How to get your Beijing Motorcycle Driving License

These very useful instructions were written by my friend Ruud a couple of years ago. I just finally passed my Beijing Car Driving License today, and have decided to push on to get my motorcycle license as well. Having just got a new copy of his instructions, I have decided to post them up here in case anyone else finds them useful. Don’t thank me – thank Ruud! Here you go:Disclaimer – these instructions are a couple of years old. I will update this if I find out anything has changed.

The Process

  • Get the application form & medical form from Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB) – website here. (It may be available on BTMB website but I couldn’t find it – please let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • Go to an assigned hospital to get medical certificate (list of approved hospitals available on BTMB website here)
  • Go to BTMB with application form and medical certification, get it approved
  • Go to the driving school with: passport, residence permit, approved application, medical certificate, and 6 photos + 1000 RMB. After 2 days pick-up papers from the driving school.
  • The Driving school will book a time to take the written test at BTMB (can be in English, Russian, Arabic, German, French, Japanese, Korean and Chinese so take your pick)
  • Take written test (100 questions, need 90 correct answers). This requires some studying, but if you put in the graft you will be rewarded accordingly! When you pass, as a reward you get a “skill certificate” right after the test. (Note – This test is apparently not the same test you do for the car driving license, although there is some overlap. If you have done the driving test questions, you will still need to do these.)
  • With the certificate, you can start motorbike training at the driving school. You apparently have to wait 3 weeks (the minimum) to go for skill test 1
  • Motorbike skill test 1 (at Shen Hua): this is a test to drive slalom around 6 poles, supervised and judged by two police officers. After passing you have to wait minimum 3 weeks for test 2
  • Motorbike riding test 2 (at Shen Hua): another skill test, this time with various hazards, bumps etc, see pics. Again supervised and judged by two police officers
  • After test two, hand in your current license (if you have one) to the driving school and wait for the new license to be ready (about a week)

Some Comments

  • If you have a motorcycle driving license from your own country it will be a lot easier as you will be able to exchange it as done with your car license
  • The BTMB moved from north 5th ring to south 4th ring, a few years ago without notice. Most sources on the internet still mention the old address. The new location is on the south-east corner of Shi Ba Li Dian South Bridge. The Building is number 18, Beijing Motor Vehicle Administration. Head for the ‘Foreign Affairs Office’ entrance on the left (north) side of the building. Contrary to the what the name suggests, it seems no-one there speaks anything other than Chinese.
  • Visiting BTMB is a treat in itself, you are welcomed by one wreck of a burned out van on your left hand side and a totaled Merc on your right hand side (see pics below).
  • Theory test: Study for it! It’s not as hard as it first seems but you do need to get it into your brain, at least for the duration of the test! You need to get 90% to pass so it is quite easy to fail if you don’t study well enough. There is a good iPhone app I used for the car test called China Drive (get it here) . It’s a bit buggy (kept freezing/crashing) and some of the questions are out of date, but for the most part it was the best and easiest way I found to study for the test. I have seen several foreigners (myself included!) fail the test, so my advise is to make sure you know it before turning up. You only get two attempts at the test before you have to re-register, so far obvious reasons make sure you pass!
  • There are three motorcycle driving schools: “Lao shang”, “Shen hua” and “Shou qi feng tian”. Ruud registered with Shen Hua as they also take the riding tests in the same place and coordinate all paperwork.
  • The Medical test takes about 20 minutes (depending on hospital)
  • With regards to the practical test: if you have never been riding a sidecar, it’s better to do so, Test 1 is not that difficult (just slalom) but the second test does require some handling experience with a side car.
  • The three weeks of waiting for the practical exams are intended to allow for training. Even if you don’t need to train, it seems there is no way to advance the timing till the practical test – just wait it out.
  • If you already have a car license in Beijing, both your motorcycle license (cat D) and car driver’s license (cat C) will be combined into one.

What You Need

  • Your Passport
  • Temporary Residence Registration form (from your local police station, mandatory for everyone these days)
  • 8 color (front) pictures with a white background
  • 1000RMB for the driving school and new driving license (it includes renewal of current car license as well)
  • Medical test cost: 1 rmb for some sort of registration and 10 rmb for eye test
  • If possible get the “Fesco book on traffic rules” not sure of the title, content is hilarious, a Chinglish sensation! :)

Ruud’s Pictures