Have you always dreamed about jumping on a motorcycle and enjoying the freedom that comes along with barreling down the highway on one?
You’re not alone. There are more than 8 million registered motorcycles throughout the U.S. right now with millions of motorcycle riders to go along with them. You could be riding alongside them soon and living out your dream to the fullest.
But before you can begin riding a motorcycle, it’s important for you to get a motorcycle license. All 50 U.S. states require people to have a Class M license before they start riding a bike regularly.
The rules for getting a motorcycle license vary from state to state. In general, there are some basic steps you’ll need to follow to get your license so that you can start using your bike.
Here is a complete 10-step guide to getting a motorcycle license.
Step 1: Figure Out If Riding a Motorcycle Is Right for You
There is some risk associated with riding a motorcycle. There are about 5,000 people killed in motorcycle-related crashes every year.
If you’ve long thought about riding a motorcycle, you’re probably well aware of the risk. Before you get too far down the line as far as obtaining a motorcycle license, it’s not a bad idea to think long and hard about if riding a bike is right for you.
Step 2: Consider the Costs Associated With Owning a Motorcycle
In addition to considering the risks associated with riding a motorcycle, you should also take into account the costs of owning one.
You’ll have to buy a motorcycle when you first start riding. You’ll also need a bunch of equipment to go along with it, like a helmet, boots, and more. Of course, you’ll need to get insurance for your motorcycle and register it.
Make sure you can cover these costs before going for your motorcycle license.
Step 3: Enroll in a Basic Motorcycle Training Course
At this point, you’ve decided that riding a motorcycle is what you want to do. You’re dead set on getting your license and joining the millions of other bikers out on the road.
Congratulations! Before you can do it, enroll yourself in a basic motorcycle training course. In some cases, state law requires this course.
In a motorcycle training course, you will learn:
- What you need to wear when you’re riding your motorcycle
- The different components of a motorcycle
- Different strategies you can use to keep yourself safe on your motorcycle
- The things you’ll need to do when passing someone on a motorcycle or changing lanes
- Other special maneuvers, like swerving to avoid collisions
In total, you’ll spend about 15 hours learning almost everything there is to know about motorcycles. It’ll serve as a prerequisite to you getting your hands on your motorcycle permit.
Step 4: Obtain a Motorcycle Permit
After you’ve completed your basic motorcycle training course, it’ll be time to get your motorcycle permit as long as you’re 15 or 16 years or older.
Depending on which state you live in, you may have to pass a written motorcycle exam or pass a vision test. As long as you’ve taken a proper basic training course, you shouldn’t have any problem walking away with your motorcycle permit.
Step 5: Purchase Your First Motorcycle
If you haven’t done it already, now would be a good time to buy your first motorcycle. Since you have your permit, you can begin practicing on it and getting the experience you need.
Read more now about what to look for in your first bike.
Step 6: Practice Riding Your Motorcycle as Often as You Can
Once you’ve got your motorcycle permit and your motorcycle, you can start riding around on your bike and practicing.
Each state has their own rules and regulations regarding motorcycle permits. Generally speaking, most new riders aren’t allowed to ride at night, ride on highways, or ride with passengers on the back of their bikes. A fellow motorcyclist who has a motorcycle license has to accompany them.
Check the rules and regulations in your state to make sure your motorcycle experience doesn’t get off to a bad start.
Step 7: Log a Certain Number of Hours on Your Motorcycle
Again, the rules regarding motorcycle permits are different from state to state.
Most states require those with a motorcycle permit to log a certain number of supervised hours on their bikes. In Pennsylvania, for example, new riders need to log 65 hours of supervised riding before taking a road test to get their license.
If your state has a similar rule in place, it’s best to start logging hours as soon as possible. Most permits only last a year, and there is a limit to how many times you can reapply for a permit in most cases.
Step 8: Pass Your Motorcycle Road Test
After having your permit for a certain amount of time and logging hours on your motorcycle with supervision, most states will let you take a motorcycle road test.
During this road test, you’ll get to show off what you can do on your bike and prove that you’re ready to ride alone without supervision.
Step 9: Obtain Your Motorcycle License
As long as you pass your motorcycle road test, there won’t be any more obstacles standing between you and your motorcycle license.
Pay a small fee and have your driver’s license endorsed so that you can ride your motorcycle legally from now on.
Step 10: Hit the Highway on Your Motorcycle
You’ve been dreaming about this moment for months, if not years. It’s finally time to jump on your motorcycle and take your first unsupervised trip.
Be careful and have a great time. You’ve earned it.
Are You Ready to Get a Motorcycle License?
As you can see, obtaining a motorcycle license isn’t exactly a simple process.
The goal is to make sure you’re 100 percent ready to ride before you hit the highway on your own. By following the steps listed here, you’ll ensure that you know how to handle yourself on a bike.
Read our blog for more information on buying motorcycles and riding them.