Important Ontario Motorcycle Laws

woman riding motorcycleAlthough enjoyable, riding a motorcycle poses serious risks. For this reason, there are several laws in Ontario that outline how to obtain a motorcycle licence and the safety requirements that every bike must meet.

Our experienced team of Windsor motorcycle accident lawyers are committed to the safety of motorcyclists and can help those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision.

Motorcycle Definition

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act defines a motorcycle as a self-propelled vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the driver and is designed to travel on no more than three wheels. This definition includes motor scooters, but not motor-assisted bicycles.

How to Get a Motorcycle Licence in Ontario

Ontario Law requires that individuals be at least 16 years old to obtain a motorcycle licence. It also requires that all new riders practice riding and gain experience over time before acquiring the required Class M licence.

The type of motorcycle you want to drive will determine the type of M Class licence you will apply for: 

  • M (including M1 and M2) – full speed motorcycles
  • M with condition L (including M1 and M2-L) – limited-speed motorcycles such as mopeds and motorized scooters
  • M with condition M (including M1 and M2-M) – three-wheeled motorcycles

Once you have determined the type of licence you would like, you can apply by passing an eye test and written assessment that will test your knowledge of road rules and traffic signs.

After passing the test, you will obtain an M1 licence and will need to practice riding. During this time, you must:

  • Have no alcohol in your blood while riding
  • Ride only during daylight hours
  • Wear a helmet
  • Not drive on roads with speed limits above 80 km/hour
  • Never carry passengers

Your M1 licence will be valid for 90 days. After 60 days, you can take the first of two road tests.

If you pass the first test, you will get your M2 licence, which allows you to ride at night.

After 22 months with an M2 licence, you can take the second road test. If you pass, you will get your full M licence.

If you choose to complete an approved motorcycle safety course, you will not need to take the M1 road test and will be able to take the M2 road test after 18 months. However, you must submit your referral envelope as proof of your successful completion of the course within six months.

Ontario Motorcycle Helmet Law

All operators and riders of motorcycles are required by Ontario law to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle.

The helmet must have a hard, smooth outer shell that is lined with protective padding and a chin strap that securely fastens the helmet to the person’s head. The helmet cannot be damaged from prior use.

R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 610 requires that helmets meet the requirements of one of the following:

  • Canadian Standards Association Standard D230 Safety Helmets for Motorcycle Riders with a monogram of approval from the Canadian Standards Association Testing Laboratories
  • Snell Memorial Foundation with a certificate on the helmet
  • British Standards Institute with a certificate on the helmet
  • United States of America Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 with the U.S. Department of Transportation symbol
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No. 22 with an approval mark

Additional Motorcycle Equipment

There are also several additional laws that state the required safety equipment that motorcycles must have. These laws are important for ensuring motorcyclists are seen and that operators and riders are safe.


R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 62 (2) requires that motorcycles traveling on a highway have two lighted lamps, one white lamp on the front and one red lamp on the back of the motorcycle.


Motorcycles must have front and rear brake systems if traveling on the highway, according to R.S.O. 2009, c. 5, s. 29 (1).


Motorcycles, like traditional vehicles, must have a mirror or mirrors securely fastened to the vehicle that allow a rearview for the driver to see the roadway behind the vehicle, according to R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 66 (2).


R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s.10(1) restricts motorcycle handlebars to no more than 380 millimeters above the top of the bike’s seat when it is compressed by a driver sitting in it.

Passenger Seating

To carry a passenger on a motorcycle, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s.10(2) requires that the passenger be in a side car designed for carrying passengers or in a seat behind the operator that is securely fastened to the motorcycle and has foot rests for the passenger.

Windsor Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Unfortunately, despite following the rules of the road and all requirements for riding a motorcycle, accidents do still happen. That is why our Windsor motorcycle accident lawyers are committed to helping motorcyclists defend their legal rights and obtain the compensation they need to recover from an accident or the loss of a loved one.

Contact Greg Monforton & Partners today to learn more about how we can help you after a motorcycle accident. We work on a contingency fee basis and charge no upfront fees for our services.

Call (866) 320-4770 for a free, no obligation consultation.