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How To Get A Motorcycle License

How To Get A Motorcycle License

Even if you are completely new to the world of motorcycling, earning your motorcycle license is not too difficult.

As long as you follow basic preparations, obtain your protective gear, and have a willingness to learn, you can become a rider in practically no time.

The guide below can help you determine where to start and what the required steps are for getting your motorcycle license.

It is worth noting that laws regarding obtaining a motorcycle license can vary from start to state. What has been outlined here is a general overview of what you can expect as you venture through the process to be became a motorcycle driver.

For your state’s specific requirements, consult your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

Determine your Motorcycle Experience Level

Before getting into how to get your motorcycle license, it is important that you determine your experience level as a motorcycle driver. If you’re a beginner driver or not when it comes to riding can impact where you begin with the process.

For example, if you have never sat on a motorcycle before, you do not want to immediately get your permit and sign up for the license test.

Here are the typical starting points for getting your motorcycle license:

New to Riding a Motorbike

There’s no need to sweat if you’re brand new to the motorcycle game. States offer rider education classes you can take before the DMV test.

These classes would be very beneficial for you to look into. They start with the basics and, over time, add new skills and other information as you become a more experienced driver.

It is generally assumed that if you can ride a bicycle, you can easily begin taking motorcycle education classes.

Prior Experience on Motorcycles

If you have (legally) practiced your riding skills, you are more than welcome to schedule your skills test. But you should be incredibly confident in your skills on a motorcycle before jumping ahead in the process.

While you can always take the test again after failing, it can be discouraging, so make sure you’re absolutely certain you possess the skills at that moment to pass the exam.

Keep in mind that you will most likely be required to take a written test prior to the skills test.

Motorcycle License vs. Motorcycle Permit

The process to get your motorcycle licenses will typically begin with obtaining your learner’s permit -but what does this exactly mean for you? It is necessary that you understand the differences between obtaining a valid motorcycle permit and obtaining your license. Each is outlined below.

What is a Motorcycle Permit?

A motorcycle permit is a limited form of endorsement from your state’s DMV or MVD. You may have most likely already encountered permits when you started working towards getting your driver’s license. There is little difference between a motorcycle permit and a driver’s permit.

You will study your state’s motorcycle laws, complete a short written test, and, when you pass, receive the privilege of legally riding a motorcycle on the street with some limitations.

The full scale of limitations varies from one state to another, but, in general, you can be forbidden from carrying passengers, riding at night, and riding on freeways.

Motorcycle permits also come with expiration dates, so be mindful of that. You don’t want your permit to expire right before you take your license test.

What is a Motorcycle License?

Obtaining a motorcycle license means full riding privileges for the driver. Licenses are legally required in order to be able to hit the road on your motorcycle.

There are a couple of ways you can go about getting your license. They both will be explored in greater detail in the next section but, to put it briefly, getting your license means you have passed a written test, got real-world riding practice, and completed the skills test. Where you start with the process is based on how confident you feel as a driver.

Getting your motorcycle license means you have proven to your state’s DMV, or MVD that you are to be trusted as a motorcycle driver on the road and possess the fundamental skills to operate a motorcycle safely and successfully.

Limitations seen with motorcycle riding permits do not follow you with your license.

How to Get a Motorcycle License?

Once you’ve successfully gotten your motorcycle learner’s permit and maybe have some experience on the road riding, it is time to go for your motorcycle license.

There are actually two paths you can take, either through your state’s DMV, or MVD, or through a motorcycle approved safety course. More on what these options entail is explored below.

DMV Motorcycle Skills Test

If you feel ready, schedule your skills test with your local DMV, or MVD.

The test will consist of you being asked to ride on a course while an evaluator looks on. They are making sure you are able to handle a motorcycle safely, so make sure you are confident in your riding skills.

If you feel you need extra practice prior to exam day, it may be helpful to find a private skill training course you can use to prepare and get more road tests.

In order to pass the state exam, you’ll need an approved motorcycle with the current registration and active motorcycle insurance. It may also need to be inspected. This route can be a tricky one if you do not currently own a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Course

The second option for getting your motorcycle license is to attend a motorcycle safety course. Successfully completing this course will waive the license test requirement.

This is especially helpful for riders who do not own a motorcycle and would like to get their license first. The courses provide participants with learner-friendly bikes in order to complete it. The first few sessions are spent in a classroom and then transitions into hands-on instruction. Coaches guide students and answer any questions they may have. Coaches are also helpful as they assess your technique.

If this sounds perfect for you, make sure you do not wait too long to sign up. These courses are very popular, especially during nice weather months. They also may cost a couple of hundred dollars to register.

How Much Do Motorcycle Licenses Cost?

It is hard to give an exact number for how much obtaining a motorcycle license will cost you. It varies from state to state.

On average, you can expect to pay around $200-$300 for your license. However, you may encounter smaller fees when getting a valid motorcycle permit and taking the tests. It may also cost you to add a motorcycle endorsement to your existing license.

If you decide to take the motorcycle safety course route to get your license, those come with their own fees, which can range from free to costing you a few hundred dollars.

Overall, the price to get your motorcycle license, or motorcycle endorsement depends a lot on the route you take.

Keep this in mind as you go to get your license, but do not let it be the determining factor in where you start. You do not want to cut corners when it comes to learning to ride a motorcycle.

How Do You Move From a Motorcycle Permit to a Motorcycle License?

After getting your valid motorcycle permit, you may be stuck wondering how to move on to getting your license. Don’t worry; this is reportedly a common concern many bike riders have.

Moving on from a permit can be overwhelming. The best place to start is to familiarize yourself with motorcycles and the basics of riding one.

From there, it depends on what route you want to take to get your license:

If you are going into a motorcycle safety course:

focus on getting the required safety gear and signing up for an available course. You will be eased into riding a motorcycle later on.

If you wish to complete the DMV’s motorcycle skills test:

you need to get a lot of riding practice. Work on your skills and build the confidence you need to pass the exam.

Every rider with a permit should be concerned about obtaining safety equipment as well. Make sure you have a helmet, eye protection, closed-toed shoes, gloves, and clothes that cover your arms and legs completely.

Tips And Tricks For Getting Your Motorcycle License

Getting a license of any kind is no easy feat. It takes a lot of hard work and concentration in order to understand both your vehicle and all the rules of the road.

For these reasons, it may be helpful to go over form tips and tricks for getting your motorcycle license. By considering the advice below, the road to getting your license may be a whole lot smoother.

Study The Motorcycle Handbook

When it comes to getting a valid motorcycle permit, it is all about passing the written test. There is no expectation for you to present any motorcycle riding skills. This is why permits are commonly known as learner’s permits.

To pass your written test, it is crucial you obtain a copy of your state’s motorcycle handbook. You will need to read it front to back multiple times. You have to know every inch of that book as the questions on your test will pull right from the information within it.

If it has a practice quiz in there, it would be in your best interest to take the quiz and understand the questions. There may be some practice quizzes online you can take to strengthen your knowledge further.

Consult Other Motorcycle Riders Before The Test

If you know any other motorcycle riders, there’s a great chance they have already gone through the licensing process. Before you take the skills test at your DMV, or MVD, it may be beneficial for you to consult with another rider about what to expect. With their advice, you have a chance to practice, so you are not caught off-guard.

But be mindful of how other riders are advising you with the testing process. If they are experienced riders with years under their belt, they may be comfortable on their bikes and cutting corners for certain maneuvers. Where this can run into trouble is that what they do may not align with the state-approved standards. Stay open to new riding habits if you have gotten used to riding a motorcycle a certain way.

Get Off-Road Motorbike Practice License-Free

You may not know this, but dirt bikes are great tools for learning to ride.

For many people, dirt bikes are actually their first introduction to riding. You don’t need a license to operate a dirt bike as they are off-road vehicles. You can learn a lot by hitting a trail with a dirt bike. It helps you get used to the idea of operating a vehicle that is not a car and requires similar balancing skills a motorcycle needs.

When you’re confident enough to move up to a motorcycle, there are local motorcycle tracks that may allow you to ride without a valid motorcycle permit or license. Although, you should have at least some proficiency in operating a motorcycle before going.

Contact the track’s organizers to make sure you are eligible to ride there.

You Got Your Motorcycle License: What’s Next?

If you haven’t already, the next step would be purchasing your own motorcycle so you can get on the road.

Once you’re ready to start riding, don’t forget to insure your bike. Not only is proper insurance required for those completing their test through their state’s DMV, or MVD, but it is required for every vehicle on the road. Lacking motorcycle insurance can be financially detrimental to you if you end up in a collision.

Purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy will help keep you properly protected while out on the open road. But it is important you do not wait until after you get your bike to worry about insurance.

You should inform your auto insurance provider the moment you start riding. Read more on our Guide to Types of Motorcycles.

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