Learn to Ride a Motorbike
(for Absolute Beginners!)

Getting Started

Learning to ride a motorcycle should be fun and safe. The best and safest way to learn to ride is with a qualified instructor and ICBC licensed motorcycle school.   

Enroll in A Motorcycle Course

If you choose to learn on your own, or if you decide to practice while waiting for your motorcycle course to begin…

Always choose to practice in a safe environment, preferrably away from traffic and distractions, and make sure you wear safety gear, including boots, an armoured jacket, armoured gloves and a full face helmet.

Step by Step…

click to jump to section:

1. Apply for Your Learners License

2. Choosing Your Path (school vs self-taught)
3. Get the right gear
4. Choosing a first bike 
5. Find a supervisor or instructor
6. Learn to handle your bike
7. Getting out into traffic


The Knowledge Test

The first step in the licensing process is to pass your knowledge test. Due to Covid 19 precautions, ICBC currently offers the knowledge test by appointment only It can take weeks or even months to get an appointment depending on where you live, so book your knowledge test now – don’t wait until you’re ready. In BC, you must be at least 16 years of age to get a motorcycle license.

Book Your Knowledge Test (ICBC)

Prepare For The Test:


40 multiple-choice questions on a touch screen kiosk. You must answer 32 correctly (80%).  You can skip questions and return to them later. Once you have answered 32 correctly, the test ends.

The test costs $15.


Test questions are based on the Learn to Ride Smart guide. Use this guide to study. If you don’t pass, there is a 7 day waiting period to re-test, but it could take much longer to get an appointment, so study hard!

The Study Guide

Take A Course or Learn On Your Own?

In BC, getting your motorcycle license does not require enrolling in a new rider course.

Standard motorcycle riding courses cost, on average, between $700 and $800.  This price includes: a classroom/theory element (that focuses on the causes of motorcycle related accidents and how to avoid them); a practical element (learning handling skills on a motorcycle in a parking lot); and some level of road support and road test test.

A course is always your best bet for learning the correct techniques and habits and is recommended as a starting point for all new riders.

If you choose to learn on your own, due to budgetary reasons, or otherwise, scroll down to the next section and continue reading. If you are trying to decide if a motorcycle school is right for you, check out these top reasons for enrolling in motorcycle rider training.

Enroll In A Course
One to One or Group?

Choose the best program for your schedule and learning style. A group setting can be lots of fun, but 1 to 1 guarantees that the lessons go at your pace.

1 to 1, or ‘private’ lessons also ensure that you learn on your schedule, rather than take time off work, or try to cram your lessons into a single 3 or 4 day period. 

For more information on the benefits of private instruction, click the button below or check out our courses.

Why 1-on-1?

If you prefer group instruction, we recommend ProRIDE Motorcycle Training at Capilano University in North Vancouver

Safe Environment

Professional motorcycle training begins in a classroom, then moves to a closed circuit training area, before eventually progressing into the street.

When you learn on your own, using a friend or YouTube to teach you, how will you decide if that friend, or YouTube ‘instructor’ is giving you good advice?  All BC instructors are required to take an 80 hour instructor course that has been approved by the ICBC driving school division. Additional training is offered to new instructors by the motorcycle school that hires them. It’s always better, when possible, to learn from an experienced instructor rather than a friend or online method.

Proven Learning Strategies

Motorcycle schools base their training on tried and true, proven methods.

Motorcycles & Equipment Provided

When first learning to ride, you may not have your own bike, or all of the necessary safety gear. Many motorcycle training courses offer the motorcycles and safety gear.

ICBC Regulated

In BC, no one can charge a fee to teach you how to ride unless they are licensed by ICBC. Having this oversight ensures that schools follow safe and proven methods.


Motorcycles are fast and fun. Always wear your safety gear.

What You Need:

Types of Bikes

– Cruisers
– Sportbikes– Touring
– Adventure
– Dual Sport
– Sport/Touring
– Cafe Racer
– Retro
– Commuter

Choosing A First Bike

There are several things to consider when choosing a first bike. For example, the power that the bike has, the weight of the bike and the style of bike – cruiser, sport, touring, etc.

If you want to stay safe on a motorcycle, it’s always best to choose a bike that suits your size, experience and skill level. 

It’s also worth considering the purpose of your riding. Will you be commuting to work? Do you plan to ride off road? Are long road trips in your plans?

And of course, budget matters too! Insurance costs increase with the size of the engine. A bike with an engine under 400cc is only a fraction of the cost to insurance of a bike with large engine, for example, over 1150cc.


Common Characteristics

– Low seat height
– Forward foot controls
– Typically, large displacement (cc), 2 cylinder engines
– Long wheel base
– Comfortable seat
– Attractive styling

Cruisers are sometimes the best option for shorter riders. They can also be good road trip bikes. The forward pegs typically help keep legs and knees comfortable, but for some riders, this position adds strain to the lower back if riding long distances or commuting every day.


Common Characteristics

– Light weight
– Built to corner well and accelerate quickly
– 4 cylinders are common in higher CC performance sportbikes

Remember – when a bike is built to do one thing really well (go fast), it is at a cost. Sport bikes can handle well in the city, but they will make you work a little harder during slow speed, tight turns. Also, the seating position isn’t always the most comfortable.