Motorcycle Permits: The Limitations and Requirements

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: October 3, 2023

So you’ve heard the call of the open road, and you’re ready to answer from the back of a bike. Not so fast, my friend. If this in, in fact, your first rodeo, your automobile license isn’t going to do you any good; you’ll need a valid motorcycle license before you can do so legally. In most states, that means picking up a permit as step one of the process.

So, When Was Your Birthday Again?

Just as with a car license, there are age requirements for getting a motorcycle license, too. In many states, the minimum age to get a motorcycle license is 15 or 16, but check the motorcycle handbook for your state to find the age that applies to you. The motorcycle handbook will also prove invaluable in preparing you for the written permit test. You can acquire a copy of this handbook at your local DMV office.

Pass the Permit Test

Before the state turns you loose on a bike, you have to demonstrate an understanding of driving law and other rules of the road. This will be accomplished by passing a written permit test. This test will be administered at your local DMV office. Presuming you have prepared well and pass the test, the only thing that might still be standing between you and your permit is a vision test. Good news is, this is a test you don’t have to study for and, seriously, if you can’t pass it, do you really want to be on a motorcycle?

The Rules and Restrictions

While a permit does allow some of the privileges of a full license, there are some restrictions of which you should be aware. While these vary from state to state, most of these restrictions center around when, where and with whom you can ride. Read through the manual and make sure that you know the limitations specific to your state before you head on the road.

Moving Up to a License

Receiving a full license requires a road test. As soon as you feel comfortable enough with the amount of practice you have had, contact your local DMV office and schedule a driving test. While the handbook may give you some idea of what this test will entail, it couldn’t hurt to spend a little time on YouTube checking for tips to pass it.

Skip the Road Test by Taking a Class Instead

In some states, you can opt for a training course that will serve as a substitute for the road test. These courses are valuable to many new riders and are an excellent value as they serve two purposes. As was mentioned, they take the place of a road test, often relieving much anxiety. Further, the course will be full of tips and techniques that you can use to become a safer and more confident rider.

For many, riding a motorcycle can be a source of great pleasure. If this describes you, be sure to follow the steps to get on the road legally with a permit and license. We would sure hate to see the state jerk that magic carpet out from under you!