How old do you have to get a motorcycle license? Motorcycles share the road with cars and are subject to most of the same rules. However, there are differences in the licensing process, and sometimes these differences extend to age limits.
So, how old do you have to be to ride a motorcycle? It depends. First, we will talk about how old you have to be to earn your license and operate the bike. Then, we will talk about age limits for motorcycle passengers.
How old do you have to get a motorcycle license?
As with ordinary driver’s licenses, motorcycle licenses are issued by individual states, not by the Federal Government. As a result, instead of a single licensing standard, there is a patchwork of fifty sets of rules.
To find out the rules for your particular state, visit your state’s DMV or BMV website. There are also reliable third-party sites like dmv.org, but these can sometimes be outdated since regulations change frequently.
In most states, the minimum age for driving a motorcycle is the same as the minimum age for driving a car. That said, motorcycle licenses usually have a more complex permitting process.
Most states don’t require adults to have a learner’s permit before obtaining a driver’s license. Therefore, if you are 18 years old or older, you can progress from unlicensed to fully licensed once you have passed the road test. However, many states require you to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit before getting your license, regardless of your age.
In addition, the motorcycle road and written test will be separate from the tests for regular drivers. Therefore, if you want to obtain a motorcycle endorsement only, you can usually skip the standard driver’s test. That said, some states require you to pass the standard written test and the motorcycle test.
In most states, you can get your motorcycle license at 16 or 17 years old. That said, there is some variation. A few states require you to be 18 years old to obtain a full license, while a handful will allow a 15-year-old to take the motorcycle road test.
Age requirements for learners’ permits are usually lower. In some states, you can even get your motorcycle learner’s permit at the age of 14.
How old do you have to be to ride on the back of a motorcycle?
Riding on the back of a motorcycle is a bit different. Most states allow passengers of any age, provided they follow appropriate helmet laws. Unfortunately, in many states with lax helmet laws for adults, passengers under 18 years old must wear helmets.
This is not to say there are no rules whatsoever. Nearly every state requires a child to be seated in the appropriate motorcycle seat and that the child should be tall enough to reach the footpegs. That means no infants, no carriers, and no children too small to sit in the seat properly with their feet on the pegs.
As children grow, this inevitably puts them in legal limbo. Depending on the bike and the distance to the footpegs, it may be permitted to ride on some motorcycles. But not on others.
Five states have established hard lower age limits for motorcycle passengers. For example, Arkansas has a minimum age of 8 years old, while Hawaii has a minimum age of 7 years old. States such as Louisiana, Texas, and Washington all have a minimum age of 5 years old.
Perhaps, Texas has the most bizarre age restriction of all. Passengers over the age of 21 are required to carry their own motorcycle injury insurance. So in Texas, passengers under the age of 21 are exempted from these requirements and get preference.
What do you need to get your motorcycle license?
Each state establishes the requirements you need to meet to be issued a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement to a driver’s license. Typically, you must take and pass a written knowledge test to receive a learner’s permit.
Some states require that young riders have their permit for a minimum time before applying for an actual license. For example, California requires you to have the permit for at least six months.
Most states now require completion of a motorcycle safety course as a condition to getting a motorcycle license. Many states waive the road or skills test when you pass the skills test that is part of the course.
Although you now have the answer to the question, “What age can you get a motorcycle license,” there is another age-related matter to touch upon. Many states have laws imposing minimum age restrictions on passengers you invite to ride with you. Before riding with a passenger, particularly with children, check the law in your state to make certain they are old enough.
How long does it take to get a motorcycle license?
The time it takes to get a motorcycle license depends on a number of factors, such as your age and prior riding experience. If you’re a seasoned motorcycle driver who has a permit, you could have a motorcycle license shortly after you pass your road test.
It could take longer for inexperienced drivers to get their motorcycle licenses. Riders who are under 18 are required in most states to carry a learner’s permit before they can get a motorcycle license. Riders may have to carry learner’s permits until they accrue a set number of hours on the road, or for a set number of months, before they can earn a full license or endorsement.
Can you register a motorcycle without a license?
You don’t technically need a motorcycle license to register a motorcycle, but you do need motorcycle insurance. And because most insurance companies require that you have a license in order to get coverage, it’s harder to register your bike without a license.
To make matters more complicated, minors can have a hard time finding insurers that will sell them coverage. For example, 16-year-old motorcycle drivers have fewer options for insurance than 18-year-olds and may need to add their bikes onto a parent’s policy to receive any coverage — license or not.
Though there are insurers that will sell you coverage without a license, they will probably charge you a higher premium. If you’re a younger driver or someone who doesn’t have a motorcycle license, you should compare prices from different providers before purchasing coverage to get the cheapest prices in your area.
In most states, driving a motorcycle without the right license can result in fines and even jail time. For instance, driving a motorcycle in California without a motorcycle license could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
While some states have more lax penalties for unlicensed drivers, ultimately it’s never a good idea to drive any vehicle without the appropriate license. As repeat offenders usually face penalties that accumulate with each offense, avoiding a $50 license fee could eventually result in hundreds of dollars in citations.
Can a 14 year old ride on the back of a motorcycle?
California. The state does not have a minimum age requirement, but it has what amounts to a height requirement for passengers by requiring that a passenger’s feet must touch the footrests while seated on the motorcycle.
Can my 5 year old ride on my motorcycle?
California allows any minors (under 18-years-old) to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, but the child must meet a height restriction in order to legally climb aboard. The child must be at least four feet nine inches.
How hard is it to get a motorcycle license in Florida?
If you want to get a motorcycle-only license, you have to be at least 16 and hold a learner’s permit for at least one full year without traffic convictions. If you are over 18, then the learner’s permit is unnecessary, but you have to pass the standard class E license test and complete the Basic Rider Course.
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