road motorcycle assessment include coming to a controlled stop, making a sharp left turn, riding slowly, and making a safe path through a curve and stopping quickly. The on-road assessment judges your observation skills, keeping a safe distance at speed, and maintaining lane position. For obvious reasons, a loss of control, dangerous behaviour or a breach of the road rules will result in a failed assessment.
The type of motorcycle licence you are then issued will depend on certain circumstances, such as your age and whether or not you hold an unrestricted motor vehicle licence. In all Australian states it’s then necessary to hold a provisional/probationary licence for a certain amount of time (usually up to three years) so that riders can improve their skills further, before a full licence is licensed.
While the entire process may seem long, becoming a fully licenced motorcycle rider is a great feeling. Swann Insurance is with you the entire way as well, to ensure you have all the insurance cover you need.