Are Motorcycle Sidecars Legal in BC? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are motorcycle sidecars legal in BC? That’s a question that’s likely crossed the minds of many motorcycle enthusiasts. After all, sidecars are a popular option for those who want to take a passenger along for the ride, haul extra cargo, or simply add some style to their bike. But as with any modification to a vehicle, it’s important to know whether it’s allowed by law. So, let’s explore the world of sidecars in BC.

First off, let’s clarify what exactly a sidecar is. In case you’re not familiar, a sidecar is a small, one-wheeled attachment that’s affixed to the side of a motorcycle. The sidecar gives the motorcycle more stability and allows for a second passenger to ride along. But are these novel accessories legal in British Columbia? The answer is yes, but of course, there are some caveats that need to be considered. So, buckle up (or rather, get ready to attach that sidecar), because we’re about to examine what the law has to say about this unique way of riding.

If you’re considering adding a sidecar to your motorcycle in BC, it’s important to know the rules and regulations that come along with it. For example, you’ll need to make sure that the sidecar meets certain safety standards and that your motorcycle is capable of towing the added weight. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you navigate this process. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, it’s always a good idea to stay informed on the legalities of modifications to your motorcycle. So, are motorcycle sidecars legal in BC? The answer is yes, but make sure to do your homework before hitting the road with your new (or newly modified) ride.

Types of Motorcycle Sidecars

If you’re looking to add a sidecar to your motorcycle, you’ll be happy to know that there are several types to choose from. Each style has its own unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types of motorcycle sidecars:

  • Leaner sidecars: These are the most common type of sidecar you’ll see on the road. Leaner sidecars attach to the motorcycle’s frame and provide a passenger seat that is located to the side of the bike. They allow the rider to lean into turns, making for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride. These sidecars can be installed on almost any type of motorcycle.
  • Platform sidecars: These sidecars consist of a platform that is attached to the motorcycle’s frame, with a passenger seat located on top. These types of sidecars don’t lean with the motorcycle, but they do provide a stable and secure platform for passengers.
  • Enclosed sidecars: These sidecars provide complete protection from the elements. They have a roof, windshield, and windows, which make them perfect for use in cold or rainy weather. They can be attached to almost any type of motorcycle, but they tend to be more expensive than other types of sidecars.

Regulations for Motorcycle Sidecars in BC

Motorcycle sidecars have been growing in popularity amongst avid riders looking to add extra passenger capacity and storage to their bikes. However, before hitting the road with a sidecar, it is important to understand the regulations set in place by the province of British Columbia.

Licensing Requirements

  • The operator of the motorcycle must possess a valid Class 6 motorcycle licence.
  • The sidecar passenger must wear a helmet that complies with the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

Equipment and Vehicle Requirements

Sidecars must meet the following equipment and vehicle requirements as outlined by the province:

  • The sidecar must be attached to the motorcycle by a secure and safe connection.
  • The motorcycle must not exceed the weight specified in the manufacturer’s specifications and the combined weight of the motorcycle and sidecar must not exceed the specified gross vehicle weight.
  • The sidecar must have functional lights and signals that meet the standards set in place by the province.

Safety Considerations

When operating a motorcycle with a sidecar, it is essential to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. Some safety tips to keep in mind include:

  • Practice operating the motorcycle and sidecar in a safe place, away from traffic and pedestrians.
  • Always drive within your comfort level and avoid taking turns or curves too quickly.
  • When braking, distribute the pressure evenly between the motorcycle and sidecar brakes.


Overall, using a motorcycle sidecar in BC is legal as long as you meet the licensing requirements, equipment and vehicle requirements, and safety considerations. Be sure to do your research and follow the regulations set in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

Criteria Requirement
Operator Licensing Valid Class 6 Motorcycle Licence
Passenger Safety Helmets Required for Sidecar Passenger
Weight Limitations Motorcycle and Sidecar Combined Weight Must Not Exceed Gross Vehicle Weight
Lights and Signals Sidecar Must Have Functional Lights and Signals That Meet Provincial Standards

Always ensure that you meet these criteria and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety while using a motorcycle sidecar.

Safety considerations when using a motorcycle sidecar

Before hitting the road with a motorcycle sidecar, it is important to consider several safety factors to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

  • Weight distribution: The weight of the sidecar can significantly affect the stability and balance of the motorcycle. It is important to consider the weight distribution when loading both the sidecar and the motorcycle. A well-balanced load will ensure better handling and control.
  • Driving style: Driving a motorcycle with a sidecar requires a different driving technique than riding a motorcycle solo. The driver needs to adjust their driving style to accommodate the added weight and need for wider turns. It is also important to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially when driving at high speeds.
  • Passenger safety: Passengers in a sidecar need to be properly secured with a seatbelt or harness. They also need to be dressed appropriately for the weather conditions and wear protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and sturdy shoes. It is important to brief passengers on safety guidelines before the trip to ensure they understand the potential hazards.

In addition to the points mentioned above, it is crucial to maintain the motorcycle and sidecar regularly. Check for any signs of wear and tear, and have it inspected by a professional mechanic before going on a long trip. Other safety precautions should include wearing high-visibility gear, obeying traffic laws, and avoiding distractions while driving.

Do Don’t
Wear protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Assume the motorcycle will handle the same way it does without a sidecar.
Secure the passenger with a seatbelt or harness. Speed or weave in and out of traffic.
Check the motorcycle and sidecar for any signs of wear and tear before the trip. Overload the motorcycle and sidecar with too much weight.

By following these safety considerations and guidelines, riding a motorcycle with a sidecar can be a fun and adventurous experience while also ensuring the safety of the driver and passenger.

Pros and Cons of Riding with a Motorcycle Sidecar

Deciding to add a sidecar to your motorcycle is a big decision and one that requires careful consideration. While there are undoubtedly many benefits to having a sidecar, there are also some drawbacks that need to be taken into account. Here are some of the main pros and cons of riding with a motorcycle sidecar:

  • Pros:
  • Increased stability – With three wheels on the ground, a motorcycle with a sidecar is more stable than a regular motorcycle.
  • Passenger capacity – A sidecar can add another passenger capacity, making it easier to take a second person with you on your rides.
  • Cargo space – Sidecars provide an additional storage space for carrying gear, groceries, or camping equipment.
  • Novelty – Let’s face it, there’s something very cool and unique about riding a motorcycle with a sidecar.
  • Cons:
  • Handling – The biggest drawback of a sidecar is the way it handles. A motorcycle with a sidecar is much wider than a regular motorcycle, which can make it difficult to navigate through tight spaces or make sharp turns.
  • Weight – Depending on the size of the sidecar, it can add a considerable amount of weight to the motorcycle, which can impact the performance and handling of the bike.
  • Cost – Sidecars can be expensive to install, and not all motorcycles are compatible with sidecars. In some cases, you may need to buy a specialized motorcycle designed for sidecar use.
  • Appearance – While some riders love the look of a motorcycle with a sidecar, others find it ungainly and unattractive.

Sidecar Compatibility in British Columbia

In British Columbia, sidecars are legal and are considered a separate unit from the motorcycle. This means that sidecars cannot be detached from the motorcycle while on the road. To be roadworthy, a sidecar must meet certain safety standards, including having its own brakes, signals and lights, and being securely attached to the motorcycle.

If you are considering adding a sidecar to your motorcycle in British Columbia, it is important to ensure that both the motorcycle and sidecar meet the requirements set out by the province’s licensing agency, ICBC. This includes obtaining a special class of driver’s license that allows you to operate a motorcycle with a sidecar.

Item Description
Braking System The sidecar must have its own braking system that is operated independently of the motorcycle’s brakes.
Lighting and Signals Sidecars must have their own signals and lighting (that is in addition to those on the motorcycle) to ensure visibility on the road.
Helmets The driver and passenger of the sidecar must wear helmets at all times while on the road.

Ultimately, the decision to add a sidecar to your motorcycle comes down to personal preference and your individual riding style. While there are certainly some drawbacks to riding with a sidecar, the benefits can outweigh the cons for many riders.

History of Motorcycle Sidecars

The history of motorcycle sidecars can be traced back to the early 1900s when motorcycles were primarily used for transportation rather than recreation. Adding a sidecar to a motorcycle allowed for additional passengers or cargo transport. In addition, sidecars were also used by military forces during World War I and II for transportation and even as weapons platforms.

Sidecars evolved over time and became more streamlined and functional. In the 1930s and 1940s, sidecars were frequently used for racing and even had their own class in competitions. The popularity of sidecar racing waned in the 1950s, but sidecars continued to be used for transportation and recreation.

Today, sidecars remain a popular option for motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy the unique experience of riding with a passenger or carrying cargo in a sidecar. However, there are certain legal requirements that motorcycle riders must follow if they wish to use a sidecar on the road.

Legal Requirements for Motorcycle Sidecars in BC

  • Sidecars must be securely attached to the motorcycle.
  • The combined width of the motorcycle and sidecar must be less than 2.5 meters.
  • The motorcycle must be equipped with rearview mirrors on both sides.
  • The motorcycle must have an unobstructed view to the rear.
  • The motorcycle must be designed to carry a sidecar by the manufacturer or be structurally modified to accommodate a sidecar.

Advantages of Motorcycle Sidecars

There are several advantages to using a sidecar on a motorcycle. One of the main benefits is the added stability that a sidecar provides, especially when carrying a passenger or cargo. Sidecars also offer additional storage space, making them a practical option for longer trips or for carrying groceries or other items.

In addition, riding in a sidecar can be a unique and enjoyable experience that allows for more social interaction with passengers. Sidecars can also be a good option for those who are unable to ride a motorcycle on their own due to physical limitations.

Mainstream Popularity of Motorcycle Sidecars

The popularity of motorcycle sidecars has increased in recent years, with more options available for purchase and more riders choosing to use them for transportation or recreation. There are even sidecar-specific events and rallies held around the world, allowing enthusiasts to connect and share their love for this unique form of riding.

Year Number of Registered Motorcycles with Sidecars in BC
2010 2,116
2013 2,314
2016 2,502
2019 2,764

According to data from ICBC, the number of registered motorcycles with sidecars in BC has steadily increased over the past decade, indicating that more riders are choosing this unique form of transportation.

Maintenance of Motorcycle Sidecars

As a motorcycle sidecar owner, it’s important to properly maintain your sidecar to ensure its longevity and safety. Here are some tips on proper maintenance:

  • Regularly check the bolts, brackets, and connections to ensure they are tight and secure. Loose connections can cause instability and compromise safety.
  • Inspect the frame and body for any cracks or damages. If any are found, they should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage.
  • Make sure the tires are properly inflated and have enough tread. Over time, tires can lose air pressure and tread, which can cause handling issues and reduce traction.

Additionally, it’s important to properly store your sidecar during the off-season. Here are some tips:

  • Clean it thoroughly before storing it to prevent any corrosion or damage on the frame and body.
  • Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place to prevent it from losing its charge.
  • Cover the sidecar with a breathable material to prevent any dust or debris from accumulating on it.

Proper maintenance of your sidecar not only ensures its longevity but also promotes safety on the road.

Maintenance Task Frequency
Check bolts, brackets, and connections Weekly
Inspect frame and body for damages Monthly
Check tire pressure and tread Before each ride

By following these maintenance tips and scheduling tasks regularly, you can ensure the safe and enjoyable use of your motorcycle sidecar in British Columbia.

Accessories and modifications for motorcycle sidecars

7. What are some common accessories for motorcycle sidecars?

Motorcycle sidecars are not just a mode of transportation, but a lifestyle for many riders. As such, there are a variety of accessories available for those who want to customize their sidecar experience. Here are some of the most common accessories:

  • Windshields: Windshields can make a big difference in the comfort of a ride, especially in colder or rainier weather. They come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit different models of sidecars.
  • Luggage racks: If you plan on taking long trips with your sidecar, a luggage rack can be a very useful accessory. They come in different sizes and can be mounted to the sidecar itself or the motorcycle.
  • Trunk boxes: Similar to luggage racks, trunk boxes can give you extra storage space on your ride. They come in different sizes and models, ranging from basic plastic to more advanced models with locks and lights.
  • Heated handgrips: Riding in colder weather is more enjoyable when you have heated handgrips. Some sidecar models have this feature built-in, while others require additional installation.
  • Seat pads: Sidecar seats can be uncomfortable for some riders, so a seat pad can be a great addition for longer rides. They come in different sizes and styles and can be installed on the motorcycle or sidecar seat.
  • LED lighting: Adding LED lights to your sidecar can make it more visible and add a unique flair to your ride. There are different colors and styles available, and some models come with different patterns and effects.

It’s important to note that adding accessories to your sidecar can affect its stability and performance. Always consult a professional and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before making any modifications.

8. What modifications can be made to motorcycle sidecars?

While adding accessories can enhance the comfort and style of your ride, modifications to the sidecar itself can greatly impact its performance and safety. Here are a few common modifications:

Modification Description
Wheelchair accessible sidecars Some sidecars are designed with wider openings and ramps to allow for easy wheelchair access. These sidecars often require modifications to the motorcycle’s suspension and braking systems.
Sidecar brake system Adding a brake system to the sidecar can greatly improve its handling and safety. This modification can be a complex process and should only be done by a professional.
Suspension system upgrades Upgrading the suspension system can improve the handling and stability of your sidecar. Common upgrades include replacing the shocks, adding sway bars, and adjusting the ride height.

As with all modifications, it’s important to consult a professional and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Modifying your sidecar without proper knowledge and expertise can be dangerous and lead to accidents.

Are Motorcycle Sidecars Legal in BC?

Here are 7 frequently asked questions regarding the legality of motorcycle sidecars in British Columbia:

1. What is a motorcycle sidecar?
A motorcycle sidecar is a one-wheeled attachment that is affixed to the side of a motorcycle. It is designed to carry a passenger or cargo.

2. Are motorcycle sidecars legal in British Columbia?
Yes, motorcycle sidecars are legal in British Columbia. However, there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed.

3. What are the rules regarding motorcycle sidecars in BC?
The motorcycle sidecar must be properly attached to the motorcycle and must not exceed the weight limit. The passenger must also wear a helmet.

4. Can I carry a passenger in the sidecar?
Yes, you can carry a passenger in the sidecar as long as they are wearing a helmet and the sidecar is properly attached to the motorcycle.

5. Do I need a special license to drive a motorcycle with a sidecar?
No, you do not need a special license to drive a motorcycle with a sidecar. However, you must have a valid Class 6 motorcycle license.

6. Can I use a motorcycle sidecar for commercial purposes?
Yes, you can use a motorcycle sidecar for commercial purposes as long as it meets all the required standards and regulations.

7. Can I modify my motorcycle sidecar?
Yes, you can modify your motorcycle sidecar, but it must meet all the required standards and regulations.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article on the legality of motorcycle sidecars in British Columbia. We hope this information has been helpful. Please visit us again for more informative articles. Ride safe!