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Thread: How do I obtain an international motorcycle license?

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    How do I obtain an international motorcycle license?

    I read a long time ago that if you wanted to ride in foreign countries, one should obtain an international motorcycle license. I can't find where to get one of these. I'm from the U.S. and am planning to ride through Europe this spring on a borrowed R90 that I will have to insure. Any ideas of how to obtain this license, or find decent insurance for a month or two? Thanks for looking!

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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Suggest you either contact the State Department via e-mail, or stop in at an international travel agency - I'm sure they have broached this subject before.

    Good Luck!

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    ltljohn LTLJOHN's Avatar
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    When I went to Europe a few years ago I went to AAA for the license. I would check with Globalrider, he spends lots of time in Europe and can probably provide some good info.
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    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Triple A issues international driver's license but have not heard of an international motorcycle license.
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    Just South of Eden mrich12000's Avatar
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    Same here in Ontario The CAA does the issuing as with Paul I have not seen an international bike license. any takers on this matter ?

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    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Triple A.
    I rode in China last year and because it was already stated on my driving license that I was entitled to ride a bike, riding a bike was added as a category.

    When I came from the UK to the US, I got an International License for car and bike from the post office there. It came in very useful for the first year here in the US.

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    Wow, thanks a lot everyone! Sounds like AAA is the way to go.

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    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    The first couple times I went to Europe, I got an IDL at AAA as well. But you don't actually HAVE to have one. In most countries any of us are likely to go to, our home country license is valid for a limited time like 6 months or a year. What the IDL can do for you is make it clear what your regular license says to someone who doesn't speak English. This may not necessarily be an advantage...

    My experience with foriegners riding here is that the local constabulary will look at their license and passport and decide it's not worth the hassle. I have had the same experience in Europe.

    A number of years ago, I was riding my bike in France. I entered the city of Strasbourg at dusk and was trying to follow the signs towards the Tourist Information office. I had only prepared myself with a AAA map of France, which showed Strasbourg as a small yellow blob with three lines running through it. As I was riding along, I noticed a sign on the other side of the road indicating the tourist office was now behind me somewhere. I made left into a sidestreet, made a quick U turn, and then stopped at the curb on the main road. I was just pulling the useless map out of my tankbag to see if a closer inspection might not reveal something more, when I noticed an olive panel van pull up to the curb in front of me.

    Out stepped 6 uniformed men. The oldest came up to me and proceeded to speak quite a lot of French to me. Beyond "bon jour", "sil vous plait" and "parlez vous anglese?", I don't speak French. When he finished, I tried that last one on him. He looked at me for a couple long seconds, turned around and went back to his group. They huddled for a moment, then the youngest man returned to me. In good English, he told me that the little road I had made a U turn in was a one way street. He told me that the tourist office was already closed, and he directed me towards where a suitable hotel would be. Then he wished me well. He never asked to see my license or passport (or the IDL I had)...

    I have shown my license and passport to police in the Netherlands and in Scotland. They had taken an interest in me because of the small US motorcycle plate on my bike. None of them had much interest in me after that. No IDL in those cases.
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    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Regarding insurance, check the Global Touring section of the main MOA website. I've been getting my insurance from ADAC, the German AAA equivalent. (It's not equivalent, ADAC has fabulous benefits and covers bikes as well as cars. I am now a member and consider the Ôé¼80 money well spent.)

    You don't have to be an ADAC member to get liability insurance from them. It has cost on the order of $50/month to get this "green card" insurance.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
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    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Check the list of countries the license is valid in as well. It isn't good everywhere. IIRC the US is not one of the places it's good, ot ar least it wasn't when I was working.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiekilowatt View Post
    I read a long time ago that if you wanted to ride in foreign countries, one should obtain an international motorcycle license. I can't find where to get one of these. I'm from the U.S. and am planning to ride through Europe this spring on a borrowed R90 that I will have to insure. Any ideas of how to obtain this license, or find decent insurance for a month or two? Thanks for looking!

    You can get an international driver's and motorcycle license at AAA. Even though they're not required to drive in Europe, I still get one each time just in case some officer somewhere doesn't know the law.

    A U.S. driver's license that is in force is good to rent cars (and I believe motorcycles) and drive in Europe or at least all of the Schengen countries which are essentially all of the countries you don't need a visa to visit. You can also go to Romania, Molodova, and I think Albania and legally drive.

    Asia and Africa I don't know nor the golden lands of Australia or NZ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiekilowatt View Post
    I read a long time ago that if you wanted to ride in foreign countries, one should obtain an international motorcycle license. I can't find where to get one of these. I'm from the U.S. and am planning to ride through Europe this spring on a borrowed R90 that I will have to insure. Any ideas of how to obtain this license, or find decent insurance for a month or two? Thanks for looking!
    By the way, some European countries require you to show that you have health insurance in effect and have either bank funds or cash for a certain amount. I've never been asked - I really think this is so they can check and stop what they deem to be undesirables but you never know.

    If you're renting a car or bike, then at least your car is insured by the rental company. I've never rented a bike so don't know that but wanted to make you aware that officially, some countries require proof of health ins. and financial means.

    You can also get the trip health insurance and it must cover evacuations through AAA. It's low cost and no health questions.

  13. #13
    Registered User ghostridery2k's Avatar
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    Is legal to drive in Poland with US license for up to 90 days.I never had problem when i visited Poland and Germany.
    www.lakecountymotorcycletowing.com

    -2011 G650GS,2006 K1200R,1987 K75S,2002 Aprilia Falco,2005 Kawasaki Z750S,2005 Triumph tiger 955i,

  14. #14
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    Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer cherse...

    http://the-international-drivers-license.com/

    The thing is, the IDL, from whoever issues it, is not a license. It's a communication, which explains that you hold a valid license in your home country. That's why it must accompany your state license - with the motorcycle endorsement.

    I've been stopped twice in Europe, once in France and once in Switzerland. Both times my infraction was explained to me, I was told to be careful, and was dismissed with a smile and a salute.

    Hope you have a great experience!

  15. #15
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    The first couple times I went to Europe, I got an IDL at AAA as well. But you don't actually HAVE to have one.

    +1

    All an IDL from AAA is is a translation of the fields on your valid US license. Not neccessary, but it could prove handy. Other than the sig required for attesting to the validity of the information, it's not really a legal document.


    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    By the way, some European countries require you to show that you have health insurance in effect and have either bank funds or cash for a certain amount. I've never been asked - I really think this is so they can check and stop what they deem to be undesirables but you never know.
    AFAIK, this stuff happened a long time ago, when international banking was unheard of except for the institutions. It's a whole new ballgame when your ATM from the neighborhood bank will spit out Euro or Pounds just about everywhere in Europe.

    You can also get the trip health insurance and it must cover evacuations through AAA. It's low cost and no health questions.

    +1

    I get it every time I go to Europe. Covers everything from lost luggage, trip interruptions, to med evac. For about $10/day IIRC. But AFAIK, it's not "Health Insurance" per se. It has an Emergency Room visit coverage, but it won't cover seeing an MD if you get the flu. (I know, I got it once in Milan)


    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    Regarding insurance, check the Global Touring section of the main MOA website. I've been getting my insurance from ADAC, the German AAA equivalent. (It's not equivalent, ADAC has fabulous benefits and covers bikes as well as cars. I am now a member and consider the €80 money well spent.)

    You don't have to be an ADAC member to get liability insurance from them. It has cost on the order of $50/month to get this "green card" insurance.
    Although it doesn't cover me in Europe, I have AAA RV+ insurance which is in a whole different league than normal AAA roadside protection. Covers MCs, free gas, 100 mile towing instead of 25, etc. Check with your local AAA, not all states provide the RV+ plan.

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