Before you even start to learn to ride on the road, you'll need to get a learner licence.
To apply for a learner licence you have to:
To make sure you can ride safely on the road on a learner licence, you need to pass a basic handling skills test before you get your learner licence.
This means you will need to practise some basic motorcycle handling skills off the road, before you go for your licence. You can either do this on private property, ie not on a road, or take lessons with an approved motorcycle instructor.
You will sit the test with an examiner who has been approved by the Transport Agency to conduct basic handling skills testing. In most areas the approved examiners will be motorcycle instructors. Ask at your local motorcycle dealer or a driver licensing agent or visit www.nzta.govt.nz/bhst.
Normally, you will need to provide the motorcycle on which you take the test. The motorcycle must be a LAMS-approved motorcycle and, because you will be an unlicensed rider, you will not be able to ride the motorcycle to the test venue. Some test examiners can supply motorcycles, so check when you book for the test.
LAMS compliant motorcycles are:
The following groups of motorcycles are not LAMS compliant:
A full list of approved and prohibited motorcycles is on the Transport Agency website at www.nzta.govt.nz/lams.
If you do use your own motorcycle for the test you must:
You must also bring identification, preferably photo ID, so the examiner can verify your identity.
Motorcycles such as pit bikes, mini bikes, paddock bikes and junior-sized motorcycles cannot be used when undertaking a basic handling skills test. You will not be allowed to take the skills test if you turn up on one of these bikes. Motorcycles with automatic transmission are no longer permitted to be provided by the examiner for you to use for the basic handling skills test.
If you are unsure about whether this applies to your motorcycle, call us on 0800 822 422.
During the test you will be asked to perform the following:
You will need to demonstrate:
Reasons you would fail the basic handling skills test include if you:
Note: this is not a complete list.
If you successfully pass the test, you’ll be given a Basic handling skills certificate. You can then apply for your learner licence.
You'll need to go to a driver licensing agent to:
Note: you shouldn’t take anyone else with you while you are sitting the test. If you do take dependent children (under the age of eight) with you, it is at your own risk as they may distract you, which could cause you to fail the test.
To ensure all drivers and riders on our roads are medically fit to drive, the driver licence application form contains a medical declaration.
Every applicant has to complete this declaration. If you have any of the conditions listed below, you may need to provide a medical certificate.
The declaration asks you to declare these types of medical conditions:
When you fill out your driver licence application form, you'll be asked the following question: ‘Would you be willing to donate organs in the event of your death?'
The Transport Agency can't produce a driver licence for you until you have ticked either ‘Yes' or ‘No'.
By ticking the ‘Yes' box and signing the form, you are indicating your wish to be identified as an organ and tissue donor and have the word ‘DONOR' printed on your driver licence. (It's also put on your record on the driver licence database.)
In the event of your death, your family may be asked for their agreement before organs or tissue are removed for donation. That's why it is very important to discuss your decision with your family.
It's a good idea to think about organ donation before you go to the driver licensing agent.
If you would like more information about organ and tissue donation, contact Organ Donation New Zealand on 0800 4 DONOR (0800 436 667) or visit their website.
The learner licence theory test is designed to test whether your knowledge of the road rules is good enough for you to ride on the road. Knowing the road rules is important for you to become a safe rider.
You will sit the theory test at a driver licensing agent's office.
The test is made up of 35 questions about road rules, road hazards and safety practices that relate to motorcycles. The questions will appear in a random order.
All questions are multi-choice and you select the answer you think is correct by clicking on it. You can change your mind after clicking an answer but it will be locked in when you decide to move on to the next question. You will know if you have correctly answered the question before the next question displays.
To pass the test you need to get at least 32 questions right out of 35. If you get more than three questions wrong, you will need to book to take the test again at another time, and you'll need to pay another test fee, but not another application fee.
If you pass the test, you’ll be given a temporary learner licence, which is valid for 21 days. Use it until you receive your photo driver licence in the mail.
Before you book your theory test, you need to be thoroughly familiar with the road rules. You will need to read and learn everything in The official New Zealand road code for motorcyclists. You will probably need to read it several times to understand everything you need to know to be a safe rider.
To help you learn the road rules you can test yourself against the questions from the theory test. If you wish to test your knowledge of the Road code further, or familiarise yourself with the computerised theory test, you can do this by going to www.roadcodepractice.co.nz.
If you are having difficulty preparing for your theory test because of a reading or language difficulty, there are several organisations that may be able to help:
People with reading difficulties can also apply for:
Besides English, the computerised theory test is available in the following languages:
Paper-based theory test translations remain available only in the following languages:
For more information about these options, talk to a driver licensing agent when you book your test.
Your new learner licence will be valid for five years. You can now ride on the open road and gain the skills and experience that will enable you to progress to the next stage. When you feel you are ready you can apply for your restricted licence.
If you do not progress during the five year period, you will need to pass a theory test once your licence has expired before your learner licence can be issued for a further five years.
If you're riding with a learner licence, you must display L plates on your vehicle.
L plates show other road users that you are a learner, so they will be more considerate of you on the road while you are learning to ride. They also mean that police officers can make sure learner drivers are following the conditions of their licence.
The L plate must have a black L on a yellow background and must be at least as large as the measurements shown on the diagram below.
L plates can be purchased from driver licensing agents, or you can make your own.
If you are not complying with your licence conditions the police can now prevent you from continuing to ride until you are able to comply with the conditions of your licence. They may also do one or more of the following:
Learning to ride a motorcycle is very risky and many people have crashes while on their learner licence. It is important that you learn good riding skills from a competent person.
Whoever teaches you should be a skilled and experienced motorcyclist. It is highly recommended that you get professional instruction.
Instructors charge a fee for training and must hold a driving instructor (I) endorsement for each class of licence they want to teach.
Before your first lesson, ask the instructor to show you proof that they hold a current instructor endorsement.
To find a motorcycle instructor or training school, ask at a motorcycle dealer or driver licensing agent.
Last updated: 11 February 2015