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Frequently Asked Questions

Motorcycles

Questions

Answers

Q1: Is it possible to transform or modify an off-road motorcycle so that it meets the standards to drive it on public roads?
A: No. Off-road motorcycles were not designed to be driven on public roads because they have certain features that are different from those required for road use. These features concern the exhaust system, fuel system, tires, brake system, etc.

Furthermore, in accordance with the federal law governing automobile safety, manufacturers must affix a permanent label to off-road motorcycles to advise consumers that they are not intended to be driven on pubic roads.

Q2: What is the difference between a road motorcycle and an off-road motorcycle. Why is an off-road motorcycle not designed to be driven on public roads?
A: Motorcycles designed for road use must meet stricter and more comprehensive security standards with regard to the exhaust system, the fuel system, tires, the brake system, etc.

However, manufacturers are not subject to any standards regarding the fuel and vapour tightness of their fuel systems if their vehicles are designed to be driven off-road. Another example: the hoses of the brake system of road motorcycles must meet several manufacturing standards and undergo testing. This is not the case for off-road motorcycles.

Q3: If an off-road motorcycle is outfitted with the equipment prescribed by the Highway Safety Code, can it be driven on the road?
A: If it was not designed by the manufacturer to be driven on the road, it must remain off road even if you add the accessories required by the Highway Safety Code, such as headlights or signal lights. The manufacturer and not the user decides where a motorcycle is intended for use. That is why the manufacturer affixes a permanent label advising consumers that the motorcycle is not intended for road use.

Note that an off-road motorcycle cannot be registered to be driven on public roads even if the owner has had it mechanically inspected by an SAAQ mechanical inspection agent.

Q4: How can owners know if their motorcycle can or cannot be driven on the road?
A: If the motorcycle was manufactured for off-road use, it bears a permanent label indicating that the motorcycle is not intended for use on public roads. This label must be prominently displayed by the manufacturer and the text must be in both official languages.

When in doubt, the owner can refer to the dealer who may in turn refer to the manufacturer to learn what use is intended for the vehicle.

Information on the label
According to Transport Canada, the size of the label or the size of the letters it contains have not been standardized. In practice, manufacturers often write “ATTENTION” in big red letters on the label, followed by a text indicating that the vehicle is a restricted-use motorcycle that is not intended for use on public roads. The text must be in both official languages and the label must be permanently affixed in clear view on the vehicle.

Q5: Can a motorcycle designed by a manufacturer for exclusive off-road use become a hand-crafted motorcycle recognized by the SAAQ?
A: No. The hand-crafted motorcycle program is addressed to people who build their own vehicles or who use parts originating from several manufacturers. The SAAQ will not authorize the use of a hand-crafted vehicle if it is built of parts that have not been designed for use on public roads. And that is only an example, because driving a hand-crafted vehicle on a public road may also be refused for mechanical non-conformity or because of the vehicle's structure.

Q6: When can I have Class 6, which authorizes me to operate a motorcycle, removed from my licence?
A:
You can have the motorcycle class removed at any time by visiting one of our service centres and paying the fees for the issue of a new licence

Q7: It might be advantageous for me to have Class 6 removed from my licence during the period of November through March; would the refund cover the cost of having my photo taken and the administrative charge?
A:
No, the insurance premium for the right operate a motorcycle is mostly calculated for the months of April through October. Should you have the motorcycle operation class removed in autumn, the insurance premium refund will not cover the cost of having a photo taken and the administrative charge for licence renewal.

Q8: With registration fees that include insurance being seasonal, would I be entitled to a refund if I put my motorcycle in storage, say from October through March?
A:
No, there is currently no insurance premium refund after October 1st, and there will not be any either after the rate increases scheduled from January 1, 2008.

Q9: Is the time allowed for the reinstatement of a motorcycle authorization class, after having it removed, three years without having to take a test?
A:
Yes, the period of three years will still hold, as at present.

Q10: Will I be notified when the period of three years comes to an end?
A:
No. It's up to you to check on that.

Q11: How do you recognize a high-risk motorcycle?
A:
High-risk motorcycles are vehicles that are designed for performance and are recognized as such by manufacturers and specialists (journalists, authors, etc.) They have certain visual and technical characteristics such as:

  • streamlined fairing to improve aerodynamics, covering the sides of the engine, with a low windshield;
  • a crouched-forward driving position;
  • low, short handlebars;
  • foot pegs placed higher up and farther back;
  • muffler placed at the rear and angled upward;
  • two disc brakes in front and one disc brake in the back;
  • rear wheel driven by a chain;
  • power to weight ratio of over .5 hp/kg;
  • no center stand;
  • oversize frame.

Q12: Which motorcycles are considered “high-risk” motorcycles?
A: Here is a list of motorcycles taken from the Gazette officielle du Québec that are not officially in the “high-risk” category but which will be eventually. The official list (see Schedule 1)This link will open a new window. remains that of the Gazette officielle.

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Last Modification: 2012-10-11