How to get motorcycle license? While every state sets its own rules for getting a motorcycle license, the general process is the same nationwide. Prospective riders take a written exam, practice with a motorcycle and then take a road test.
There are also motorcycle instruction courses, which often include the written test and road test. This is the quickest option for most people, but the courses aren’t cheap. The price ranges from $200 to $500, and they’re usually mandatory for riders under 18.
How to get motorcycle license?
A motorcycle license means full riding privileges. There are two common paths to getting your license. First, you can schedule a skills test through your state’s DMV. You’ll be asked to ride a short course to earn the evaluator’s approval.
They need to see that you can handle a motorcycle safely, so make sure you can command your motorcycle with confidence. You should be able to find private training courses to help you prepare for the state test if you’d like.
Keep in mind that you’ll need a motorcycle with current registration, insurance, and inspection (if applicable) to pass a state test, so this can be a difficult option if you don’t have a motorcycle. Here’s a video of South Carolina’s motorcycle license test.
The other option is getting your license through an approved motorcycle safety course. Successful completion waives the license test requirement.
These courses are especially appealing for those who don’t own motorcycles, as the courses provide learner-friendly bikes for you to use. You’ll spend a couple sessions in the classroom, then head out to the range for hands-on instruction.
Coaches guide students, answer questions, and assess technique. Some insurance companies give discounted rates if you’ve completed a safety course. Plan ahead when signing up, though. These courses can cost a few hundred dollars, and they fill up quickly when the weather’s nice. Sign up for a course though your DMV’s website.
What are the steps to getting a motorcycle license?
To get a motorcycle license, you’ll have to pass a written exam, practice riding a motorcycle and take a road skills test.
Step 1: Pass a written test
Before you can actually get on a bike, most states will require you to pass a written test and receive a motorcycle learner’s permit. The written test includes questions about basic motorcycle terminology, driving techniques and laws.
Depending on where you live, you might have a choice between taking the test online or at a department (or division) of motor vehicles (DMV) office.
Before you take your test, study the resources provided by your state’s DMV. These materials include all the information you need to pass your exam.
Step 2: Get in some real-world practice
Once you have your permit, you’ll need to practice riding a motorcycle. Some states require you to log a certain number of supervised practice hours, particularly if you’re a new rider under 18.
Of course, a motorcycle doesn’t allow for someone to supervise you from the passenger seat. Instead, many states require you to be supervised by another motorcycle user within a certain distance while you are learning to ride. You’ll also usually have limitations on when and how you can ride your motorcycle.
Step 3: Take the road skills test
The final part of getting a motorcycle license is taking a road skills test. A motorcycle examiner can’t supervise you from the passenger seat, so the format will differ from the test for getting a regular driver’s license.
First, the examiner will observe your ability to maneuver your motorcycle on a closed course or in another secluded area. You may need to demonstrate your ability to accelerate, brake and take a safe, controlled turn.
Depending on your state and whether you already have a driver’s license for a car, you may also be required to demonstrate riding skills on the road. If that’s the case, you’ll go out on the street to show you can interact with the other vehicles, receiving periodic instructions from the examiner.
Usually, you’ll need to provide a follow car with a driver for the examiner to ride in during the test if an on-road portion is required.
To get ready for your road test, make sure you carefully consult your state’s list of what you need to bring to the test. If you’re missing any of the required items, you may automatically fail and would need to reschedule.
How do I get a motorcycle permit?
A permit is a limited form of motorcycle endorsement from your state’s DMV. (If you had a permit before getting your basic driver’s license, this is pretty similar.) You’ll study your state’s rules for riding, take a short written test, and if you pass, you can legally ride a motorcycle on the street with some limitations.
Those limitations vary from state to state, although they may restrict your ability to carry passengers, ride at night, or ride on freeways. Minimum age for a permit is usually 15 and a half or 16 years old and younger riders may be required to log a number of hours while under the supervision of licensed riders before getting licenses of their own.
Permits typically have expiration dates, so be smart about when you get it. It’d be a shame for your permit to expire mid-season or right before your license test. Your state should offer a state motorcycle handbook to help you prepare. All the information you need to earn your permit is in that handbook. You can even take practice tests online to make sure you’re ready.
Taking a motorcycle skills class is optional but recommended
Many states recommend or require that you take a motorcycle skills class before getting your motorcycle license. Generally, these two- to four-day courses include a live instructor and may allow you to skip the written motorcycle exam, the road skills test or both. You might also be eligible for a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
Depending on your state and the course, you may spend time in a classroom with video, written and oral instruction. In addition, you’ll get real-world experience on a motorcycle.
For example, California offers a 15-hour course for beginners with both in-classroom and on-motorcycle instruction. After successful completion of the course, you’ll be issued a DL389 certificate, which waives the road test. However, you must still take a written knowledge exam, which you can do before or after taking the course.
Tips, tricks, and suggestions for earning your permit and license
For your permit, get a copy of your state’s motorcycle handbook and read it front to back. Now read it again. Is there a practice quiz in there?
You’ll have it memorized in no time, and they’ll probably ask you the exact same questions at your actual test. Upon passing, you’ll be issued a permit of some kind. Don’t lose it! You’ll need to keep it on your person every time you ride, and you’ll probably need to bring it to your safety course or license test.
As for license tests through your DMV, it really is best to ask other local riders for what to expect. Most tests favor smaller motorcycles. Show up on a bike you know well, or at least one you can handle well.
You can expect a lot more coaching and note-taking from the safety course route. These programs are designed to teach every part of basic motorcycle operation, including shifting, braking, turning, and accelerating.
If you already have motorcycling experience, and you’re just taking the course to get street-legal, stay open to changing your riding habits for the duration of the class, even if you don’t agree with the instructor’s reasoning.
They can’t bend the state-approved standards for you. Like it or not, you’re on their turf, and you need their signature to pass. It doesn’t matter how many years or miles you’ve got under your belt.
What do I do after I get my motorcycle license?
Start shopping bikes if you don’t already own one, borrow a friend’s, or never touch a motorcycle again; it’s your call. Assuming that you’ll continue riding, check out RevZilla’s beginner rider page.
It covers everything from how to choose a motorcycle, to which gear you’ll need, to basic maintenance and mechanical knowledge. Your riding experience is now your own responsibility, and that’s a good thing! Keep learning, practicing, and riding. Motorcycling will continue to reward you.
How much does a motorcycle license cost?
The answer varies from state to state. There can be smaller fees for your permit and license testing, and it may cost a few bucks on top of that to add a motorcycle endorsement to your existing license card. Safety courses range from free to a few hundred dollars.
How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in Florida?
If you need to take the required course, you should expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 7 days completing the required 15 hours of coursework. You can obtain your license on the day you complete the course.
What happens if you drive a motorcycle without a license in Florida?
Florida Statute §322.03(4) criminalizes the operation of a motorcycle without a specific motorcycle endorsement on a person’s Florida driver’s license. A charge of No Motorcycle Endorsement is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
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