There is a strict system of time restrictions, regulations, and a graduated licensing process that must be followed when getting a motorcycle license in Ontario, Canada. If an individual is of at least 16 years of age, they can apply for the license, and must apply for an M Class license.
Types of Licenses
The type of license is dependent upon what type of motorcycle is driven. The three main types of motorcycle licenses are:
• M class (includes the M1 licence and M2 licence) – this is for full-speed motorcycles.
• M class with condition L (includes M1 licence and M2-L licence) – this is for motorized scooters and mopeds (otherwise known as “limited speed” motorcycles that cannot go any faster than 70/km hour and cannot be driven on any road with a maximum speed limit of 80 km/hour).
• M class with condition M (includes M1 and M2-M licences) – this is for motorized tricycles or three-wheeled motorcycles.
Application Process and Required Identity Documents
In order to apply, you must be 16 years old, pass a written M1 test on traffic signs and rules of the road, and also pass an eye exam. The driver will need to have identification that shows the driver’s date of birth, signature, and legal name, prior to being able to schedule any exams.
Once all of these tests have been successfully passed, an individual will be issued an M1 License. Before graduating to a full M Class license, a rider must complete two learning levels (M1 and M2, M1 and M2-L, or M1 and M2-M), and then also pass two road tests. Once a rider is issued an M2 license, they have up to five years to complete the required learning process. If they do not get their full license after five years, they have to start the entire process over.
Once issued the M1 license, it comes with the understanding that the driver is a beginner rider who needs to practice and gain experience over time. In addition, if a driver possesses an M1 license, by law, they must:
• Only ride during daylight hours, which are ½ after sunset, and ½ hour before sunrise);
• Have absolutely NO alcohol in their blood and maintain a blood alcohol level of zero;
• Not drive on any roads that have speed limits over 80 km/hour (this restriction does not apply to highways 11, 17, 61, 69, 71, 101, 102, 144, or 655);
• Wear a helmet that is safety approved; and,
• Not carry any passengers, and must always drive alone.
Graduating to an M2 Licence
The M1 License is valid for 90 days, and if it expires, the entire process needs to be started over. There is a waiting period of at least 60 days before the first road test can be taken. Once that road test has been passed, a rider can then get an M2 License. This means that the rider can freely ride on any road, and can ride at night. They must still maintain a zero blood alcohol level and still have to wear a helmet. After a period of 22 months, the rider can take the second road test and if they pass, they get a full M Class license.
To shorten the waiting period to take the road test, a rider can take an authorized Motorcycle Safety Course. After successfully completing the course, the driver will receive a referral envelope. If, within six months, the driver brings this envelope to a DriveTest Centre, the driver does not need to take the M1 road test. They can directly move onto the next level, which is the M2 License, and can go ahead and take the second road test.
How to Book a Road Test
To book a road test, an individual can do so by phone, by internet, or go in-person to a DriveTest Centre. If booked at a Driver Examination Centre, a road test appointment will be available within 42 days of the date it is requested. In order to avoid a cancellation fee, be sure that you cancel a test at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment.
Here are some additional helpful tips to follow that will help streamline the overall process.
1. Do some research and find a local Ontario driver's license office that is closest to you or to your work place.
2. Call a Centre to verify that their hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and ask them if they accept appointments. Make an appointment if the local office accepts them as this will reduce waiting in line.
3. Make sure you bring a road-worthy vehicle to take the road test with as they are required. If you show up without your own vehicle, you will not be allowed to take the road test and will have to take the time to reschedule the test and go back.
4. Avoid going to a Centre during the standard lunch hours between 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., as this is when many people take their lunch breaks during the week.
5. Definitely avoid going the day after a holiday, and also avoid going to a Centre on the first day and last day of the month.
6. Make sure that you bring all of the required identity documents.
7. Save time and fill out any of the required paperwork before visiting a Centre and bring the documents with you.
8. Contact a Centre for answers on any concerns, unanswered questions, or unique circumstances before visiting a Centre just to make sure that you will be able to achieve what you want to achieve.
Be sure to remember that, to drive on Ontario roads, you must always carry a valid driver’s license, and have a valid license plate, insurance, and owner’s permit. You must also drive safely, obey traffic laws at all times, and always wear an appropriate helmet.