How To Get A Motorcycle License? (The Ultimate Guide)

How To Get A Motorcycle License (The Ultimate Guide)

Thinking about getting a motorcycle license? Don’t worry, this article has got you covered. A license is absolutely necessary for riding a motorcycle. Riding a bike without a license is both illegal and dangerous.

The licensing process actually depends on the state you are living in. For instance, obtaining a license in New York will be a little bit different than obtaining a license in California.

In this article, I will share everything step by step on how to get a motorcycle license. Please read this article to the end if you wish to know more about how to apply for a license.

Take A Motorcycle Safety Course

A motorcycle safety course allows you to get more familiar with the bike. You will be taught about different parts of the bike as well as what to do during different emergency situations. A safety class will come in handy later when you apply for the license.

Let’s say you don’t know how to ride a motorcycle. A motorcycle safety course will teach you how to ride a bike. Moreover, you will also be given instructions and guidance on how to properly operate a motorbike.

The bottom line is, the safety course will fully prepare you for the DMV road test. Now you may ask yourself how long the course will take to complete. Well, it completely depends on you. If you have past bike riding experience, you can finish the course within just 8-9 hours.

On the other hand, if you don’t have previous experience and starting as a novice rider, you may need 2-3 days for full course completion.

4 Steps To Follow For Obtaining A Motorcycle License:

Although obtaining a motorcycle license in the US is much easier than obtaining one in other countries, you still need to go through quite a long process. Most states in the US legally require you to be at least 16 years of age for going through the licensing process.

A detailed guide on how to proceed with the licensing process is given below:

Read More: Can you register a motorcycle without a frame number?

Step 1: Get An Idea About The Requirements:

Hop on to your computer and search online for the minimum requirements needed in order to obtain a motorcycle license.

Keep an eye out for the information stated below

1. How Old You Need To be:

As said before, it is crucial to know what your minimum age should be, before applying for a motorcycle license and permit. Some states in the US may require you to be up to 17 years of age.

2. What Trainings You Need To Have:

Most of the states in the US make it mandatory to have motorcycle safety training before you apply for a permit and a license. Find out if your state requires you to do so. It is a great idea to take a motorcycle safety course anyways because of your own good.

3. Whether It Is Necessary To Have Learner’s Permit:

A learner’s permit is just like a temporary driving license. Some states may also call it a probationary license.

Many states in the US may need you to have a motorcycle driving permit before getting a full-fledged driving license. Look out for the requirements that your state might have.

4. What Tests You Need To Take For Obtaining A License:

Keep a clear idea about what tests you need to perform for obtaining a motorcycle license. Having a clear idea about the test will help you to be a better perform for them.

Generally, in order to apply for a license in the US, you need to sit for a written test, and then need to show your competence on a road test. Some states may also take a vision test.

Step 2: Apply For The Learners Permit:

In order to apply for a learner’s permit, you have to head to your local DMV office. 

Here, make sure you have gone through these processes:

  • Bring the permit application,
  • Proof of age, 
  • An ID card, 
  • And payment fees. 

Learner’s permit fees may vary from state to state.

Now that you have successfully submitted the application, it is time to take a written test. The written test is mainly comprised of road regulations and bike safety-related multiple choice questions. For instance, you can expect to have questions like, how to merge lanes on a highway or what are different road signs, etc.

Depending on the states, you need to answer anywhere between 20 to 80 questions. You must get 70% of the answers right in order to pass the test. If you fail the test, don’t worry you can easily take it again on a later date. Just keep in mind, you need to pay for the test again if you fail.

You might also be require to partake in a vision test. The test is typically easy and rudimentary. The main aim of this test is to find out whether you need to wear glasses or contact lenses while riding a motorbike. If you do, they will mention it on your motorcycle license.

Step 3: Practice Before The License Test:

Now that you have the learner’s permit, you can legally ride your motorcycle. In the US, you have to wait for a certain period of time before you can take the driving license test. The waiting period may vary from 20 days to 6 months. Use this time to practice for the test.

You need to abide by certain restrictions while riding on a learner’s permit though. The restrictions are:

  1. You can only ride your motorbike during day time. That means you are legally allowed to drive from 6 AM to 6 PM.
  2. You cannot carry a passenger while riding on a learner’s permit. Even though you might get tempted to do so, please don’t.
  3. Usually, on a full-fledged motorcycle driving license,  you are legally allowed to ride after consuming a certain amount of alcohol. But when you are riding on a learner’s permit, it is illegal to drink any amount of alcohol before riding.

Take this time to familiarize yourself with the motorcycle. Try out different motorcycle types. See what suits you the best.

Step 4: Select Your Approach:

At this stage, you can choose any of the two approach methods for getting your motorcycle license.

Approach 1: Take A Private Motorcycle Training Course And Get Your Certificate :

You can take a private training course at a government-approved training institute and skip the road test altogether. A road test is mandatory for individuals who wish to take the second approach.

Many license applicants choose this approach over the bureau approach mainly for saving time. This approach is a lot easier as well. As you are in the hands of a private institution, you will get very helpful instructions and directions from them.

It usually takes 2-3 days to properly complete the course. After you have successfully completed the course, the training institute will hand you a passing certificate.

The passing certificate is very important. It will allow you to directly apply for a driving license without partaking in the mandatory bureau road test.

Simply, contact the DMV office and bring the certificate, your ID, payment, and forms in order to initiate the application process. Typically you would need to pay anywhere from $250 to $300 for the license.

Approach 2: Take Your Test At The Bureau: 

Although they have the option to select the first approach, many people still go for this traditional approach in order to get their motorcycle license.

In this approach, you need to take your road test with the bureau. So, go to the bureau, fill in the license application, pay the application fee and prepare for the road test.

Some states in the US won’t allow you to take the road test on the same day you applied for your motorcycle license. If that’s the case, do some more practice with your bike and prepare for the exam.

But if you are allowed to take the test on the same day, it is highly recommended that you do so. You can use any type of motorcycle you want for the road test. As long as it has two wheels and is street legal, there should be no complications.

The first part of the test is fairly simple. The instructor will place some cones in the area. You have to maneuver your bike through the cone, careful not to hit one. The instructor will evaluate your ability to steer, start, and control your motorbike with this test.

The second part gets a bit complicated. Now, the instructor will give you instructions on how to drive the motorcycle. Then, you have to drive on a public road following the instructor’s instructions. He will follow you in a separate car and evaluate your performance.

The test is now over. The instructor will announce your results there and then. If you pass the test, you will get a temporary license and be legally allowed to drive without any restrictions. The permanent license will be mailed to your address within a few weeks.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail. You can always take the test again. But be cautious, there might be a limit on how many times you can take the test.


Getting a motorcycle license is fairly easy. You just have to bear some patience and keep practicing until you are eligible to apply for it.

Don’t forget to always carry your license with you at all times. Wear proper crash-certified protective gears while riding.

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