Motorcycle enthusiasts are just as crazy about their bikes and choppers as classic car lovers are about their rides. Beginners to motorcycles should start preparing to get a license. While all U.S. states require a license to operate many motorcycles and have differing requirements, these motorcycle license requirements are fairly standard from state to state. Unlike helmet laws, for example, motorcycle license procedures are somewhat uniform across the states. Aspiring riders excited to get their own motorcycle should familiarize themselves with these requirements and get ready to obtain a motorcycle license in their home state.
Motorcycle Training Course
When it comes to a standard car license, high schools generally provide a drivers education course to students. However, motorcycle training is similar to CDL training for trucks and buses. The trainee will generally have to find motorcycle classes in his or her area to meet this motorcycle license requirement.
In fact, many states require license applicants to complete a specific training course just to get a permit (much less a license). For example, Texas requires riders to attend an official motorcycle training course by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (see Sources). This foundation has set up the Rider Education and Training System and conducts training courses through members throughout the entire United States and many other countries around the world.
Although there may be other motorcycle classes or schools in your state, you need to first check with the state DMV or other licensing agency to get a list of state-approved motorcycle courses. While many states may have the same license requirements for training as Texas, some states may also approve other motorcycle driving schools. Just make sure you attend an approved course to get your motorcycle permit or license.
You can visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at online2.msf-usa.org/msf/Default.aspx. From the main page, click on your state on the map to see a list of places and phone numbers for motorcycle driver training in your state.
Note that you may often be able to get a motorcycle permit after completing a course. When you have a state permit, you can use it for training on actual motorcycles before fully qualifying for a license. If you have a motorcycle permit, then you must be within the eyesight of a licensed motorcycle driver who can observe and supervise you.
Written Motorcycle Test
As with other driver licenses, you will need to show that you have the knowledge of state motorcycle driving and safety rules to get a license. The best way to prepare for this motorcycle license test is to get your state’s motorcycle handbook or manual. Each state published its own motorcycle license handbook that contains the knowledge necessary to pass the written test.
Use your state’s handbook to prepare for the test. You can usually find a handbook online by visiting the official DMV website. Remember that some states do not use the terms “Department of Motor Vehicles” or “DMV.” Some states use the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) or another term to describe the state driver licensing agency. Washington even uses the term Department of Licensing (DOL).
Motorcycle Driving Test
The last major motorcycle license requirement is usually the driving test. Some states will waive this requirement if you have successfully completed your motorcycle training course (at least for some individuals like out-of-state license holders). Your course should prepare you for this test. Of course, many people learn how to ride a motorcycle from a friend or family member.
If you have to take a driving test to get your motorcycle license, you may have to borrow a bike from a friend or family member. Make sure the registration and any state insurance or inspection requirements are up to date before using a motorcycle on the driving test.
Texas Motorcycle License Requirements