Motorcycle Licensing in Ontario
In Ontario the process of acquiring a licence to ride a motorcycle is a done in stages. You must successfully test out of each stage until you have gained your full M licence. The whole process can take from 18 months at the earliest to 5 years at the latest.
An M1 licence is valid for up to 90 days and is acquired by passing a multiple choice test available at an DriveTest Examination Centre. The questions are based on the Ministry of Transportation’s Motorcycle and Driver’s Handbooks. The M1 test is available without appointment.
The M1 licence permits riders to learn to ride under these four conditions:
- a zero blood alcohol level
- riding only during daylight hours (1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset)
- no riding on highways with speed limits exceeding more than 80 km/h (with the exception of highways 11, 17, 61, 69, 71, 101, 102, 144, 655, where there is no alternate 80 km/h route).
- no passengers
To upgrade to an M2, a riding skills test is required. This can be done at an DriveTest Examination Centre by appointment or as part of the “Riding Basics” course anytime after obtaining your M1 permit, however, you must ride under the restrictions of an M1 for at least 60 days before upgrading to the M2 licence.
By completing an approved safety course, like “Riding Basics”, you can reduce the time that you must hold an M2 licence from 22 to 18 months. After taking a course with RTI, you must attend at a DriveTest centre simply to upgrade your licence within 6 months of your test date with RTI. After 6 months, your results will expire. You do not need to bring your certificate or any paperwork other than personal identification, as RTI has already input your results into the Ministry of Transportation licensing system, and a clerk at DriveTest will be able to view those results. An M2 licence is valid for five years.
Having gained an M2 licence, most of the restrictions of the M1 are lifted. The exception is that you must maintain a zero blood alcohol level.
M2″L” or LSM Licence
– Limited Speed Moped/Scooter To upgrade to an M2″L” Licence, a riding skills test is required. This can be done at an DriveTest Examination Centre by appointment or as part of the Riding Basics LSM course anytime after obtaining your M1 permit, however, you must ride under the restrictions of an M1 for at least 60 days before upgrading to the M2″L” licence.
For more information on the LSM licensing and to see which vehicles apply, visit the MTO website http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/lsm.htm
Full M Licence
You are eligible to take a Class M road test after you have completed the time required with an M2 licence. The time period is 18 months with a approved safety course and 22 months without a course. Another test must be passed before you can gain your M class licence. You can take an approved safety course like Riding Strategies M2X or take your road test with the ministry.
Having gained your full M Class licence all the restrictions are lifted if you are over 21 years of age but please do yourself a favour and keep the zero blood alcohol restriction in place. Riders who are 16-21 years of age must maintain a zero blood alcohol level no matter what class of licence you hold.
A few Facts
M2 and M Class licence holders may also drive Class G vehicles under the conditions that apply to a Class G1 licence holder.
You do not need a G Class licence in order to acquire an M1, M2 or M Class licence.
If you hold other class licences, such as a G, D etc, and you are caught ignoring the M1 and M2 restrictions it can result in fines and the loss of your drivers licence. You would lose all your driving privileges in all classes. What you do in one vehicle affects the other.
More Licensing Information
Visit the Ministry of Transportion’s web site for more information on graduated licensing, locations and hours. www.mto.on.ca
The Ministry of Transportation’s Official Motorcycle http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/handbook/motorcycles/ and Driver’s Handbooks online at: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/index.shtml Or can be purchased at MTO offices, Canadian Tire stores and most bookstores. Also check for a copy at your local library branch.