In Italy you can get a car driving license at the age of 18 only. Until a decade ago, if you had a car driving license (patente B) you were entitled to drive motorbikes, too.
Of course, my bad lucky being always on, a couple of years before I was 18 the law changed and to drive big motorbikes (above 125 cubic centimeters of power) you had to get a motorbike driving license.
The only good point of this all, was that you just had to give the practical test if you already gave the theory part. But rumors had it that this was going to change, too, and that in a short while you were supposed to give a theory test specific for motorbikes - which, of course, you were going to pay.
So for years I went by like "I want to get a motorbike driving license before it gets too costly" but I had nobody who could lend me a motorbike. And motorbike rent services are not so common here, unless you live in one of the biggest cities of Italy which, of course, I don't.
This year I was taking the final decision to take this driving license because a collague of mine offered to lend his motorbike. But the hurdles were yet to come.
First of all, the practical test consist of a two parts: in the first one you have to go along a fixed route, namely a 8-shaped route, a narrow path and a fast slow-down (during which you have to change gears, in case you are using a motorbike with gears). In the second part you are guided by the inspector along a route in the city.
If you take the exam with a motorbike that has automatic transmission, then your license will be limited to automatic motorbikes. For this reason I want to get a full un-limited driving license, since I want to take (and pay) this exam once in my life - dreamin' of a coast to coast in the US. ;)
Taking the exam privately costs about 98 euros, against 180 euros (or above) with a driving school. Since I am greedy I went for the 98 euros option, then realized that the 8-shaped route is *really* hard with the mtorobike I was thinking to use.
Well, the problems are:
1) 95% of the people I know who own a motobike have an automatic model
2) the remaining 5% have a motorbikes that is too big to be able to go through the 8-shaped route, because they are too heavy and don't steer enough.
Now I have paid all that I had to pay, the 98 euros, and am motobike-less.
I asked to all the driving schools of the area if they rent bikes, and they replied that if I wanted to use their motorbike I was going to pay the full price with them and re-open the file with the driving inspectorate as a driving school candidate.
The nearest rent-a-motorbike service charges 127 euros per day for a motorbike (and 40 euros a day for a car!!!!). So renting a motorbike is more expensive than going to a driving school.
This is absurd!
It is not only me who has this problem: a lot of people want to buy a motorbike which is too big to be used to take the driving license practical test. If I were richer enough I would open such a service, for a lot less than 100 euros a day.
This is collusion. This is Italy.