Things to Remember: Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in the US

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Regardless if you ride a scooter, motorcycle or a moped, you will most definitely need to have a license. Typically, applicants must be of legal age to apply for a license.

It’s crucial to adhere to licensing requirements so you can avoid fines and jail time. To qualify for the motorcycle permit test, we suggest preparing the required credentials.

What are the licensing requirements?

Take note that the process tends to differ depending on which state you choose to file for the license.

Here are some key reminders:

Most states require minor drivers to apply for a motorcycle permit before filing for a license. As stated by the law, anyone under the age of 15 or 16 can apply for the permit. In order to get a permit, you need to complete an education course, then pass a motorcycle examination and vision test.

If you already qualify for a permit, you can file for a motorcycle license. The steps you need to take is quite similar to the motorcycle permit application.

The only difference is that you may need to take a safety course and pass the road test plus knowledge exam. You can get a motorcycle license even if you don’t have a driver’s license.

Remember that you must consider state-specific rules and regulations. You should check local DMV sites to find out what other additional requirements you need to prepare.

Aside from knowing the requirements, it’s also crucial to know everything about motorcycle registration and licensing. Here are some of the common questions asked by motorcycles about licensing and registration.

What if you drive a moped or scooter?

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As discussed earlier, if the engine of your vehicle is too small, you won’t need to apply for a license or permit.

Because scooters and mopeds are small vehicles, many drivers think that they no longer need a permit to drive. If the engine is 50 centimeters or smaller, some states only ask for a learner’s permit or a standard license.

If the engine is larger than 50 centimeters, you may need to apply for a motorcycle endorsement or a license.

What is a motorcycle endorsement?

A motorcycle endorsement serves as a supplemental document that grants you the authority to use a scooter, moped or motorcycle on public roads if you already have a driver’s license on hand.

This means you no longer have to apply for a separate motorcycle license if you already have a driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement.

Do you need a license for a Vespa scooter?

If the engine of your Vespa scooter is over 50 centimeter, yes you do need a motorcycle license. You will need to secure all the licensing requirements we shared above. Other types of motorcycles also require licensing.

Motorcycle license and motorcycle registration – Is there any difference?

While these two terms seem synonymous, they are in fact quite different from each other. Remember, authorities do not require drivers to have a license before registering their motorcycles. However, having a license beforehand can simplify the application process.

Also, most motorcycle insurers require drivers to have a license before availing an insurance policy. If you want to avail coverage for your most prized motorcycle, you should prepare your licensing documents. In case you don’t have a license yet, you can find an insurer that can accommodate your needs.

How long does it takes to process a license?

Normally, a motorcycle license process lasts for a few weeks. The waiting time depends on how long you complete the required courses and pass the driving test. Sometimes, the process also gets delayed in case there are too many applicants on the day you file.

What happens when you drive without a license or registration?

Unless you already have a standard driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement paper, you can’t drive in public roads. Otherwise, you will be heavily fined and even arrested and charged for misdeamenor. You may need to pay at least $1000 and spend 6 months in prison if proven guilty by the court.

Some of the states that impose serious punishment include California, Florida, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia and Hawaii.

What are the costs involved when applying for a license?

It’s difficult to provide a ballpark figure for the motorcycle license fees that you need to settle. The rates vary depending on the state you file for a license application and the driver’s age.

In most cases, you don’t need to pay more than $50 for the test. If you’re under 18, you may need to pay around $16 to apply for a motorcycle license. If you’re over 18, you will pay at least $25. If you only need to apply for a motorcycle endorsement, you only need to pay about $16.

Photo by Taras Chernus from Unsplash

Now that you know everything there is to know about applying for a motorcycle license, registration or endorsement, we hope you secure the requirements and submit your application as soon as possible to avoid fines and spending time in prison.