British Columbia is one of the easiest provinces in Canada to acquire your motorcycle licence, as long as you’re already licensed.
If you already have an unrestricted driver’s licence Class 1-5), you must pass a written test (and also have parental/guardian’s permission, if you’re under 19). This earns you a motorcycle learner’s licence (Class 6L).
While you have your Class 6L, you must be accompanied by a Class 6-licenced rider who’s at least 19 years old. You cannot ride after dark or carry passengers.
From there, you must take a motorcycle skills test; you can take that test after only 14 days of having your learner’s licence. For the skills test, you’ll ride around a closed area and show you understand basic motorcycle operation (signal lights, horn, etc.). Make sure your supervising rider accompanies you to the skills test. If you take a certified riding instruction course, the requirement for the skills test is waived.
After passing the skills test, and having the Class 6L licence for 30 days , you can take take the Class 6 road test, which is exactly what it sounds like. Be sure to take this test on the sort of bike you want to ride; show up on a scooter, and your licence will be restricted to scooter; show up on a small motorcycle (200 cc or smaller), and you will be restricted from carrying passengers. Show up on a bigger motorcycle, and you will have no restrictions.
Things get more complicated if you have never held a driver’s licence before, or if you’re still enrolled in the province’s graduated licencing program (L-class or N-class licences).
If you are a new rider/driver (not licensed before), you must also pass the passenger vehicle knowledge test as well as the written motorcycle knowledge test. This gets you a Class 8L (learner’s) licence; L-class and N-class car licences do not have to write the passenger vehicle knowledge course to get a Class 8L.
Restrictions for the Class 8L are similar to the Class 6L licence (no passengers, don’t ride after dark, etc.), but your supervising rider must be at least 25 years old. Class 8L riders must also display a sign while riding, indicating you’re a learner.
Along with L-class and N-class licenced riders, new riders can take the motorcycle skills test after having the Class 8L licence for at least 30 days. Then, after passing the skills test and having the Class 6L licence for at least 12 months, you can take the Class 8 motorcycle road test. Your 8L licence expires after 24 months, so be sure to take the road test before that happens.
Pass the road test, and you’re still not out of the woods. This earns you a Class 8N licence. You must hold this licence for another 24 months and pass another road test before earning an unrestricted Class 6 licence.
More details on the process, including licence fees, are available here. Remember, if you’re part of the graduated licencing process and you do not have a Class 1-5 licence when acquiring your motorcycle licence, you must maintain 0% blood alcohol while riding.