Motorcycle Drivers License Granted …

Not many people talking about this actually , so here am I again with ‘another’ controversy, because I can’t keep my mouth shut about things which should have been said a long time ago. I’m looking forward to see in comments if the subject deserves to be ‘controversy’ in your eyes at all, so here we go…

How easy is it to make a motorcycle drivers license

In Europe as a kid of the 70’s, you had to make a drivers license and to ride a 50cc moped for 2 years. It cost 50 Euros, 6 classes and 1 riding hour. Don’t think you just open that motor to get 70 km/h hour out of it, because it was restricted by law to 25 km/h, so about 15 miles per hour! The cops new our games well, and it was not just costly to get caught… they could also locked your next drivers license step away for another year.

By the age of 16, you ramp up to 80cc lightweight bikes. The drivers license is comparable with the one for riding a moped, but comes with more required class and riding hours before you can make the driving test. That education cost about 1500 Euros, 11 riding hours and 24 hours of classroom! Those bikes are top speed restricted to 80 km/h, and you are riding them for another 2 years.

Now you’re 18, and since you went through a riding odyssey of 4 years- you are looking at another 400 Euros to get a drivers license to ride all kinds of motorcycles as long they are restricted to a maximum of 48 horsepower. You think that’s tough?!… there is more to come, because if you have crashes or fool around with the traffic laws- you will extent the 2 years period before you finally make it to a non-restricted motorcycle.

Now let’s say you are ‘mom-in-laws-favorite’ and stick tightly to the rules for another 2 years… yes, then it is time to make the A-license for another 1700 Euros, 12 hours of classroom and 11 hours of riding including a drivers test. Then… yes, finally then you are qualified to ride any motorcycle with all of its horsepower’s. At that point I should mention that when I was 20, that the entire motorcycle industry agreed with the laws to restrict the horsepower to ALL models to 100 hp maximum- to protect the riders from aggressive horsepower-marketing by the manufacturers. Makes kinda sense to me today, I must say. But I come back later to this once more. However, I don’t know if that ‘self-restriction’ is still ongoing over there, because I live in the country of my heart, the United States of America, since 2008 now.

Make a drivers license in California

So I had to renew my license as I emigrated and I didn’t complain hearing that I can make a motorcycle drivers license for only 28 bux. I mean… compared with the 3500 Euros I’ve spend… that’s a smile on the face right there. So I answered those funny questions in a written exam to get a temporary drivers license for 12 months… WHAT?! I mean… at least back then, nobody knew that Can Akkaya- a ex-racing pro from Europe, actually really can ride or not… right?!

Yes ‘I can’, but this is maybe like a ‘suicide permission’ or a ‘license to kill’ for someone else, because nobody (!) even asked me if I can ride… they just gave me a motorcycle drivers license. Just like that. I’ve passed my DMV circle riding test one week after my written exam. Maybe I was an exception getting so easy to a drivers license?… unfortunately not, but there are at least some more rider orientated looking options out there… but are they really?! Let’s see…

My wife Marion wanted to make her M1 drivers license here as well, so I started teaching her from the scratch. She made it for about $270 bux and a weekend of time after the written exam. Would she be ready to go after this without having me continuing her training?… no she wouldn’t! Then I meet students almost every day who are coming out of ‘Certified Riding Schools’. They ‘past’ the test or got kicked out to go and learn to ride on their own, to finally come back to be some kind of ‘good enough’ to make it then. So that’s what this is about, isn’t it?! To be good enough for the big ‘test’.  However, new riders like this find a place to learn from the scratch in my ‘Basic Rider 1on1‘ program. That’s how Anne-Marie-Pham got in contact with me, and it took a while until my confusion faded. Her journey is the trigger for this article btw.

Anne signed up for my Basic Rider 1on1, which is designed to teach riders who don’t know how to ride AND who are not having a motorcycle drivers license yet. So I ask questions where she’s at and find out that she actually just achieved a drivers license, so I am referring her to my Road Skill 1on1 program which would be the logical next step. She had a hard time to make me understand that she need to learn from the scratch, and rejected my suggestions. My confusion… I am in a conflict thinking that a rider needs to learn from the scratch, even though the drivers license has been successfully mastered already. Feel me here?!

Since I don’t want to charge or offer a not suitable program, I offered to just transfer her Basic Rider to Road Skill after seeing her on a motorcycle and she would have to live with my decision… I was glad I didn’t! Anne-Marie was totally terrified and told me her story with that ‘certified school’ she took at some dealership parking lot:

I signed up for CMSP and I came into this class excited, I came out of this two day class as scared as I can ever be! I can’t even tell you how many times I dropped the bike, I lost count. And get this…. I passed!!!

Read Anne-Marie Pham’s full review here

What I’ve seen was a totally lost soul, but not ready to give up on a new hobby, and I had to win her trust first. I don’t even start talking about the curriculum what those schools have to go with, and which produces fears and hold backs towards braking. It was all showing- and shocked me a lot. Anne’s confidence grew by the hour, and she hired me for another Basic Rider session before I will give her my OK for the Cornering class, where she will learn all survival skills my way!

Comparing the European system with the regulations in the U.S., it seem to be bad for the economy over there and also it makes it hard to recruit new riders, because more and more kids are skipping the pain and just wait till they can drive their stupid VW Golf GTI once they are 18 years old. This is what this is all about friends… the economy. A ‘quick’ drivers license makes a quick sale. For me, this is almost like giving a new rider a unlocked gun and to say… “Just point it where ever you want- and this here is the trigger!”

Sure- if you would have asked me when I was 16, to make a drivers license for only 28 bux by pretty much answering 36 questions correctly and for doing some circles on a parking lot… I probably would have declared that day a Holiday, especially if you also would have told me that I could just go and pick a 210 hp liter bike right away!  Would it been healthy for me?!… no it wouldn’t. Don’t you tell me you’ve done wise decisions from 14 till 25 years of age… so I didn’t, and so it would be not too bad if someone helps keeping things in check a little. The system has to change… now!

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

29 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Looking back I was pretty damn dumb. I got my permit and license all in less than 4 weeks, with zero two wheel experience prior to the weekend safety course that I took. Then I hopped on my Daytona 675 and just took things really slow. Dropped it on my first attempted uturn.

    It was so bad, I had no idea to look where I want to go and the bike will go there. Nobody told me that, ever, after hundreds of hours on YouTube and trial/error I finally started getting the basics down

    And now here I am doing track days. I have spent thousands on gear and help though to get where I’m at. Haven’t had my license for a year yet still. And I ride my FZ 10 daily to and from work and school in San Francisco.

    I think I’m one of the few that got really lucky, but I’m also a good example of how easy and broken the process is.

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      I bet those certified schools are proud of themselves having ‘another rider passed’.
      The system has to change, even if new riders will hate me for it. You are an example here Alex.

      Reply
  2. brad
    brad says:

    This is an important topic! A motorcycle test should be similar to getting a race license! Were you are followed by a instructor at various speeds and various conditions!

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      Yes, that’s what’s happening in Germany. A teacher drives in a car behind the new rider. Teacher on a radio got the riders back.
      Again… I didn’t see myself how this actually helped me back then, but I was also not in an age to make rational decisions myself.
      Free country back or forth… there is a way to help making decisions along the way… isn’t it?!

      Reply
  3. Michael
    Michael says:

    We live in a society of instant gratification without the forethought of second and third level effects. People get excited about getting a motorcycle and wanting to ride and forget about how dangerous it can be. They learn to ride on the city streets where it is most dangerous or they learn bad habits from “California Approved Riding Courses.” Motorcycles require a great deal of practice and learning the right way to operate your motorcycle is critical to increasing your skills and abilities to avoid dangerous situations. It is a continuous learning process and investing in yourself to learn better will net you better results!

    Reply
  4. Kirk Hand
    Kirk Hand says:

    I can relate to what you are saying as I see it all the time in Arizona as well… I grew up riding so no issues with me but my family did not and I sent them to the 2 day local school in which they came out licensed but dangerous in my opinion. I was so glad I was able to take them under my wing once they finished the 2 day class because even though they were considered licensed by the state I considered them dangerous to themselves and others. I did one on one coaching with them and took them to a track to expand upon the basics that they were taught so they could practice and actually become proficient riders with enough knowledge and experience to be a safe rider on the road.

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      I am not surprised that it isn’t much different in other states.
      A new curriculum needs to be established!

      Reply
  5. Chris Onwiler
    Chris Onwiler says:

    Good point. Rider training in America is almost nonexistent. Most successful street riders in America started out on dirt bikes as kids, learning from their enthusiast parents. What do you do if you didn’t grow up in a motorcycle riding family? Programs like the ones Cam offers can make the difference between success and failure. Remember, “self taught” means learning from your own mistakes. Mistakes on a motorcycle can possibly hurt or kill you. Best to learn from a professional.

    Reply
  6. Eddie
    Eddie says:

    Wow, I totally agree! It might be the immigrant in me, but most other countries have laws similar to this. I see way too many idiots on the road here in America and I know a lot of it can be ignorance. If a driver/rider doesn’t know it’s wrong they’ll keep on doing it!

    I don’t think I’m perfect and I have a lot to learn, but being open to learning is the important first step.

    Reply
  7. Laura Servillas
    Laura Servillas says:

    Unfortunately you don’t know what you don’t know until it is too late. On motorcycles that can be fatal. It is way too easy to get a license. If they increased the mandatory training before you get your license, I truly believe it would reduce fatalities significantly!!! I am an ER Respiratory Therapist. The majority of motorcycle traumas I see are new riders!!!

    Reply
  8. Dean Lonskey
    Dean Lonskey says:

    And lets not even mention the dealerships. Sure, i understsnd they need to earn a living, but seriously, how many many out there sell motorcycles to a newbie just because they don’t want to loose the sale? Ive always wondered way we didnt adopt the European way to get licenses or require some to take a riders course. No, they just need to answer questions and show they can turn a bike and know the CONTROLS….THAT’S IT…! Yet, to geyba drivers license for a car,, look at what you have to do. Things do need to change and people need to start going thru motorcycle classes, mot just once or a weekend, but longer, unless they can show prior riding experience. I learned on the dirt and (raced mx and desert) that gave me the basic skills but my eyes were opened wide when i staryed on the street. Sure i went for rides on back of dads but wasnt truely prepared for my own….think these newbies are? I totally with you Coach…!!!

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      Well yes, but they also would sell bikes if the maximum output wouldn’t be 200… but at about 100. The direct responsibility are the manufacturers, and secondarily the government to let this happen.

      Reply
  9. MotoKitten
    MotoKitten says:

    I agree with you. USA doesn’t provide adequate training. One of my biggest challenges is gauging proper corner speed. I started off with a Ninja 650R and then got a Duke 690. Having never experienced the gradual transition from 50 cc bikes, I feel like I never know what is the right corner speed for any turn. That is terrifying sometimes. I recently bought a Honda CBR300. It wasn’t until riding this bike that I finally realized it how much sense it is to start small. I wish I had listened to all my friends years ago when they told me to start with a 250cc bike. The CBR is so confidence inspiring because I can put both feet on the ground, throw the bike around, full throttle the machine, squeeze the performance out of it, and not feel like it will kill me at the next turn. Granted, taking all of Coach’s classes (Street Riding, Cornering Schools, Track Days, Knee Down School, Wheelie School) and having the 5000+ miles of seat time on the other bikes helped a lot.

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      …and let’s be honest… you still have way to go, right?!
      I think to own a motorcycle drivers license should be a privilege- not a obviousness. This would also work like a ‘filter’, and sorts hooligans more out

      Reply
  10. Steve Collins
    Steve Collins says:

    I bought my first motorcycle at 15. I had one to ride my whole life but didn’t get a license until I was about 40 years old. Never got a ticket, never even got pulled over. Never had an accident, never got any injury of any sort. After getting a license things didn’t go so smooth. Ha!

    Reply
  11. Mike Hoy
    Mike Hoy says:

    Coach: I absolutely agree with your frustration about the lax motorcycle licensing requirements in the USA.

    The DMV does an adequate job testing knowledge of traffic LAWS, but requires no driving SKILLS. Safely driving a motorcycle takes SKILL which can only be learned with focused repetition and some direction from an instructor. A weekend course on a parking lot will never cut it.

    I received my motorcycle endorsement about 20 months ago (September 2015). During a trip over the mountain to Tahoe, I had a real panic and realized I lacked SKILL to ride safely, and that I also lacked knowledge to learn the skills I would need to stay alive. I started with Superbike-Coach in January 2016 (and a few other schools). Now, I am addicted to track riding, and have spent many days at the track. I am just know mastering the skills to ride the mountain roads safely.

    I have also driven in Italy (cars), Germany (cars) and France (cars and a motorcycle). The drivers there have much better SKILLS, are more aware of traffic and road conditions, and are more courteous. The European countries not only require more driver training, but periodically test those driving skills. In France, every vehicle must also undergo a technical inspection and certification of all mechanical systems, not just emissions.

    In every regard, Europe, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand all take driving more seriously. Here, the government does not force drivers to learn real SKILLS. The best we can do is take personal responsibility, and also help out friends who are become new motorcyclists. Superbike Coach is so far above the parking lot riding schools…. You can actually learn SKILLS that will save lives.

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      Also Germany has the tech inspection for every vehicle (2 years frequency).
      Passing on the right is not allowed in all over Europe.

      Reply
  12. Terry
    Terry says:

    I believe in less government control and to put the responsibility on the individual. However, I agree about progressive steps to higher power levels of the bikes as the rider gains experience. What could be missed if the government takes control is the young person that grows up riding dirt bikes for the past 10 years and is ready for the 100hp bike not 20 hp on the moped. I compare this to the helmet, eye protection laws. Yes, I wear both but I don’t think the government should have the ability to make it the law. Freedom of choice. Regardless of bike size or protective gear. Just like seeing riders in tshirts, shorts, tank tops, flip flops etc…will that be the next law? I will say riders that have small children riding with them in the same attire as the parent (tshirts, shorts, tank tops, flip flops etc) piss me off because the young child doesn’t know any better. The adult should!
    Some people call it “Culling the Herd”
    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      I appreciate you disagree at one point- but i disagree with you on this again :-)
      You actually make the point to it yourself… the eye protection. This is a total individual decision, same with wearing jeans riding on a track… because you don’t hurt anyone else with this- but no riding skill could!
      That is why gov NEEDS to get involved

      Reply
  13. Gary D. Lonskey
    Gary D. Lonskey says:

    i believe the motorcycling license is much too easy to get.i know of two deaths that may not have happened if the rider had had extensive training.Im sure if you were to ask the families of those who have died they would agree.i personally tried my best and so did the people at the shop where these motorcycles were purchased would agree.they died because they didn’t ave the awareness or training needed to stay alive and enjoy a long joyful life of riding a motorcycle.in my opinion the licensing process is just another way to make money for the state.its a WIW,WIN for them.i consider my self LUCKY to have ridden for so long because i was told the wrong way to ride a motorcycle.i had to learn from the mistakes of others that i witnessed and said to myself don’t do that.like i said I’m very lucky.since i have been around riders with level thinking while riding and being at Superbike coach classes I’m amazed at how much more i enjoy riding motorcycles.im hoping to ride them for many more years thanks to Superbike Coach.

    Reply
  14. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Motorcycles, like cars are a form of transportation. In the world we live in you really cant take public transportation. The few times I dropped my car off at the dealership to get serviced and took the bus home, It took me an 1 1/2 hours to get home which normally takes me 15 minutes in my own vehicle. They make it very easy to get a car or a motorcycle license for the reason above — people have things to do and places to go in this metropolis that’s 100 miles in diameter. It might be different if they built the cities up instead of out, then public transportation would work but it’s too late for that.

    While I can appreciate your journey through mopeds and the smaller motorcycles. I don’t see how that can fit in here in the bay area where a lot of people commute 40 minutes to get to work. You need a freeway capable bike. And I’m sure you’ve been on the freeway and know it’s good to have more power on tap.

    Hopefully when someone goes to the dealer they consider their experience and not buy the 190 horsepower sport bike. Here in America you buy a Ferrari with a learner’s permit :)

    If anything they should make it harder to get a car drivers license. They are weapons in the hands of untrained drivers. All you need is a heartbeat to get one.

    Reply

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