Australians riding a rental motorcycle in the USA

Australians riding a rental motorcycle in the USA

For issue #153, Roderick Eime wrote an article about riding in the USA, and with the help of friend came up with these general tips for Australians looking to ride in the USA. Now this is just general advice – things change – so do your research and don’t be afraid to let us know how your tour comes together.

Passport – The expiry date must be a minimum of 6 months after your return to Australia.

Visa – You will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) when applying, check you are on the correct website.
Licence – Full motorcycle licence. Minimum age for a rider to rent is 21 years

Insurances – Travel Insurance.
Ensure the policy covers you riding the motorcycle you are riding. Some insurance policies have engine size limits.
No policy will cover Collision Damage Waiver as in a car rental.

Insurances – Motorcycle Insurance.
Covering other people.
Consider the motorcycle having a limited version of the Australian CTP Insurance (Compulsory Third Party Insurance) which covers people other than the rider.
In the USA the cover varies from state to state and can be quite low in relation to the costs that can be incurred so it is advisable to take out SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) as the name implies it supplements the mandatory third-party liability insurance.

Covering the motorcycle
As with any insurance you pay more to reduce your risk on damage to or theft of the motorcycle.
Something to remember when considering how much cover is, what can you afford if you drop the motorcycle as even a minor fall can break or damage things…
These insurance policies are offered normally by the rental company.

The opposites of riding in the USA compared to Australia.
They ride on the other side of the ride. Normally not a problem when you have vehicles in front of you but be mindful with turning in an intersection or riding onto the road.
One way to remember is as you come into the intersection to turn, make long lefts or short rights.
The cars are easy as you just have to remember the steering wheel lives in the middle of the road but then the controls except the pedals are the other way around whereas a motorcycle everything is in the same place.
The seasons are the reverse. If you go in our summer, it is winter and beware of the snow and ice in some of the states.

The alternatives to renting are:
Shipping your own motorcycle there and back.
You will have pay for shipping, customs and landing.
Check your vehicle insurance to ensure you are covered.
Time being shipped to the USA and return to Australia.

Buying a motorcycle and selling it when you have finished with it.
If you buy in the USA you will need an address to register it.
You will still need to check the level of insurance.
Consider how long will it take to sell at the end of your trip?

Buying a motorcycle and bringing it back.
If you buy in the USA you will need an address to register it.
You will still need to check the level of insurance.
There maybe be GST to pay on the price depending upon the age of the motorcycle.
To register in Australia, you will need it certified, changes will have to be made to the headlight, speedometer, possibly tyres and exhaust.

The next question will you do it alone or join a group.
Riding alone can give you total freedom of how long you sped in a place and where you go during the time you have a location.
This also means you have to plan your route and ensure you know how to get to those things you want to see and so.
You have to carry everything on the motorcycle though some rental companies provide secure storage for your luggage.
If you are travelling one way between points, you will have to ship your luggage.
Your accommodation can be where you stop or have it pre-booked to keep you on schedule.
Accommodation costs are higher as you are not sharing the room and so you have to pay for it as single use.

Riding in a group of friends.
You and your friends have decided to do ‘the Trip’ there will have to be a plan of where you are going.
Accommodation may be better pre-booked depending on your group size and the popularity of the locations which may have no accommodation available.
In a group like this you can have someone drive the support vehicle which will give you luggage carrying ability or as with on your own, everyone carries their stuff on their motorcycle.
The dynamics of these can get very interesting.

Riding on a tour
If you don’t know the places along the way or the route, this may be for you.
There is normally a guide either on the lead motorcycle (Guided Tour) or in the support vehicle (Escorted Tour).
Entrance fees are normally included as is accommodation.
You may find other inclusions such as fuel and breakfasts, just check when you are researching what the company offers.

All of the above is a guide and you should research by reading any documentation regarding the above then make your own decision based on your findings.

Information supplied by David Reeves, Ride the World