What New Riders Need to Know

Story by Ronn Calderon// Photos by Ronn Calderon
April 25 2023

Listen to good advice from someone who knows and understands.

Motorcycles can be a practical form of transportation but overall, they are fun toys for big boys and girls. For most new riders, getting a motorcycle is more of an emotional and impulse decision than, say, buying a first car. “It’s shiny, sexy, I want it … I’ll figure out the rest later” — that sort of thing. Part of the “rest,” however, is licencing, training, gear and, also, gasp, insurance.

Unfortunately, due to the impulse-buy nature of motorcycles, too many new riders end up doing things exactly backwards, painting themselves into a corner more times than not. Many people buy a bike before even getting a motorcycle licence, then wonder why it is so hard to get on the road. I have never met anyone who has bought a car before knowing how to drive, much less before having a beginner licence, but I see this with motorcycles on almost a daily basis.

Proceed in the Correct Order

What do you think the insurance rate would look like for a 24-year-old first-year rider who just bought a used 1000 cc supersport to “learn on”? Using auto insurance as a comparison, imagine what the rate would be for a 24-year-old wanting a Corvette to “learn how to drive.” Regardless of the rate, that doesn’t sound like a good idea — to me, at least.

Preparing a meal starting from the last step of the recipe will most likely end in disaster. Motorcycles are no different and when the right things are done in the right order, getting on the road is quick and easy; even the insurance rates are not that bad. So, what are “the right things”? What is “the right order”? Every province in Canada has different rules and processes when it comes to motorcycle licencing and insurance, but here are some key points to make your life easier no matter where you live:

Ideas for a Better Experience

Do not get a beginner’s licence in the dead of winter. Depending on your province, it’s the duration of the licence that is commonly the culprit here. For example, in Ontario the beginners licence (M1) is only valid for 90 days. If you write it in November it will have expired by the time spring rolls around, meaning you will have…


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