Canadian instructor says motorcycle riders need more training early

Publish Date: 
Jul 23, 2013

SUDBURY, Ontario – Serious accidents involving motorcycles have some people calling for more training before riders get licensed in this Canadian province.

As it is, people over the age of 16 can go into a local DriveTest Centre, pass an eye and written test, and received an M1 motorcycle license. That license means the person can technically drive solo off the property without ever having touched a motorcycle, according to CBC.

While Ministry of Transportation representatives say most riders use the 90-day M1 license to learn in parking lots and low-traffic areas, nothing forces them to do that.

“If you go in and write your test and you get an M1, yeah you can come to any motorcycle shop and buy the biggest, fanciest, shiniest one on the floor and drive away with it,” said Eric O’Neill, who has been an instructor with Cambrian College’s motorcycle training program for 12 years.

“Would you allow someone to write their airplane pilot’s license and then go buy an airplane and fly it? Or course not."

They must, however, pass a motorcycle driving test after the 90 days to graduate to an M2 license. During the M1 period, riders may not drive at night, with a passenger, or on any of the major highways in southern Ontario.

O’Neill says new riders often underestimate how challenging driving a motorcycle can be. Insurers and DriveTest encourage them to enroll in a motorcycle training course, like the 20-hour course offered – to full capacity crowds – each spring and summer at local colleges.

“Most importantly ... we always teach that you have to drive around with the philosophy that you’re invisible and so you have to constantly look out for every other road user,” he said. "Both your feet, hands, and brain need to be working to operate the controls.”

Posted by Holly Wagner