North Carolina has several oceanside and country areas for excellent motorcycle riding. To help keep the streets safe from potentially dangerous riders, the state requires a license to operate most motorcycles. A North Carolina motorcycle license requires a rider to get a regular driver’s license and then take a two-part North Carolina motorcycle test. The first part of the test is a written test. Once an applicant passes this written motorcycle exam, then he or she can get a North Carolina motorcycle permit (learner’s permit). After an applicant gets a permit and practices on a real motorcycle with a licensed supervisor, the applicant takes a road test with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He or she then receives a full NC motorcycle license upon completion of that hands-on motorcycle driving test.
Since only a written test is required to get a learner’s permit, a future North Carolina motorcyclist should study state traffic laws and motorcycle laws first. Of course, the North Carolina motorcycle manual and regular driver’s manual will also help you to prepare to some degree for the hands-on road test. It’s just that you will need to get some hands-on practice before showing up to take your North Carolina motorcycle driving test.
Download the NC motorcycle manual at ncdot.org/dmv/driver_services/motorcyclists/motorcyclehandbook/download/MotoHandbook.pdf. This manual deals with the specific knowledge relevant to motorcycles (the motorcycle knowledge test).
However, you also need to study the regular driver’s license manual to make sure you are up to date on the traffic signs. The North Carolina traffic signs test is a separate written test required of all North Carolina motorcycle license applicants. Download the driver’s manual (“North Carolina Driver’s Handbook”) at ncdot.org/dmv/driver_services/drivershandbook/download/NCDL_English.pdf.
Study the manuals so you can get your NC motorcycle permit. Once you are ready, head to a North Carolina DMV driver licensing office to take your written tests.
Note: Understand that you need to have a regular driver’s license to get a motorcycle learner’s permit or endorsement in this state (an endorsement is a special designation on your regular North Carolina driver’s license).
You can find NC DMV office locations statewide by looking at ncdot.org/dmv/office_locations/?officeType=5&pickCounty=402&count=1. The normal office hours run from 8 to 5. If you pass your tests, then get your North Carolina motorcycle learner’s permit from the DMV office.
Work with a licensed friend or family member to help you learn how to ride a motorcycle. While some people may have learned at an early age, it is important to remember that you are going to actually be tested before you can get your North Carolina motorcycle license. You may wish to get some professional motorcycle training to prepare for your motorcycle road test.
One common source of training is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. This organization has a list of approved North Carolina motorcycle classes at https://training.msf-usa.org/RES/street/enroll/streetintro.aspx. Enter North Carolina as the state to find motorcycle schools in this state.
Once you are ready to for your driving test, then you need to set up a schedule with the North Carolina DMV office that issued your learner’s permit. The basic schedule of NC motorcycle driving tests includes 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. time slots for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Show up with a registered motorcycle to take your road test. Once you pass, the DMV will issue your NC motorcycle license.
North Carolina Motorcycle Handbook (Licensing Manual)