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Old 15 Dec 2008
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Reg, insure Q's - Crossed Atlantic by boat, now USA by bike

Hi all,

I recently sailed a small sailing boat from Europe to New York via the Caribbean. The boat is being trucked to California, and I've been given a big old 1100cc rat bike for the princely sum of $1.

I'm Australian, and back in Oz earning some money before flying back to NY next month. The bike is in Texas, and I've been given all the paperwork etc. I rode bikes all throughout my childhood, and was road registered for awhile - However, my licence expired, but I can get a new provisional licence while I'm in Oz.

I have a permanent US address, a B1/B2 visa, and even a social security number (I lived in the US as a kid). I believe I can register this thing, but what about insurance for two months? Also, technically a provisional licence in Australia is limited to 250cc... What are the major roadblocks I might encounter, and is there any way I can make things easier - For example, are there any states I could register the bike in that would overlook the engine size issue...

Any thoughts greatly appreciated,

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Old 15 Dec 2008
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Getting the thing registered would be the hard part. With the permanent address you could just get a drivers license here- the tests are ridiculously easy - and you can ride any size bike even if you did the test on a 100cc kids bike! You can't get two months worth of insurance, it's either a 6 month or 1 year policy depending on the company. If you are just looking for liability coverage to be legal, it's pretty cheap - I pay about $100 a year. If you want to cover the bike, that gets expensive, not worth it for a $1 bike. You can call Progressive insurance and do everything over the phone, and download the insurance card on the Internet, which you can use free at most public libraries. Just be aware that the licensing and registration is a state issue, and the rules do vary from state to state.
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Old 15 Dec 2008
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Thanks Thermal

Regarding a licence though - Even if I were to take the test, would I not be limited by the state to CC's?

I checked NY motorcycle registration requirements - It's a pain. However, if I register it in Texas, it doesn't sound too bad:
  • Proof of ownership
  • A safety inspection certificate obtained at an official inspection station
  • Proof of your identity
I could provide all of those things - A 6mth policy from Progressive might be the hard thing to get as an international citizen... I'll do an application though, and see what happens.

Thanks for the tips, J.
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Old 16 Dec 2008
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No, over here a motorcycle license is good for any size, although there is a movement afoot to create a "beginners license" that limits you to 200ccs or something like that, but its tageted at teenage kids to keep them from buying some super-ninja and destroying brick walls. There may be some states that have implemented such a program, but I have bikes in California and Hawaii and neither of them do. I doubt Texas would either, don't know about New York, thats practically a different country. Progressive policies run for a year, rates vary depending on State, CCs, rider age etc. In California my BMW 1150 is $78/year, and my Honda VF1100 is $130 (lotta accidents out here as the drivers are the most inattentive in the country). All the insurance compnay wants from you is you drivers license, an address, and MONEY. Maybe that Social Security number. If you got a local license and address, no need to mention you are from a foreign country. Except for folks that frequent this site, most folks here can't quite grasp the concept of "other countries" and would be baffled.
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Old 17 Dec 2008
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Aussie's Rego in US with International Drivers License

I registered a US bike no trouble in June 08, a 650cc, although engine size made no difference, I used a local MI address, (the bike seller) had a clear title of ownership, provided proof of insurance (I did it on line with progressive .com, I emailed it to my motel for printing), and quoted my international license number. Because I had the international license I did not need the social security number. I then fronted up to the rego joint, provided the above docs and gave them $90 and they gave me provisional rego papers, and the new plate and later they mailed the formal rego papers to my US address in MI. I just get the papers forwarded to me by my buddy there in MI to where I garage the bike in PA each year. The international liscence cost me and will cost you about $30 from the motoring organisation RAA or NRMA or whatever you have in your state. My advice, from the sound of it, is to register the bike in Texas, and have the papers forwarded to your base elsewhere.
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Old 17 Dec 2008
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Originally Posted by jongens View Post
Thanks Thermal
I could provide all of those things - A 6mth policy from Progressive might be the hard thing to get as an international citizen... I'll do an application though, and see what happens.

Thanks for the tips, J.
The proper way to deal with bureaucracy (public or private) is never give out more information than necessary. They want an address, give em an address, room 123, Notel Motel, 23 Skidoo Street... They want your name, tell em your name, never volunteer more information, like 'oh by the way, does it matter that I am an invertebrate alien species from another galaxy?'
Texas is definitely the place you would want to register a vehicle, take 747 flying lessons, buy anti personnel mines.... They don't care too much about rules in Texas.
In most or all US states there is no restriction on bike size once you have an MC license. You will be dealing with a state motor vehicle licensing office who do not care whether you are a legal resident, that is none of their concern, they only care that you have an address and a drivers license & insurance.
Insurance company only cares that you have paid your premium, and you are not some scammer or someone who is going to cause them to have to pay a settlement. Buying the minimum amount of liability only insurance and paying cash will alleviate their concerns, particularly if they are the type of insurance company that has little intention of paying claims anyway.

I don't think we're in the civilized world anymore Toto :-)
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