This chapter tells you about the rules you must follow for registering and insuring your motorcycle and moped and about buying and selling a used motorcycle or moped. It also tells you what to do to keep your motorcycle or moped running safely.

Insuring your motorcycle or moped

Ontario has compulsory motor vehicle insurance. This means that you must insure your motorcycle or moped. 

You must show proof that you have insurance coverage before you can register your motorcycle or moped or renew your registration. If you do not tell the truth about your insurance, or show false documents, you can be fined $5,000 to $25,000. You may also lose your licence for up to one year and have your motorcycle or moped taken away for up to three months.

You must insure all your vehicles for third party liability of at least $200,000. This covers you if you injure or kill someone or damage someone’s property. Collision insurance to cover damage to your own vehicle is a good idea but not required by law.

When driving your own vehicle or someone else’s, you must carry the pink liability insurance card given to you by the insurance company for that particular vehicle. You must show this card when a police officer asks for it. If you do not, you can be fined up to $400.

Registering your motorcycle or moped

Motorcycle and moped registration includes licence plates and a vehicle permit. Licence plates are required for motorcycles and mopeds when driven on public roads.

When registering your moped at a ServiceOntario centre, you must show the bill of sale. Dealers of mopeds are required by law to provide purchasers with a certificate that guarantees the moped fits the definition under the Highway Traffic Act.

A distinct new licence plate is issued to all limited-speed motorcycles in the same size as the motorcycle plate but is green with white lettering. Motorcycle and moped plates will remain the same. Licence plates in Ontario work on a plate-to-owner system. This means that licence plates move with the vehicle owner, not the vehicle. When you sell or change a vehicle, you must remove the plates. If you do not intend to use them on another vehicle, you may return them to a ServiceOntario centre.

Keep your licence plate visible

By law, your entire licence plate must be completely visible. Remove anything that makes it difficult to see your licence plate, such as dirt, snow, a licence plate frame, or a bike.

If your licence plate is not visible, you may be fined.

Your vehicle permit must have an accurate description of your vehicle. This means if you change anything about your motorcycle or moped, such as the colour, you must report it to a ServiceOntario centre within six days. Also, if you change your name or address, you must notify the Ministry of Transportation within six days. You can do this in person at a ServiceOntario centre or by mailing the correct information stub attached to your vehicle permit to the Ministry of Transportation, P.O. Box 9200, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 5K4; or online at

Buying or selling a used motorcycle or moped

If you are selling a used motorcycle privately in Ontario, you must buy a used-vehicle information package (UVIP). (You do not need one if you are selling a moped.) The package is available from any Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, ServiceOntario Kiosks and online at

This package, which the seller must show to potential buyers, has a description of the motorcycle, its registration and lien history in Ontario, and the average wholesale and retail values for its model and year. It also includes information about retail sales tax. The seller gives the UVIP to the buyer.

Sellers of both motorcycles and mopeds must remove their licence plates, sign the vehicle transfer portion of the vehicle permit and give it to the buyer. Sellers must keep the plate portion of the permit.

The buyer must take the UVIP (except if buying a moped) and the vehicle portion of the permit to a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office to register as the new owner within six days of the sale.

Before buyers can put their own plates on their new vehicle, they must have:

  • The licence plates validated, if not already valid
  • The vehicle portion of the permit issued for that vehicle
  • The licence plate number recorded on the plate portion of the vehicle permit
  • Valid safety standards certificate (does not apply to mopeds)
  • The minimum insurance required under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act

Safety Standards Certificate

A safety standards certificate is a document that certifies a vehicle’s fitness. You can buy and register a vehicle without a safety certificate, but you cannot put your own plates on the vehicle or drive it without one.

An inspection station licensed by the Ministry of Transportation to inspect motorcycles can issue a safety standards certificate, provided your vehicle passes an inspection. Many garages are licensed — look for a sign saying it is a motor vehicle inspection station.

A safety standards certificate is valid for 36 days after the inspection However, the certificate is not a guarantee or warranty. Mopeds are exempt from the certificate requirement.

Maintaining your motorcycle or moped

Motorcycles and mopeds require more maintenance than cars. It is important that you read your owner’s manual, inspect your motorcycle carefully and fix things right away. In addition to the check you do each time you drive here are some things you should examine each week:


Your tire tread should be at least 1.5 millimetres deep. If the tread is getting low, buy new tires. Inadequate tread depth will greatly reduce your braking traction on wet roads. If the wear is uneven, you need to find out why it is happening and fix the problem. Also check for cuts, cracks, scrapes, exposed cord, abnormal bumps or bulges or any other visible tread or sidewall defect. Also check the air pressure regularly.


Check both wheels for missing or loose spokes. Check the rims for cracks or dents. Lift the wheel off the ground and spin it, if possible. Watch its motion and listen for noise. Also, move it from side to side to check for looseness.


If your engine is liquid-cooled, check the coolant level. At the same time, inspect the radiator hoses, looking for cracks and leaks.

Battery (if your vehicle is equipped with one)

Check your battery fluid level regularly.

Drive line

Clean and oil the chain and check it for wear. Replace it when necessary. Your owner’s manual will describe when and how to adjust a chain. If your motorcycle has a shaft drive, check the fluid level.

Shock absorbers

If your motorcycle bounces several times after crossing a bump or you hear a clunk, your shock absorbers may need to be adjusted or replaced.


Check for loose or missing nuts, bolts or cotter pins. Keeping your motorcycle or moped clean makes it easier to spot missing parts.


If you hear a scraping sound when you try to stop, or if the brakes feel spongy, have them serviced immediately. If your motorcycle has hydraulic brakes, check the fluid level regularly.

Illustration of a rider checking the motorcycle to make sure everything is in good working order.

Accessories and modifications

Making changes or adding accessories incorrectly can make a motorcycle or moped dangerous to drive. Before adding accessories or modifying your motorcycle or moped, make certain that the alteration will not affect the safety and performance of your vehicles, and that the alteration complies with the requirements of the Highway Traffic Act. If you are not sure, check with the manufacturer of your motorcycle or moped.

Extended forks

Some drivers install longer-than-standard forks for styling. However, they reduce steering precision and increase stress on the motorcycle or moped frame and steering components.

Road race handlebars

Extra-low clamp-on handlebars make it harder to do proper shoulder checks and may cause discomfort and fatigue.

Touring modifications

Improperly designed or installed fairings, luggage attachments and containers may overload the motorcycle, change its handling characteristics or cause a tire blowout.

Choosing a motorcycle safety course

Every new driver, or those wishing to improve their skills, should take a motorcycle training course. If you pass a ministry-approved motorcycle safety course, you can reduce the time you must spend at Level Two by four months. A course may also offer the following:

  • Personal instruction from experts
  • A motorcycle provided for about 14 hours of practice
  • Your Level One or Level Two driving test
  • Valuable tips and skills to keep you safe on the road
  • The possibility of an insurance discount on your motorcycle (check with your insurance company)

If you would like more information about motorcycle or limited-speed motorcycle driver training or a course being held near you, call your local community college or visit the Ministry of Transportation website at


By the end of this chapter, you should know:

  • The mandatory insurance requirements for motorcycles
  • Information regarding registering, buying or selling a used motorcycle and safety standards certificates
  • Components of your motorcycle that should be checked weekly and what to look for
  • That some modifications to your motorcycle are dangerous and illegal
  • Some elements to consider when choosing a motorcycle safety course