Can I ride a motorcycle on a car license? Well, answering this question depends on your jurisdiction, type of motorcycle, and time. By ‘time’, I mean that a country that allowed riding a motorcycle with a car license in the past may not allow it again.
In some states, you require a full or regular motorcycle license, different from a car license, to ride your motorcycle. Some other states allow you to ride a motorcycle using a car license, but you must possess a motorcycle endorsement. Besides, you may need a motorcycle license to register your motorcycle.
In British Columbia, Canada, for instance, you can ride a scooter with your car license. The reason why you are allowed to ride a scooter with your vehicle license is that it has limited speed and power. So, a scooter can be motorcycle-shaped but should not have small wheels.
Can I Ride a Motorcycle on a Car License?
Can you ride a motorcycle on a car license? Yes and no are the answers. In most of Europe and America, a full vehicle license allows provisional (learner) entitlement. However, you must pass a test(s) to obtain a full motorcycle license.
In the USA
Different laws govern the states in the US regarding two-wheel motorized vehicles. In Florida, for example, you can’t ride a two/three-wheeled motorcycle with more than 50cc engine size without a motorcycle license.
In Texas, you can’t ride a two or three-wheel vehicle without an additional endorsement.
In California, you can ride a three-wheel vehicle, including a scooter, with any valid drivers license so far, you’re an adult. Moreover, automatic electric bicycles less than 50cc, plus other requirements, can be ridden without a license.
The state law defines a motorized scooter as any two-wheeled device with the following features:
- A motor with handlebars and a floorboard you can stand on to ride.
- It must have the options for a driver’s seat that must not interfere with the operator’s ability to stand and ride and be powered by a human propelling it.
In the UK
You can ride a motorcycle using a car driving license in several European countries; however, it must be small-capacity motorbikes.
Yes, you can ride a motorcycle in the UK on a car license, but you must pass the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) on a small motorbike, typically 125cc or smaller. You must not also have a passenger, and you can only ride on all except motorways. The CBT expires after 2 years and is renewable.
Like I mentioned earlier, CBT is renewable after 2 years in the UK. CBT takes a day of training; you must complete off-road maneuvers and a brief inspected road ride with a moped or any small bike. Of course, the motorbike must carry the L (learner) plates, and you must have no passenger or drive on motorways. Meanwhile, learn my tricks to avoid failing a motorcycle road test.
In India, you can’t ride a motorcycle on a car license; you must possess a separate two-wheeler license. The law mandates having both an endorsed two and four-wheeler license on the same physical card but must pass the exams for each license.
When I resided in Norway, I could not ride anything larger than a moped on a car license. You must obtain a category A, class A1, or A2 motorcycle license to ride a larger motorcycle.
What motorbikes can you ride on a full car license?
There are exceptions to some motorcycles you can ride with a car license, and they include:
In most countries, it does not matter what type of driver’s license you possess. A typical dirt bike is not licensed for public roads; it is licensed for off-road only. So, you can ride a dirt bike with a car license. Meanwhile, learn how to retrieve a dirt bike from impound.
In most jurisdictions, you can ride a moped on a car license or any available license. First, check what your jurisdiction defines as a moped. In British Columbia, Canada, Moped may be restricted on top speed and displacement.
You can ride a 125cc scooter on a full car license. However, in the UK, you have to pass your CBT before putting it on the road. A passed CBT lets you ride a 125cc scooter with L (learners) plates on the road, but you must not carry a pillion passenger. Depending on your state, you have 2 years to get an A1 license or renew an existing license.
Why are you allowed to ride 125cc bikes with a car license but need a separate license for bigger bikes?
Is it ridiculous that you can ride smaller motorbikes on a car license in some countries but can’t use it on bigger motorcycles? Well, motorcycles of various sizes work differently to an extent than cars. A 125cc bike will counter-steer, and you can do the same thing you would do on a 600cc to crash, but the crash is minimal.
Motorcycle classes, including 50cc, 125cc, and 250cc, are typical learner bikes or used to be in some countries. I.e., when you buy a motorcycle, you get a permit to take and pass your test on the smaller motorbikes (50cc, 125cc, and 250cc).
Another reason is that 125cc and similar bikes are low-powered and slow. Besides, your jurisdiction may restrict riding these motorbikes on motorways, which eliminates fatality.
Regardless that your state may allow riding a motorcycle on a car license, I would recommend getting a dedicated motorcycle license. But if you must operate a scooter or moped temporarily, it is OK to rely on your car license (using the specified motorcycles only and following the rules). However, you may be able to ride without a motorcycle license.
Besides, using a car license to ride a motorcycle comes with restrictions, including the ineligibility to carry passengers riding on motorways.
To ride a motorcycle requires a different skill set than driving a car. So, when you are getting a bigger motorcycle, make sure to obtain a motorcycle license. Meanwhile, are heavier motorcycles harder to ride?