Getting Your Motorcycle License – Starting Out
So, you have made a decision to learn to ride a motorcycle, so where to now? Most of you would be thinking that it can’t possibly be so hard to do, right? You figure that you have been riding a bicycle since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, the only difference is that the motorcycle has an engine between the wheels, right? Wrong!
It’s not about how well you can ride a motorcycle, or whether you can pop a wheelie or turn out a donut. It’s not about having been riding dirt-bikes since you were a little kid. It’s not about being able to race dirt-bikes. It’s not about, having had your bike license for years and teaching your kid to ride and claiming that he can ride well.
As a motorcycle instructor in Perth, I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard the guys saying that they have been riding Harleys for years without a license and now they want to become legal. I’ve heard the dads boasting about their own prowess and that they have taught their kid to ride. I’ve heard the guys say that they have been racing dirt-bikes for years and now need a valid license so that they can participate in some enduro that entails crossing a gazetted road. I’ve also heard the cursing, swearing, insults and abuse as a result of their failing to show their competence on the road.
It’s about discipline. It’s about riding to the conditions and your abilities, while not losing sight of other motorists’ ineptitudes or lack of concentration. It’s about being visible and observant. It’s about split second decision making and responses. It’s about demonstrating that you are able to meet the minimum requirements for riding a motorcycle on a public road. But, before we even get to that stage, you need to actually learn how to ride a motorcycle – on the road.
To start with, you need to be legally entitled to ride or learn to ride a motorcycle. In Western Australia, there are some conditions that are required to be met before you may ride a motorcycle. You need to be of the appropriate age before you are permitted to learn to ride a motorcycle. If you meet the age criteria, you need to hold a valid motorcycle learners permit for the class of motorcycle for which you are taking motorcycle lessons.
The motorcycle learner’s permit test is a computer based, multiple choice test consisting of 35 questions specific to motorcycle riding and compliance. You may view sample tests at the following links : Quiz A, Quiz B, Quiz C
The following is the appropriate age and requirements for learning to ride:
- A Moped – the learner must be of age 15 years and 6 months .
- For a RE class motorcycle – the learner must be 16 years of age.
- For a R class motorcycle – the rider must hold a RE class license. The rider does NOT need to hold a learner’s permit.
Secondly, you must display L plates – rearward and forward facing) and carry your learners permit with you.
In Western Australia you may not ride a motorcycle on a public road, unless you are accompanied by a qualified supervisor.
The following criteria are the requirements for a supervisor while you are learning to ride a motorcycle:
- The supervisor must be riding a motorcycle, they can be the pillion passenger on your motorcycle
- The supervisor must have held the class or license that they are supervising (or higher) for a minimum of 4 years.
- If you are learning to ride a moped, then a supervisor holding a C (motorcar) class license for a minimum of 2 years may supervise you.
- If you are learning to ride a LAMS approved motorcycle, then the supervisor must have held a RE class license for a minimum of 4 years or more or a R (Unrestricted) class license for 2 years or more.
- If you are learning to ride a R (Unrestricted) class motorcycle, then the supervisor must have held an R class license for a period of no less than 4 years.
- A motorcycle instructor qualified by Certification or certified by the Department of Transport, provided that they are certified to teach the class of motorcycle you are learning to ride.
- A supervisor may supervise any number of learner riders provided that he/she is in visual contact with all the learners at all times. The supervisor takes responsibility for the learners on the road.
You must pass a practical driving assessment and show that you meet the minimum requirements for riding a motorcycle in Western Australia. This is in the way of a ride with the assessor following behind giving directions and during the ride, additions skills or competencies are tested separately.
Low Speed Manoeuvres – O Turns and a simulated emergency stop – Quick Stop.
Failure to satisfactorily achieve these competencies will result in a failure of the practical driving assessment, as will any traffic violation or significant failure in safety.