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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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Where can I get a motorcycle driving licence quickly ?

Here's the situation: My girlfriend Abby and I live in Hong Kong, we are planning a two years trip around Africa from UK in July 2010.

Abby has her car driving licence and has started motorcycle lessons at the beginning of this month. However due to the slow process of applications, there's little chance that she'll be able to take her test before May 2010. Even if she passes, she'll be a "P" rider for a year before getting her full licence and therefore unable to get the International Driving Licence.

My question is: Is there any chance she can ride through Europe and Africa with a "P" licence ? What insurance would accept to cover her ?

Or can she quickly take the test in another country and get a full licence that way ?

Thanks for your help.
Nish
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  #2  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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She could travel to my home state of Washington, take a two-day weekend class which incorporates the written and the driving portions of the state test, pass with flying colors (it's not that difficult, really) and have her full endorsement on Monday morning. The whole deal is subsidized by the state--I guess they really, really don't want to be in the business of administering more exams--so that it only costs a bit over a hundred US dollars including use of a bike and helmet.

With a Washington State license in hand, she can ride any size bike anywhere she pleases. Have you ever wondered why American drivers (and riders alike) are sometimes not very skilled?

The only problem is that she's got to have a local driving license to begin with. Plus it's a 7000 mile plane trip.

Good luck.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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Thanks Mark, that sounds great but she hasn't got a US local licence, just the Hong Kong one...
Cheers
Nish
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  #4  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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The UK situation is the same. In most of Europe they seem to have a training rather than testing based approach, but there are no short cuts. Try the UK training companies, they might offer something called direct access but you'd need a UK provisional license and theory test pass before day 1 of the course.

As an aside, have you though about insurance? The basic package for the UK rider on a 650 with a new license is going to be over £1000 a year. This, not the license keeps most people under 40 on smaller bikes for at least a couple fo years.

You can ride on a restricted license so long as your paperwork shows a motorcycle endorsement. I've know at least one UK rider supposedly restricted to 125cc ride a 900 through Europe, get stopped and not have the Potugese police notice (or care). Now if they'd have been more interested in doing their job rather than getting a few Euro's they'd have thrown the book at him. As well as no license his insurance would have been invalid. I would never take that risk.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but I'd say put the trip off until you've got the papers, you won't beat the system for ever.

Andy
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  #5  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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hong kong driving licence

silly question,

Did you or your gf get their hongkong licence b4 the uk handed hk back to china? If so you may be able to transfer it to a uk licence, check with the dvla uk.. or use international drivers permit.
I was stationed in Victoria and Stanley b4 the hand over to china... Now wish I STAYED. love the people.

ps do you still have family in the uk as you could use their address if needed.

good luck
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  #6  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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In central asia this year I was just showing my International driving license to police. The hand written one, with the photo glued on with prittstick. It had a photo of me on it, said it was a driving license, and had the right category on it. They were happy.

Not sure if the police are more clued up in some African states. Would you recognise a real African driving license if you saw one? What makes you think they can spot a real Hong Kong license? As long as the license has a picture of a motorcycle on it, and doesn't say anything about cc restriction, it should work. If not, then get a fake license.
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  #7  
Old 27 Nov 2009
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Nish,
I just noticed that you are french. Is your gf french? if so and has an EU licence she could do the direct access course for about £700 with any Das training school. check out HOME here in scotland as I know they include the theory and all tests in the price.

Hope this helps. and
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Old 27 Nov 2009
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I don't know what countries you are going to exactly, but I have just done UK to Cape Town, using nothing but a little photocopy of my license all the way. (I did this so that nobody could steal my actual one, but the same thing would work for you to get around not having the correct category on it.)

It doesn't have what categories I am licensed to drive on the card, it was literally just the front of my plasticard driving license (photo, name, address,) photocopied and laminated. Sometimes I used the IDP, which like Nath said, is just a scribbled bit of card with a pritt-sticked photo on.

Even if the guards can read it, they most probably won't understand it. It is just to 'jump through the hoops.'

Hope this helps with your problem

Birdy

Last edited by Birdy; 27 Nov 2009 at 21:12. Reason: Fat fingers/retardation
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  #9  
Old 28 Nov 2009
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It sounds crazy to need nearly two years to get a full licence in Hong Kong when two days would be enough in US. Oh well, in the worst case, we'll ride only one bike down to Cape Town where we'll try to get Abby her own wheels for the trip up East Coast once her "P" period is over. I hear lots of adv riders sell their bikes there. Meanwhile she'll still be able to train her skills on rented bikes on the way down. I know ! I'll get her a 103 Peugeot in Morocco !
Thanks for your feedback !
Nish
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  #10  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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Just a thought but some bike manufacturers did free insurance on new bikes recently, and bmw (& possibly others) have a deal with one insurer that makes their bikes cheap to insure.
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  #11  
Old 23 Dec 2009
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Nish if she applies for an international DL for a car through the AA here in the UK the chances are she'll be given an IDL which covers her to ride bikes as well. When I applied in 2007 I got a bike 'ticket' though I haven't got a bike license and my mrs got a truck 'ticket' though she's never driven one!

Q
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Old 24 Dec 2009
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Talking Rarotonga?

I know people from NZ who have gone to Rarotonga (Cook Islands) who have got their bike license there because you need one to hire a scooter. It's really easy, mostly just a quick ride around the police station car park and up the road and back. They then have come back to NZ and transferred it to a NZ one...

It's a nice place to visit too.

Regards

Nigel in NZ
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Old 24 Dec 2009
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Wouldn't condone it... who me? never! Might be worth a shot though...

International Driver Document - Prices and shipping options

John
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  #14  
Old 21 Feb 2010
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Hey Nish

Abbys done her "P" test now, whens her final test date ?
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