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Old 24 Apr 2012
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Location: Montpellier, FRANCE
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Car driving license for a 125cm3 in America


My girlfriend and me are going to bike a lot all over America. I just get the bike driving license but she failed. She has a car license since a while. We wonder if it's allow/possible for her to drive a 125cm3 with an international driving license ?
Do you have any idea or will she have to follow me on a bicycle ?
What about the insurance ? Do you know a good insurance who cover all the american continent ? Will she cover her on a 125 cm3 ?

Thank you very much,

PS: Just for the info, how to cross from panama to Colombia with a bike ?
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Old 24 Apr 2012
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Location: Bassett, Nebraska
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Bonjour Alban,

I see this is your first post so welcome.

This is the insurance I use for North America:

Motorcycle Insurance: Motorcycle Insurance Quotes - Progressive

Once you get to the US (etats-unis) it is easy to order motorcycle insurance online and pay online and print out your insurance card.

Traveling south from US insurance is optional in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It is necessary to buy a small cheap insurance policy at the border in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

I travelled to Panama and back and don't have a motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license. It worked fine for me crossing all borders. Your amie should be fine.

Crossing from Panama to Colombia is changing now. Used to be sailboat, but soon there may be a ferry service. See the other posts for ferry information.

If your travels bring you through northern Nebraska (unlikely), you are welcome to stay here.

Bon Chance,
John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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Old 25 Apr 2012
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Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
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In my part of America (Canada) you need to have a motorcycle licence to operate anything over 49cc. I'm not 100% sure if it's exactly the same in all provinces but it definitely applies in BC and laws don't vary greatly from one province to the next. I don't really know what's required in the USA but our laws tend to be similar to theirs. What confuses things is that unlike many other countries, in Canada and the USA driver licencing is a provincial/state matter rather than federal. So laws could vary from province to province or state to state.

Good luck on your trip and have lots of fun.

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Old 25 Apr 2012
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OP, what you're describing is perfectly possible. Lots of people ride in the USA without motorcycle endorsements on their automobile licenses.

Of course, some of them get into trouble doing so. For one, it's illegal, and cops differ in their flexibility. For another, her insurance will probably be void--not a problem until it suddenly becomes one.

More important: is she a good rider? She failed the test for a reason. Even after I passed my test it took me a while--some months of practice riding and thousands of km--before I was ready for a long trip. It was longer than that before I was ready to ride through all kinds of road and weather conditions in different countries where I had difficulty reading the roadsigns and didn't know the local driving customs.....France, for example. Will she be able to get some riding practice before your trip? Say, 5,000 km worth of riding practice?

Worth thinking about. Hope that's helpful.

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Old 25 Apr 2012
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Thank you very much guys for all those answers.

Obviously we are young drivers, but not crazy ones, and we do really prefer to drive carefully on a road with nice landscape than to travel like a speedrace contest ! The permit in France is really hard and she just failed it once, but I really do think she drives well. But you are right, we need to gain experience (as every young drivers), that's why I was thinking that good north american road would do it, before arriving in Central and South America !
We are used to travel a lot everywhere too.
That's why, me on a better motorbike and her on a 125cc could be possible, if only the paperworks permit it (insurance, driving licence,...).
First, we'll spend a year in Canada, then see if it will be possible, I hope so.

Thank you for all the info,
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Old 25 Apr 2012
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Location: Bassett, Nebraska
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Bonjour Alban,

Mark and Michelle are right. I was thinking of crossing borders. Just because I don't have a motorcycle endorsement due to a clerical error that I have not fixed, it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that your girlfriend travel through Canada and the US without a motorcycle endorsement. It is against the law in Canada and the US to ride a motorcycle larger than 50cc without the endorsement.

In this country it is possible to take the motorcycle test as many times as you need to pass it. Can't your girlfriend re-take the motorcycle test in France?

If you are going to be in Canada for an entire year it would be best to follow the laws. That way you can get plenty of practice riding on the backroads of Quebec where the road signs are all in Francais before heading off on a longer adventure. And if the RCMP pull you over you will not get in trouble.

Safe travels.

John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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