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Old 4 Nov 2023
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Question Canadian planning to buy and insure a bike to tour the UK. Feedback is requested.

Hi all. I'm a Canadian who is planning to travel to the UK in April 2024, buy a motorcycle shortly after arrival, insure it, and tour the UK, including England, Wales, Scotland and possibly the Isle of Man (for the TT) for 6 months. In September I'll sell the bike, and return to Canada.

My plan includes renting a flat in or around Coventry before arrival, which will be my home base, as it is close to being the geographical centre of England. Then I'll buy a bike from a local dealership, register and insure it. Once I'm ready, I'll pick a direction, travel for a few days, then return to the flat in Coventry to regroup and plan the next leg.

Having the flat will give me a residence in England, which should solve most of the paperwork issues around registering and insuring the bike. Looking through the various posts on HUBB, it seems that registering a bike in the UK as a foreigner is either easy or impossible, and getting insurance really difficult.

I've been looking through the GOV.UK site regarding registering vehicles, and I haven't come across anything (yet) that explicitly says foreigners can't purchase and register a vehicle, so I assume it's possible. I have obtained an insurance quote for my current bike (85 BMW K100RT) from Bennett's in the UK, which was quite reasonable, but I had to fudge the data (address, phone number) a bit.

Does this look reasonable and possible? Has anyone tried something like this before? Feedback is welcome and desired.
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Old 16 Nov 2023
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One comment not actually related to your original question but about your choice of location. Coventry is nowhere near as nice as Leamington Spa so if I was given a free choice of location I would go for Leamington every time. You may also find that insurance premiums drop as well.

As far as your original question is concerned I know of no problems doing as you suggest. The UK has been used by many people as a base to go into Europe so I assume that there is no problem with getting insurance. Hopefully someone will b along to give a definitive answer.
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Old 18 Nov 2023
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Thanks Jay, I'll check out Leamington as an alternative to Coventry. I've exchanged a few emails with BikeSure, a UK motorcycle insurer, and they don't see any issues either, at this point.
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Old 18 Nov 2023
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All sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
You can even avoid swapping in your Canadian drivers licence for 6 months. Note that if you DO swap it in to get a UK licence, you will be restricted to automatic cars only, (any motorcycle ok) even if you originally - as I did - took your test on a manual way back when. As Canada no longer differentiates between a manual and auto licence, Canadians can only get an auto licence in the UK. Unless you want to take the test - and I was recommended against it! grrr...
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Old 19 Nov 2023
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Thanks Grant. I'll have an International Drivers License for motorcycles when I arrive in the UK, hopefully that will be good enough. I plan on not driving a car, learning to drive a motorcycle on the left side of the road will be enough of a challenge. While I have lots of experience driving cars/trucks with manual transmissions, driving a vehicle with the steering wheel on the right and shifting with my left hand while driving on the left side of the road is more than I want to deal with.
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Old 25 Nov 2023
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Originally Posted by The Feather View Post
I'll have an International Drivers License for motorcycles when I arrive in the UK, hopefully that will be good enough.
Be aware that an IDP (International Driving Permit) is nothing more than a TRANSLATION of your home driver licence into various other languages. It does not confer any rights to drive a vehicle. You must always present your original (home) driver licence along with the IDP if you are asked to show a driver licence.

Given that the UK uses the same language as most of Canada, you really don't need an IDP there. It doesn't hurt to have one, but don't think for a minute that the IDP is a licence. It's not - it's just a translation document.

Apropos of learning to drive on the left side of the road, you will find that as long as there are other cars around you that remind you of which side of the road you should be on, it's not very difficult to make the transition. Where you have to be extremely careful is when there are no other cars on the road. That is when you will be at the greatest risk of slipping back into "automatic pilot" mode and reverting to driving on the wrong side of the road (meaning, the wrong side in UK terms). An especially dangerous time is when you are leaving a parking lot or gas station and entering a roadway and there are no other cars around... you have to really concentrate on making sure you look in both directions before you enter the roadway, and that you establish yourself on the correct side (the left side) of the roadway once you leave the parking lot or gas station.
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Old 27 Nov 2023
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Thanks for the feedback on the IDP and riding on the left side. I will be sure to carry my Canadian (Ontario) drivers license with me. Once I get set up with the flat and the motorcycle, my plan is to start with short trips, 3 or 4 hours at a time, until I get accustomed to riding on the left. I know once I get tired, it's a lot easier to lose concentration and end up on "automatic pilot", and on the wrong side of the road.
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Old 14 Dec 2023
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a little reminder goes a long way.....


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Old 23 Dec 2023
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Thanks. That looks like a great idea.
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Old 24 Dec 2023
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Here is the experience of an American who managed to get insurance for a UK registered bike near the bottom of this post, could be useful.

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Old 24 Dec 2023
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Yes, thank you. I've been in touch with BikeSure, they don't think there will be an issue, but we'll see. I usually expect things to go sideways at the last minute, and I'm seldom disappointed.
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Old 24 Jan 2024
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Originally Posted by The Feather View Post
Yes, thank you. I've been in touch with BikeSure, they don't think there will be an issue, but we'll see. I usually expect things to go sideways at the last minute, and I'm seldom disappointed.
I am Canadian and did same thing using Bikesure. DM me with any questions.
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canadian, insurance, purchase bike, united kingdom

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