Buying a New Motorbike and Learning to Ride

These days it’s pretty easy for a woman to start riding a motorbike. The rules to getting your licence are clear (albeit written in gov-speak on the DoT&MR site), trainers advertise on the internet, and while you’re searching, you can get loads of tips on what bike and gear you should be buying. Yes, it is incredibly expensive if you want to go through a certified trainer to learn from scratch. One guy was quoting $80 per hour, and another site said around $200 per day, but they cap it at $600. A friend of mine said she put an ad on the Gumtree website, and ended up giving the guy who taught her to ride a carton of beer.

The problem is that there are so many choices out there, which are then accompanied by hundreds of opinions. Once you are reasonably sure about the bike you want, do you go second-hand or new? Dealer or private? Do I buy before my training? The advantages of that are: A) I can do the training on my bike, and therefore get to know it better. B) I can practice on the farm before I start my official training, which could potentially save me $$$ in training fees. On the other hand, what if I do the training first, the advantages of which are: A) If I decide motorbike riding is not for me, I will not have spent all that money. B) The trainers are obviously professionals, and would presumably know their bikes. They would therefore be able to advise me what bike and gear I should get to fit my personal situation. This may be a disadvantage when they start trying to sell me their products…

There is actually one more dimension to this issue. Currently I am ‘limited’ to certain types of bikes. Now, that is kind of like saying that I am limited to cars that aren’t hummers or Lamborghinis, but still, it rankles somewhat. I could get around this by doing my licence when I get back from Italy in May, then having my licence for a year while I am in South Korea, then going for my open licence once I get back. Advantages: A) I can get my open licence without first buying a weaker bike. B) I will have my licence while overseas, so that I could legally hire/buy a bike in Korea. C) You must wait one year before carrying a passenger on the back of the bike. Disadvantages: A) Training is expensive, so basically I would be doing a whole lot of training, then possibly no riding for a year, then need to do more expensive training when I get back. B) Do I really want a ‘stronger’ bike, or will one on the Learner Approved list do the job I want it to. Basically I’m looking for a good bike around $4000, and to be honest, the bikes with more muscle are likely to be much more expensive than that. However, the fact that I will only be able to carry a passenger after a year (and I have to be a P-plater for two, means that getting my licence early will probably be a good idea.

From the DoT&MR website (without all the useless extras):

Getting your motorcycle learner licence

To get a motorcycle learner licence you must pass a written road rules (knowledge) test. The motorcycle knowledge test has 30 questions on topics ranging from road rules to risk management and hazard perception. You must answer 27 out of 30 questions correctly.

The questions in the test come from Your Keys to Driving in Queensland and theMotorcycle Riders’ Guide.

Q-Ride is Queensland’s primary motorcycle licensing method. 

Q-Ride is a competency based training and assessment program administered by Q-Ride registered service providers, that aims to ensure participants reach a demonstrated level of skill and proficiency as a motorcycle rider.

The program focuses on improving the quality of pre-licence rider training, with the aim of boosting education and awareness, and enhancing road safety.

Under this option you do not need to hold your class RE learner licence for 6 months. You can enrol in a Q-Ride course and start training as soon as you get your class RE learner licence.

During the Q-Ride course you will be required to demonstrate your competency on a motorcycle approved under the Learner Approved Motorcycle (LAM) scheme.

You may apply for your class RE provisional or open licence once you receive your Q-Ride certificate (competency declaration) from your nearest Q-Ride registered service provider (PDF, 174 KB).

Six steps to Q-Ride

1. Have the correct licence 

To participate in Q-Ride training and assessment, as a minimum you must hold a current class RE motorcycle learner licence. If you wish to obtain a class R motorcycle licence, you must have held a class RE provisional or open licence for at least one year.

2. Choose a Provider 

3. Enrol

4. Learn to Ride

Q-Ride training and assessment consists of a number of competency standards that your trainer will take you through. When learning to ride a motorcycle you must display an L-plate and carry your class RE learner, provisional or open licence. Your licence must be shown to a police officer or any other authorised person if you are asked to do so.

5. Certificate

When you have demonstrated you are competent in all of the Q-Ride competencies, the Q-Ride registered service provider will issue you with a competency declaration (Q-Ride Certificate).

6. Getting your License 

Before you can ride unaccompanied on your motorcycle, you must take your current licence and Q-Ride Certificate to a Department of Transport and Main Roads customer service centre to apply for your motorcycle licence. Although you will not be required to do a practical driving test, you must be eligible for the licence you are applying for.

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