Riding a motorcycle legally on public roads requires one to have a valid motorcycle license. But given that the requirements for obtaining a motorbike license may vary from state to state, you expect the cost of getting it to differ too. So, how much does it cost to get a motorcycle license?
Getting a motorcycle license requires sitting for a DMV written and road test, whose costs start from $10 and $20, respectively. However, if you plan to take a motorcycle safety course, it may cost you an additional $200-$500.
Note that your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers all the two tests. So, that’s where you should be heading when you want to obtain a motorcycle license.
This article will guide you on the costs, requirements, and steps taken to obtain a motorcycle license in the US.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Motorcycle License in the USA?
Before getting a motorcycle license in the USA, you must pass two DMV tests: a written test and a road test.
The DMV written test cost starts from $10, and that of the DMV road test starts from $20 in most states. The total is about $30 for the tests alone.
Note, however, that in addition to the two tests, you may find it necessary to take a motorcycle riding course that may cost you $200-$500 depending on school and state.
Let’s dig deeper into these costs!
Cost of the DMV Written Test
Usually, the goal of the DMV written test is to earn yourself a motorcycle learner’s permit. You need to score at least 70% to pass the test, which you can take online.
From the day you receive it, the permit will be valid for one year, within which you’ll be eligible to take the road test and obtain your license. If you are not yet 18, you must hold your permit for six months before taking the test.
As mentioned, the DMV written test costs start from $10 in most states. It’s, however, essential to confirm the price from your state’s DMV. In Alaska, for example, the permit costs $15, while you pay $16.80 in Colorado and $16 in Connecticut.
Cost of The DMV Motorcycle Road Test
You can take the DMV road test six months after receiving your motorcycle learner’s permit.
Upon approval, you’ll receive your motorcycle license once it is processed.
The test costs roughly $20 in most states, but it’s also worth confirming from your state’s DMV. In Connecticut, for example, the motorcycle road skills test costs $40. You’ll pay $27 in Colorado, $33 in California, $10-$25 in Arizona, and $20 in Alaska and New York.
Cost of Motorcycle Riding Lessons (Safety Course)
Though this is purely optional, taking motorcycle riding lessons is good before applying for the license.
For one, the safety course prepares you for the DMV written and road skill tests, which you’ll have to pass before obtaining the license.
Secondly, the course refreshes your mind, making it easy for you to start riding your motorcycle on public roads as soon as you receive the license.
Additionally, it could help you become eligible for a massive discount on your bike insurance.
The motorcycle safety course will cost you $200-$500, depending on your state, course module, training center, and other expenses like transport and lunch. The actual rate for the course is usually $99-$200, with some states charging up to $300.
The mini-course, which involves a live instructor, takes about 2-4 days, but you can also take the lessons online.
You can learn more about the motorcycle safety course by the MSF in our recent post. Check out the types of courses it includes, what to expect, how long it takes, the different requirements, its benefits, and much more!
If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to take the motorcycle safety course, you can train how to ride on your own. The best route to follow is to be taught by a friend or relative who already drives motorcycles safely.
Other Costs You May Incur When Obtaining a Motorcycle License
It’s important to be realistic in life. But why? When you plan on doing something, its cost will not be exclusively the direct money you inject into it. There will be other directly and indirectly related expenses.
For example, in the quest to get a motorbike license, you’ll incur other costs such as food, fuel, transport, accommodation, and bike leasing. If you take the MSF safety course, the training center may be far off, forcing you to travel to and fro or seek accommodation nearby.
If you do not have a bike you own, you can lease one from a friend at a small cost. And the bike you train with will have to be fueled. Not forgetting that you can’t attend training sessions on an empty stomach; otherwise, the motorcycle would overpower you with its weight!
Now, there are several dynamics to the other costs. It’s difficult to put a specific figure to them. But they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
How to Get a Motorcycle License
Now that you know what it costs to get a motorcycle license, let’s talk about the necessary steps for obtaining it.
But before we can go through the steps, let’s look at the requirements you should meet.
Requirements for Getting a Motorcycle License
Essentially, you should meet these minimal requirements when applying for a motorcycle license:
- Provide a copy of your motorcycle riding permit (discussed in step 1 below)
- Be at least 16 or 18 years old. Or 21 old years in some places like New York
- Avail a registered, inspected, and operational motorcycle
- Pay the necessary fees.
For the age requirement, note that while most states recommend 21 years as the minimum age for obtaining a motorcycle license, others allow you to apply for the license from 18 years.
You may need an MV-2C2 certification to be completed by your parent or guardian if you are under 18 years. The DMV does not entirely rule out underage cyclists, as we already have so many teenage motorcyclists who are pretty skillful.
3 Steps for Getting a Motorcycle License
After meeting the above requirements, you should go ahead with these steps to get your motorcycle license:
Step 1: Take The DMV Written Test
You need a motorcycle riding permit before getting the license. You’ll have to take a DMV written test and pass it to earn this permit.
This test is usually theoretical, and it covers essential motorcycle riding topics such as safety practices, motorcycle riding terminologies, riding techniques, and road usage rules.
Step 2: Start Practicing
Once you have your motorcycle permit, you can start practicing how to ride a motorcycle on your own. That is, assuming you already have a beginner-friendly motorbike at home. However, don’t ride on public roads at this stage, as you need a license to do so.
Here are the general observations when practicing at this stage:
- Ride while being supervised or directed by a licensed motorcyclist
- Do not carry any passenger
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level should be 0%
- Only practice during daylight.
Note that these DMV requirements may vary from state to state. For that reason, confirm the exact details from your state’s DMV.
Step 3: Pass The Road Skills Test
The last step is to take and pass the DMV motorcycle road skills test. Unlike the written test in step 1, this test is all practical.
It tests your motorcycle riding ability on public roads. A licensed motorcycle examiner will examine how you brake, accelerate, turn, and control the motorcycle.
The expert will then emphasize maneuvers like quick stopping, normal stopping, and U-turning.
What Next After Completing the Necessary Motorcycle Tests?
After completing your DMV written test, you’ll receive a temporary motorcycle riding permit, popularly known as the learner’s permit.
This permit allows you to start practicing motorcycle riding. However, you are not allowed to carry passengers at this stage, and you shouldn’t ride on busy public roads.
Once you sit for the road test and are approved by a DMV examiner, you’ll receive your motorcycle license, which allows you to start driving your motorcycle even on busy public roads.
Cost of Operating a Motorcycle Without a License
Riding a motorcycle without a license on public roads is as serious as riding a car under the same conditions. If charged, you may pay hefty fees or even face a jail term. The recourse depends on the state.
For example, in California, if the offense is a misdemeanor, you may pay up to $1,000 in fines or face a 6-month jail term or both. In Florida, however, you may pay $500 in fines or a 60-day jail term, or both.
The penalties are heftier if you result in an accident that leads to loss of life or damage to property.
As we have learned, it takes about $30 to pay for the written and road tests necessary for obtaining a motorcycle license. Expect, however, to spend more if you plan to take a motorcycle safety course, which costs about $99-$300.
People Also Ask
While we have covered the basics of the costs and requirements of obtaining a motorcycle license, there is still more to clarify. Here are the most frequently asked questions.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Motorcycle License?
The time you take to get a motorcycle license depends on whether you take a safety course and how much time you take between the written DMV test and the road skill tests.
In most cases, you’ll need to wait for six months after obtaining your learner’s permit before sitting for the road test and eventually getting your license.
How Do You Get a Motorcycle License in the US?
You must pass your state’s DMV written test and get a motorcycle permit first. With it, you’ll be expected to practice riding a motorcycle for about six months before taking up the DMV road test.
Once you pass this test, you receive your license to ride a motorbike on public roads lawfully.
Can You Drive a Motorcycle with A Car License in the USA?
Car license holders in the US can only ride a motorcycle without a motorcycle-specific license if it has an engine capacity of not more than 125cc (cubic centimeters). If your motorcycle engine capacity goes past 125cc, you’ll have to apply for a motorcycle riding license.
Can You Buy a Motorcycle Without a License?
Buying a motorcycle and riding one are two different things. While you need a license to ride a motorbike, you don’t need one to buy it. You don’t need a license when buying a motorcycle, as long as you don’t intend to ride the bike immediately after buying it.
Can You Ride a Motorcycle with a Learner’s License?
A motorcycle learner’s license, popularly known as a motorcycle permit, only allows you to temporarily practice with a motorcycle as you wait to take your road skills test.
During the practice period, you shouldn’t carry passengers or use alcohol. Also, stay away from the highways and busy public roads until you obtain the license.
Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License?
Yes, you can get motorcycle insurance without a license. In this recent post, we have covered instances when you can get motorbike insurance without a license. Be sure to check it out for more details.
See you on the road!