Beyond the Handlebars: Navigating Motorcycle License Requirements in Australia

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It’s no secret that the cost of living is having an impact on all of us, and just one contributor to this is the price of fuel. For a more cost-effective option to transport yourself from A to B, you may be considering a motorcycle licence. However, just like with obtaining any kind of licence in Australia, there are a few things you need to know. 

To get started the first step is to get a learner’s permit, which varies from state to state in Australia. Once you have secured the permit, you will be able to ride a motorcycle under the supervision of another licenced rider. Sounds easy right? But there are a few more important steps before you can ride solo. After completing the necessary number of supervised driving hours for your state of residence, you’ll need to pass a written test, a practical riding test, and a vision test with a local driver licensing authority. If you pass the test, you will then be able to upgrade your licence. 

There are some significant differences for getting a riding licence in each Australian state. For information on your state’s requirements, keep reading.  

New South Wales (NSW) 

In NSW you must be at least 16 years and six months old to commence the pre-learner course which is a NSW Government requirement prior to obtaining your learner’s permit. You must then wait until you are 16 years and nine months old before you can be issued with a learner licence. Once you are 17 and have held your learner licence for a period of 3 - 12 months, you can take the NSW pre-provisional licensing course and skills test. After passing all tests you are free to safely hit the open road as a P-Plater. 

Find more information on motorcycle licensing in NSW by reading Getting Your Rider Licence.

Queensland (QLD) 

Before you can learn to ride a motorcycle in Queensland, you will need to have held a provisional or open car licence for a minimum of 1 year. This ensures you have on-road driving experience before you learn to ride. In addition, you will need to complete the Q-Ride pre-learning course, pass a motorcycle knowledge test, obtain a medical fitness certificate, and finally apply for your RE learner licence. Once received, you can learn to ride. 

For further information on the riding permit differences in QLD, read Getting a Learner Motorcycle Licence (RE). 

Victoria (VIC) 

If you live in Victoria, you will need to be at least 18 years old and medically fit to be eligible for a motorcycle learner permit. If you meet these initial requirements you will then have to successfully complete a two-day course which is specifically designed to get you ready to ride on the road safely. The course will include an eyesight test, a knowledge test, and an on and off-road assessment. Once you’ve passed the course you’ll receive a learner permit for 15 months. 

To see all the steps involved in reaching the probationary stage of your riding licence in VIC, read Get Your Motorcycle Ls

Western Australia (WA)

In WA you can start riding a motorcycle at a younger age than any of the other states. If you are at least 16 years old, you can apply for a riding learner’s permit which will involve a theory and eye test, as well as various forms and fees. After passing the theory test you will be issued with your learner’s permit. After completing 50 supervised riding hours you will be able to sit the Hazard Perception Test and Practical Driving Assessment. However, you must be 16 years and 6 months old. If you pass, you are now able to ride solo with P-Plates. 

For all the information you will need to become a motorcycle rider in WA, read Get a licence to Ride a Motorcycle

South Australia (SA) 

In South Australia, having a probationary C class licence could get you riding earlier than going directly for a rider licence. To be issued a rider learner’s permit you must be at least 18 years old, or 17 years old with a provisional licence for another class of vehicle. Completion of the Basic Rider Safe course is also a necessity to receive your learner’s permit. 

To explore the fees and requirements for gaining your riding licence in SA, visit Applying for a Motorcycle Licence.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 

If you’re 16 years and 9 months old, you can start the process to apply for your riding learner’s permit. Completion of the ACT Road Rules test, the pre-learner course and the rider training course is compulsory prior to applying for your learner permit. 

All the prerequisites for obtaining your learner riding permit and the process to upgrade to probationary is available at Motorcycle Licences.

Tasmania (TAS) 

To get your motorcycle licence for the first time in Tasmania you will need to be at least 16 years and 6 months old, pass the Road Rules Knowledge Test at Service Tasmania, and pass a Pre Learner Course. As a learner rider you will have numerous restrictions to adhere to including always displaying an L-plate on the back of your bike, never riding more than 80km/h, and only riding a learner approved motorcycle. 

For all the restrictions and steps to achieve your probationary licence, read Getting a Motorcycle Licence.

Northern Territory (NT)

Joining WA as one of the two Australian states with the youngest age to obtain a learners riding permit, you must be at least 16 years old to apply for a motorcycle licence in the Northern Territory. As with all other states, you must progress through the learner and provisional licence stages before achieving your open rider licence. To obtain your learner licence, pass the theory and practical assessment. 

For all the prerequisites and how to graduate to your P-Plates, read Get Your Motorcycle Rider licence. 

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