How Old Do You Have To Get A Motorcycle License?

In the United States of America, each state is responsible for making its own rules about how driver’s licenses are given out. You will only be able to get that if you meet their standards and are qualified and eligible.

You are required to go through a process that begins with a written test, then moves on to practice, and then ends with a riding test in order to get your motorcycle license.

You are required to be ready for it before you can apply, and one way to get ready is to enroll in a course that teaches people how to ride motorcycles.

During that class, not only will you receive training for the written test but also for the riding or road test. It is simpler, but the price may be quite high for this.

Steps For Getting A Motorcycle License:

To get a motorcycle license, you must first pass a written test, then practice riding a motorcycle, and finally take a road skills test.

Step 1: Written test

Before you can ride a motorcycle in most states, you have to take and pass a written test and get a motorcycle learner’s permit. 

Questions on basic motorcycle terminology, techniques, and laws are included in the written exam. You may be able to take the test online or at a motor vehicle department, depending on where you live.

Examine the resources provided by your state’s DMV before taking your test. These materials contain all of the information you’ll need to pass your exam.

Topics covered on written motorcycle exams:

  • Safety best practices
  • State laws
  • Basic motorcycle techniques
  • Rules of the road
  • Motorcycle terminology

Step 2: Practice

You’ll need to practice riding a motorcycle once you’ve obtained your permit. In some states, new riders under the age of 18 are required to log a certain number of supervised practice hours.

Of course, no one can supervise you from the passenger seat of a motorcycle. Instead, many states require you to be within a certain distance of another motorcycle rider while you learn to ride. You will also be restricted as to when and how you can ride your motorcycle.

Common requirements and restrictions for riding with a motorcycle permit:

  • 0% BAC level
  • No passengers
  • Restricted hours of use (such as daylight only)
  • Must be supervised (within a quarter-mile) by a licensed motorcyclist

These rules vary by state, so check with your DMV to find out what the rules are for practicing your skills. You’ll also need motorcycle insurance if your state requires it, which almost all do.

Step 3: Riding Test

The final step in obtaining a motorcycle license is a road skills test. The test will be different from a regular driver’s license test because the examiner can’t watch you from the passenger seat.

First, the examiner will see how well you can handle your motorcycle on a closed course or in another area where you are alone.

You might have to show that you can speed up, slow down, and turn safely and in control. In Ohio, for example, the following maneuvers are required:

Motorcycle skill test maneuvers in Ohio

  • Normal stop, cone weave
  • U-turn from a complete stop
  • Quick halt
  • Swerve around an obstacle

Depending on your state and whether you already have a driver’s license for a car, you may also be required to demonstrate real-world riding skills.

If this is the case, you will be taken out on the road to demonstrate your ability to interact with other vehicles while receiving periodic instructions from the examiner.

If the test includes an on-road component, you must usually provide a follow car and driver for the examiner to ride in.

Make a list of everything you’ll need for the road test. If any of the required items are not present, you will fail and must reschedule. For example, in New York, you would need to bring:

Documents Required To Apply For A Motorcycle License:

Your photo-enabled learner’s permit, if you have one.

If your driver’s license states that you require corrective lenses, you must wear either glasses or contacts.

Both the original copy of your Pre-licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) and your Student Certificate of Completion are needed.

A motorcycle that is in good operating condition, is registered, and has been inspected

a driver who is at least 21 years old, has a valid license, and knows how to drive the test vehicle.

a motor vehicle that is in good working order, is registered, and has undergone recent inspection, as well as a driver who is in possession of a current and valid driver’s license, in order to transport the licensing examiner while you are being tested on the road.

If you are younger than 18, a Certification of Supervised Driving (MV-262) form that has been filled out by your parent or guardian is required.

Minimum Age To Apply For Motorcycle License

In order to legally ride a motorcycle in the United States, you must be at least 16 years old and have a driver’s license. But you can’t just go to your local DMV and apply for a motorcycle license. You first have to take a written test and a road test.

The written test will test your knowledge of the rules of the road, while the road test will assess your ability to ride safely. If you pass both tests, you will then be issued a motorcycle license.

You can read a dedicated article on this topic in which I explain the minimum age requirement for obtaining a motorcycle license to get more specific information on various aspects of the legal age to ride a motorcycle.

Younger riders must jump through more hoops to get their license.

Before obtaining a motorcycle license, riders under the age of 18 (or in some states, 21) must go through additional procedures.

Most of the time, you must have your motorcycle permit for a certain period of time before taking the road test. Also, you will almost certainly have to take a course on how to ride a motorcycle, which is usually optional for people who are older.

In California, for example, young riders must meet the following requirements in addition to the requirements for older drivers in order to get a motorcycle license:

California motorcycle license requirements for new riders include the following:

  • Under 18
  • In California, enroll in a driver education course (same as for driving a car)
  • For six months, you must have a motorcycle license.
  • Attend a motorcycle riding class.
  • 18 to 21 years old
  • For six months, you must have a motorcycle license.
  • Attend a motorcycle riding class.

How Much Time And Money It Takes To Get A Motorcycle License?

It’s no secret that getting a motorcycle license takes time and money. How long it takes exactly depends on your state and how you go about getting your license.

Some people choose to go through a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course, which typically costs a few hundred dollars. The upside to taking this type of course is that you’ll learn the basics of riding a motorcycle, and you’ll likely be exempt from having to take a skills test at the DMV.

If you don’t want to take a course, or if your state doesn’t offer them, you’ll have to take the skills test at the DMV. This is where the cost comes in: the skills test will likely cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $100.

Of course, there are other costs associated with getting a motorcycle license, like the cost of taking the written test and licensing fees. But those are pretty standard across states.

How Difficult Is It To Get A License To Ride A Motorcycle In The US?

It’s not as difficult as you might think to get a license to ride a motorcycle in the US. In most states, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a learner’s permit. You’ll also need to pass a written test and a road test.

But it’s not just about getting the license. You also need to know the rules of the road and be aware of the risks involved in riding a motorcycle. That’s why it’s so important to take a safety course, which will teach you everything you need to know about bike safety.

So if you’re thinking about getting your motorcycle license, don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back. The process is actually pretty straightforward, and with a little preparation, you’ll be ready to ride in no time.

How much time and money you need to get your motorcycle license or endorsement depends on how you handle the process and whether or not you pass your test.

For example, an adult rider who successfully finishes a state-approved training course may be able to get their motorcycle license over the course of a weekend.

If you decide to learn on your own, it may take several days or weeks of practice (along with the guidance of an experienced rider) before you feel confident enough to pass the test.

Most states don’t have rules about how long an adult can carry a permit, but there are often time limits for minors. In California, for example, motorcycle riders under the age of 21 must have a license.

Can You Ride a Motorcycle With A Car Driving License?

You might be curious about whether or not it is possible to ride a motorcycle if you just have a license to drive a car. The answer to that question is yes; however, there are a few things that you should be aware of before you do so.

In most states, you need to be at least 16 years old to ride a motorcycle. And you’ll need to have a motorcycle license, which you can get by passing a written and practical test.

But if you already have a car driving license, you might be able to skip the written test. In some states, you can take a skills test instead. So it’s definitely worth checking with your state’s DMV to see what the process is for getting a motorcycle license.


You should never ride a motorcycle without a valid driver’s license, because doing so puts your life at risk. I’ve explained the steps you need to take to get a motorcycle license, as well as the minimum age you must be to apply.

If you have read this entire text from beginning to end, then I am confident that you will have no trouble obtaining a license.