How to get your motorcycle licence in Canada

British Columbia

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.


  1. Someone once told me that here in BC, when he got his licence back in the 70s, the clerk walked out into the parking lot and told him, “Ride out that gate there, and ride back in that gate over there.”

    Exiting through the one gate put you on a one-way street, and the only way to get back was to take a long loop around the block that went through a couple of intersections and over some railroad tracks. If you made it back in one piece you got your endorsement.

  2. Maybe check your info on the ON licence – you state in the article “You must hold your M1 licence for at least 60 days before taking a road test to advance to an M2 licence”….incorrect, you can take a recognized course anywhere in that time period, do the test within the course & be M2 qualified – the Ministry just waits until the 60 days to recognize it. Also you write “After 22 months you may then take a second road test to get your unrestricted M licence.” It is only 18 months if you take a recognized course.

    • Nope wife and I did the Ontario M licencing and the ministry states you have your M1 for ONLY 90 days after passing the written test, but after 60 days can you take your M1 exiting test and after the 90 days are up you either have your M2/ML or you have to start the process all over again.

  3. My dad took his car test back in the 50s and the examiner said, “Oh, do you want this to be good for a motorcycle too?” When my dad said “Sure!” The examiner ticked a second box and there you go – licensed for a bike for life.

  4. I had always assumed that to get your motorcycle licence in Alberta that you just went through the same process as a regular drivers’ licence there – fill out the form on the back of the cereal box, cut it out and mail it in with your proof of purchase.
    Learn something new every day.

  5. Times have changed…my dad took his test in Windsor Ontario in the late 60’s and it was basically ride around the block from the mto office and if you made it back in 1 piece you passed

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