Phone: 1-(855) 233-7818

Are you currently insured? Yes         No

Start Quote

How to Make Your New Motorcycle Safe and Legal for the Road, Plus the Best Carriers for Insurance Savings

There are few things in the world that can match the exhilaration of a motorcycle.

These vehicles offer a level of freedom unlike anything else, but they also come with some unique risks for even the most experienced riders.

Anyone who is getting ready to get on their new bike and hit the road should take a look at these tips to make their next adventure both safe and legal.

Note: Cool ride! Image credit: chicagomotorcycleswap.com.

File Paperwork Early & Requirements

Waiting until the last minute to file legal and financial paperwork can be disastrous, and most new riders should expect at least 30 to 60 days of red tape before they will be able to ride.

While information does change between each state in the U.S. and each province in Canada, there are some basics to consider.

First, the registration and pink slip must be updated to its current location and owner.

These documents will need to be valid before the rest of the process is carried out.

Requirements by State to be Legal

The riding requirements can vary wildly by state. You want to be sure you comply. Even for motorized bicycles too.

Below I have outline the requirements by state. All you have to do is find your state in the “search bar” to check them out.

StateRequirementsOther RequirementsHelmet Law
AlabamaMust have a class M endorsement on their license. Motorcycle operators must complete a written motorcycle test designated by ALEA or complete a specified operator course. Operators under age 17 shall be subject to graduated drivers licensing operating restrictions.all riders
Alaska Licenses are required for operators at least 16 years old.

Learner’s permits are available for those age 14, but they must ride under the supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator at least 19 years old.

Operators under age 18 are required to have a 6-month instruction permit.
A license is required for mopeds. Driver’s must be 14 years old, and the bikes can have a maximum engine size of 50 cc.17 and younger
ArizonaOperators age 15 and 6 months and older may be issued a motorcycle instruction permit. First time drivers must pass both a driver license and a motorcycle operator written test. Current instruction permit or license holders need only take the motorcycle operator written test.

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a motorcycle license or endorsement.
An applicant must also have satisfactorily completed a motorcycle driver education program that is approved by MVD, or the parent or guardian must certify in writing that the applicant has completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle riding practice.17 and younger
Arkansas
Minimum age is 16.
Certificate is issued by state police.
Title and registration are required.
Written and road tests are required.
Ages 14 and older may use motor-driven cycle (engine between 50 cc and 250 cc) or motor-driven bicycle (engine up to 50 cc).

Ages 10 and older may use a motorized bicycle but only on private property and within a municipality with a population of ten thousand (10,000) or more.
20 and younger
California
Motorcycles may be operated by holders of instruction permits who are at least 15 years and 6 months old and have completed both an approved driver education course and a driver training course, or by holders of instruction permits who are at least 17 years and 6 months old. Motorcycles may not be operated by either instruction permit holder after dark or on freeways and may not carry passengers.

Class M1 or M2 licenses shall not be issued to persons under 21 unless they provide evidence of completion of an approved motorcycle safety training program.
all riders
Colorado
Operators must have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. In order to obtain a motorcycle endorsement, a driver must have a valid driver’s license and either

1) pass the motorcycle written exam, purchase a motorcycle instruction permit, and schedule and pass a motorcycle drive skills test, or

2) complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.
Any operator of a motorized bicycle shall possess a valid Driver’s license.17 and younger and passengers 17 and younger
ConnecticutApplicants are eligible for a learner’s permit at age 16, after passing a vision test and written test.

Applicants for licenses between the ages of 16 and 18 must have the notarized consent of a parent, guardian, or spouse, proof that they have completed a novice motorcycle training course.

All applicants who want to obtain a motorcycle endorsement must satisfactorily complete a novice motorcycle training course.
Classes are offered through the CT Department of Transportation’s Connecticut Rider Education Program (ConRep) at certain locations throughout the state. A list of locations may be found at the Connecticut DOT.

All applicants who have not had a Connecticut driver’s license in the previous 2 years must pass a vision test, written test, and an on-the-road examination.

Learner’s permit and provisional license holders under age 18 may not transport any passenger on a motorcycle for six months after the issuance of a motorcycle endorsement. Permit holders age 18 and older may not transport passengers for 90 days after the permit expires.
17 and younger
DelawareNo person shall operate a motorcycle without being properly licensed, having passed an examination testing the person’s ability to operate such a vehicle safely, or without completing the Motorcycle Rider Education Program as implemented by the DOT.Riders who take an endorsement skills test on a three-wheeled motorcycle will have a three-wheeled motorcycle restriction, in addition to the motorcycle endorsement, limiting their operation to three-wheeled motorcycles only.18 and younger
District of Columbia
Applicants for a motorcycle license must fulfill the same requirements as applicants for motor vehicles.

The types of licenses are Class M: Motorcycle; Class N: Moped.

Motorcycle operators are not subject to the minimum insurance liability requirements.
all riders
FloridaThe examination for a motorcycle license endorsement tests the applicant’s knowledge of the operation of a motorcycle and of any traffic laws specifically relating to motorcycles.

Examination also includes an actual demonstration of the applicant’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motorcycle.
Every 1st-time applicant for licensure to operate a motorcycle who is under 21 years of age must provide proof of completion of a motorcycle safety course.20 and younger
Georgia
Operators of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and 3-wheeled motorcycles must have a Class M driver’s license or a Class MP instruction permit.

A person must be at least 16 to receive a Class M license.
Motorcycle license applicants who have successfully completed an approved rider education course will be required to pass an eye examination to obtain a Class M license.all riders
Hawaii A temporary instruction permit may be obtained at age 15 1/2 but holders of temporary permits may not operate a motorcycle or motor scooter during the hours of darkness or carry any passengers.

The temporary instruction permit for a motorcycle may not be renewed more than once.
The roadside examination for a motorcycle license may be waived if the applicant has completed the approved motorcycle education course.17 and younger
Idaho No person under 21 years of age may apply for or obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license without successful completion of an approved motorcycle rider training course.

Any person who applies for a motorcycle endorsement may be required to pass the motorcycle skills test.
Motorcycle endorsements are not required for operation of an autocycle.17 and younger
Illinois Licenses will not be issued to any person under the age of 18 as an operator of a motorcycle unless the person has completed a motorcycle training course approved by IDOT and the required Secretary of State’s motorcycle driver’s examination.A 12-month instruction permit for a motor-driven cycle or motorcycle may be issued to a person 18 years of age or more, which entitles the holder to drive upon the highways during daylight under the direct supervision of a licensed motor-driven cycle operator or motorcycle operator with the same or greater classification, who is 21 years of age or older and who has at least 1 year of driving experience.no law
IndianaThe operator of a motorcycle may have either a motorcycle learner’s permit or a commercial or a regular driver’s license, chauffeur’s license, or public passenger chauffeur’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.

A temporary motorcycle learner’s permit can be issued to a person who holds a valid operator, chauffer or public passenger chauffer base license and passes a vision screening and motorcycle knowledge test. A learner’s permit allows the driver to drive on the highway for a period of 1 year as long as the driver wears a helmet, does not carry passengers, and only operates the motorcycle during daylight hours.
A motorcycle license endorsement may be issued if the operator passes a motorcycle skills test or provides proof of completing the Motorcycle Operator’s Safety Education Training course as well as a vision screening or has a current motorcycle operator endorsement or license from any other jurisdiction and successfully completes the written test. Minimum age 16 1/217 and younger
Iowa Class M driver’s or Endorsement L licenses are issued for the operation of a motorcycle.Applicants under the age of 18 for a motorcycle driver’s license must successfully complete a motorcycle education course.no law
Kansas Operators of motorcycles must obtain a Class M license.Applicants for a motorcycle license must fulfill the same requirements as applicants for motor vehicles, except that applicants for class M licenses who have completed prior approved motorcycle safety training are not required to complete further written and driving testing.17 and younger
KentuckyAny person who already possesses a valid intermediate driver’s license, or who is at least 18 years old, may apply for an instruction permit to operate a motorcycle. A motorcycle instruction permit is valid for 1 year.

An applicant for a motorcycle license must pass a roadside demonstration test.
Motorcycle rider training courses are provided free of charge to applicants under 18 years of age.

Successful completion of an approved rider training course, which includes a minimum of 8 hours of hands-on instruction, permits exemption from the licensing skill test for motorcycle license applicants.

A license to operate a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or moped shall be renewed every eight (8) years.
20 and younger
LouisianaThere is no separate class of driver’s license for motorcycle riders.

To operate a motorcycle, a person must obtain an endorsement to his or her regular driver’s license. An endorsement can be obtained by passing an operation skills test and a knowledge test. An operation skills test does not have to be taken if the applicant successfully completed the Department-approved Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operation Training Program.
Children: No operator shall carry or transport a child on a motorcycle who is required to be restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety seat. Children may be a passenger on a motorcycle only if he or she is over the age of 5 and is wearing a safety helmet.all riders
Maine Operation of a motorcycle, motor-drive cycle, or moped requires a special endorsement on a license.A person must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a motorcycle instruction permit.

An instruction permit applicant must pass a vision test and a knowledge test related specifically to the safe operation of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped. An applicant must complete a motorcycle driver education program.

An instruction permit holder may operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped must wear a helmet. The permit does not allow the holder to carry a passenger or ride out of state.
17 and younger
MarylandA Class M license authorizes the licensee to drive motorcycles, but an applicant must be age 16 years 3 months before obtaining a provisional license. The same application procedures for a motor vehicle apply to a motorcycle application.An applicant under the age of 18 must complete a driver education and a motorcycle safety course.all riders
Massachusetts Class M: A motorcycle or any other motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the rider and designed to travel with no more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground.all riders
Michigan
A person, before operating a motorcycle upon a public street or highway in this state, must procure a motorcycle endorsement on the operator’s or chauffeur’s license.

Before a person who is less than 18 years of age is issued an original motorcycle endorsement on an operator’s or chauffeur’s license, the person must pass an examination and a motorcycle safety course.

A person applying for a motorcycle endorsement who has completed an approved motorcycle safety course will not need to complete a written knowledge test, road sign test, or driving skills test.
A person, before operating a moped upon a highway, must procure a special restricted license to operate a moped unless the person has a valid operator’s or chauffeur’s license. A special restricted license to operate a moped may be issued to a person 15 years of age or older if the person satisfies the Secretary of State that he is competent to operate a moped with safety.20 and younger
MinnesotaA person operating a motorcycle upon a roadway must be granted the rights and is subject to the duties applicable to a motor vehicle as provided by law.

No person can operate a motorcycle or motor scooter on any street or highway without having a valid standard driver’s license with a 2-wheeled endorsement.
A 2-wheeled endorsement will be issued if the applicant has a valid 2-wheeled vehicle instruction permit and has passed a written examination and road test administered by the Department.

If the applicant is under age 18, he or she must also successfully complete an approved 2-wheeled vehicle driver safety course.
The Department can issue a 2-wheeled vehicle instruction permit to any person over 16 years of age who is in possession of a valid driver’s license, is enrolled in an approved 2-wheeled vehicle driver’s safety course (if under age 18), has passed a written examination for the permit, and has paid all necessary fees.

A person who has an instruction permit cannot carry any passengers while operating the motorcycle, cannot drive the motorcycle at night, and cannot drive the motorcycle on any interstate highway.
17 and younger
MississippiA restricted motorcycle license can be issued to any applicant who fulfills all the requirements necessary to obtain such a license. The license allows the person to operate a motorcycle and no other motor vehicle.

A motorcycle endorsement may be issued to any person who holds a valid Mississippi driver’s license and meets the requirements for endorsement.all riders
MissouriIt is unlawful to operate a motorcycle or motor-tricycle unless the operator has a valid license that shows the operator has successfully passed an examination for the operation of the vehicle. Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces may waive the driving skills portion of the examination by submitting a proof of completion card from a military Motorcycle Rider Training Course.Any person at least 15 1/2 years of age who, except for age or lack of instruction in operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a motorcycle or motor-tricycle license or endorsement, may apply, with the written consent of the parent or guardian of such person, for a temporary motorcycle instruction permit to operate a motorcycle or motor-tricycle.all riders
MontanaA license is not valid for the operation of a motorcycle or quadricycle unless the holder of the license has successfully completed a road or skills test for a motorcycle or quadricycle and the license has been clearly marked with a motorcycle endorsement.17 and younger
Nebraska
Learner’s Permits (LPE or LPD): The applicant must pass a vision test before obtaining either permit and must also pass a written test for an LPD. The permit authorizes the holder to operate a motorcycle if he or she is within visible contact and is under the supervision of a person who is age 21 or older and a licensed motorcycle operator.Class M: Applicant must pass a vision and written test. Applicant must also successfully complete a drive test. This examination may be waived if the applicant presents proof of successful completion of a DMV-approved motorcycle safety course within the immediately preceding 24 months.all riders
NevadaA person may not apply for a motorcycle license unless he or she is 16 years of age, has successfully completed any examinations issued by the DMV, least 50 hours of experience in driving a motorcycle with an instruction permit, and has completed a course of motorcycle safety. If a course is not offered within a 30-mile radius of a person’s residence, the person must do an additional 50 hours of motorcycle driving experience. A person age 15 ½ to 18 years old may not operate a motorcycle on a highway for one year.A person age 18 years or older may not operate the motorcycle on a highway or carry any passengers during the intermediate license period.all riders
New HampshireMotorcycle Learner’s Permit: Upon application, the DMV shall issue a motorcycle learner’s permit to a person age 18 or older or to a person who is 16 or 17 and has successfully completed an approved driver education course and holds a valid NH drivers license. Applicants for such permit shall furnish proof of their fitness to drive a motorcycle, including either passing a of a written basic motorcycle knowledge test or successful completion of the motorcycle rider education program.A motorcycle learner’s permit shall permit the holder of such permit to drive a motorcycle on any road after sunrise and before sunset. Passengers are prohibited. The permit shall be valid for 45 days from the date of issuance or until the holder of the permit obtains a special license to drive motorcycles.no law
New JerseyA person who successfully completes a road test for a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement when operating a motorcycle or motorized scooter with an engine displacement of less than 231 cubic centimeters shall be issued a motorcycle license or endorsement restricting the person’s operation of such vehicles to any motorcycle with an engine displacement of 500 cubic centimeters or less. A person who successfully completes a road test for a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement when operating a motorcycle with an engine displacement of 231 or more cubic centimeters, or successfully completes an approved motorcycle safety education course, shall be issued a motorcycle license or endorsement without any restriction as to engine displacement.The director of the MVC may waive the road test portion of the examinations required for a motorcycle license or endorsement if the applicant has successfully completed a motorcycle safety education course.

All applicants for a motorcycle license who have never previously held such license shall be on probation for a period of 2 years following the issuance of their initial license.

A motorized bicycle license may be issued to any person 15 years of age or older upon proof of identity, date of birth, and passage of a driving examination.
all riders
New MexicoFirst-time applicants for a motorcycle license or an endorsement on their New Mexico driver’s license may be required to complete a motorcycle driver education program as prescribed by the rules and regulations of the bureau.

A restricted motorcycle license may be issued to any person 13 years of age or older who passes an examination prescribed by the MVD.

A Class M license allows the holder to operate a 2- or 3-wheeled motorcycle. It carries 1 of 3 endorsements:

W: any 2- or 3-wheeled motorcycle with an engine displacement of more than 100 cc (minimum 15 years of age with the successful completion of an approved driver education course).
Y: any 2- or 3-wheeled motorcycle with an engine displacement between 50 and 100 cc (minimum of 13 years of age).
Z: any 2- or 3-wheeled motorcycle with an engine displacement below 50 cc (minimum 13 years of age).
17 and younger
New YorkClass M or MJ license is required.

Class MJ: The holder shall be at least 16 years of age and may operate any motorcycle. The holder may not drive in the city of New York. Such license will automatically become a class M license when the holder turns 18.

Class M: The holder may operate a motorcycle, or a motorcycle towing a trailer. The holder shall be at least 18 years of age, or 17 years of age if they have successfully completed a driver’s education course.
A 4-hour motorcycle training class required.all riders
North CarolinaTo drive a motorcycle, a person shall have a full provisional license with a motorcycle learner’s permit, a regular driver’s license with a motorcycle learner’s permit, a full provisional license with a motorcycle endorsement, or a regular driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.

To obtain a motorcycle endorsement, an applicant must pass a knowledge test concerning motorcycles, pay the fee, and either pass a road test or provide proof of successful completion of the North Carolina motorcycle safety education program basic rider course or experienced rider course, or any other approved course for this purpose.
An applicant must pass a vision test, road sign test, and written test to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit.

Motorcycle Learner’s Permit: A person who is 16 or 17 years old and has a full provisional license, or a person who is at least 18 years old and has a valid license, is eligible for a motorcycle learner’s permit.

A motorcycle learner’s permit is valid for 12 months after it is issued, and may be renewed for one additional 6-month period.
all riders
North DakotaA person holding an instruction permit for the operation of a motorcycle may not carry passengers and may operate the motorcycle only during the hours when use of headlights is not required.

An applicant 16 years of age and older who does not hold a current valid driver’s license, may be issued a Class M learner’s permit after successful completion of a written examination. The Class M license will be issued after successful completion of a driver’s examination or completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.
Applicants 14 or 15 years of age may be issued a motorcycle learner’s permit if enrolled in or have completed an approved motorcycle safety course. The learner’s permit must be held for at least 2 months prior to applying for a Class M driver’s license, and the permit holder must have completed the safety course and hold a valid motorcycle learner’s permit at the time of application. A driver under 16 years of age is restricted to driving a motorcycle with an engine of 250 cubic centimeters, or less, displacement.17 and younger
Ohio The same age requirements apply to motorcycle licenses as driver’s licenses.An applicant for a motorcycle operator’s endorsement or a restricted license that permits only the operation of a motorcycle shall give an actual demonstration of the ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motorcycle by driving the same under the supervision of an examining officer unless the applicant can show proof of successful completion within the preceding 60 days of a course of basic instruction provided by the motorcycle safety and education program approved by the director.17 and younger
Oklahoma
All motorcycle operators are required to obtain a Class A-D motor vehicle license, with a motorcycle endorsement added. There is no separate license for a motorcycle operator.Any new applicant for such a license must complete a written exam, vision exam, and driving examination for a motorcycle to be eligible for a motorcycle endorsement. The driving and written tests may be waived upon proof of completion of a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course. Drivers under 18 must complete a certified state-approved motorcycle basic rider course.17 and younger
OregonA motorcycle endorsement may be issued to the holder of a valid license provided any tests and demonstrations are successfully completed. A course or test may be waived if the applicant holds a valid out-of-state driver license that authorizes the person to operate a motorcycle, or applies within one year of the expiration of such a license.

Completion of an approved motorcycle rider education course is required to obtain an unrestricted motorcycle endorsement. Courses for 3-wheel motorcycles are not available, and persons wishing to operate only 3-wheel motorcycles must pass a drive test at DMV to obtain an endorsement limited to 3-wheel motorcycle operation.
A motorcycle instruction permit may be issued only to persons who are at least 16 years old and is valid for 1 year. The holder of a motorcycle instruction permit may only operate a motorcycle during daylight hours, must be accompanied by a motorcycle-endorsed rider on a separate motorcycle who is at least 21 years of age, may not carry any passengers, and must wear an approved helmet.all riders
PennsylvaniaA motorcycle learner’s permit entitles the person to whom it is issued to operate a motorcycle between sunrise and sunset, and unless already licensed while under the instruction and immediate supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator. Motorcycle learner’s permit holder must not carry any passenger other than an instructor properly licensed to operate the motorcycle. A person may apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit no more than three times in a five-year period and must successfully pass the motorcycle knowledge test each time he/she reapplies.If an applicant has successfully completed an approved motorcycle safety course that meets the requirements of the motorcycle operator’s license examination administered by the Department, then the examination is waived.

For a person 16 or 17 years old, in addition to meeting the six-month eligibility period and the 65 hours of on-the-road training, to obtain a motorcycle license, he/she must complete a Basic Rider Course offered by the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program before licensure. The Basic Rider Course counts as 15 hours toward the 65 hours of on-the-road training.
20 and younger
Rhode IslandNo person shall be licensed to operate a motorcycle or motor scooter unless he or she is at least 16 years of age, or unless the person previously has been issued a full operator’s license and a motorcycle learner’s permit or is already licensed under a prior act of this state.

All applicants for a motorcycle or motor scooter license must successfully complete a motorcycle rider safety class, and pass written, vision, road sign, and road tests.
A motorcycle learner’s permit may be issued to a person who is at least 16 years old but less than 18 years old and has a limited provisional or full operator’s license or is at least 18 years old and has a license. If the holder of the permit has a limited provisional license, the motorcycle may be driven only at times when the holder could drive a motor vehicle without supervision. The permit expires 18 months after issuance.20 and younger
South CarolinaA motorcycle vehicle examination will be provided where the knowledge and skills examination for a commercial driver’s license is offered.20 and younger
South DakotaA person may not operate a motorcycle, except a moped, without a motor vehicle driver’s license or permit upon which a state testing officer has certified that such person is qualified to operate the motorcycle. However, the operator of a moped must have a valid motor vehicle operator’s license or permit.

The Department may waive the motorcycle testing requirements upon completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.
Any minor who has successfully completed the Department approved motorcycle safety education courses, and a driver education course of another state that the Secretary of Public Safety has determined is acceptable, can qualify for a restricted minor’s permit in 30 days.

A motorcycle restricted minor’s permit may be issued, upon application and payment of the proper fee, to a minor who is at least 14 years of age but less than 18 years of age. The applicant must have successfully passed all applicable tests and completed the requirements of an instruction permit and must have not been convicted of any traffic violation during the previous 6 months.
17 and younger
TennesseeA person who is at least 16 years of age and a legal resident of Tennessee may apply for a motorcycle license.Minors who are 15 years of age and legal residents of Tennessee may apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit. Permit holders may only operate during daylight hours, are limited to a 20 mile radius of the permit holder’s home, may not operate a motorcycle on the Interstate system, may not operate a motorcycle with an engine size greater than 650cc, and may not carry any passengers.

Applicants who have successfully completed a motorcycle rider training course may be exempted from taking the licensing skills test and/or the knowledge test.
all riders
Texas A Class M driver’s license authorizes the holder to operate a motorcycle or moped.An applicant required to take a motorcycle road test must provide a passenger vehicle and licensed driver to convey the license examiner during the road test. Operation of a three-wheeled motorcycle requires completion of a training course and a restricted Class M license.20 and younger
Utah
A person who has been issued a motorcycle learner’s permit may drive a motorcycle only during daylight hours and only without passengers.A motorcycle endorsement is required on all classes of license or a motorcycle-only license is required. An endorsement is valid for 5 years and expires on licensee’s birthday in the 5th year.20 and younger
Vermont
Any applicant for a permit or an operator’s license valid for operating a motorcycle, except a renewal applicant or an applicant who surrenders a valid motorcycle license issued by another state, shall successfully complete the rider training course or the department’s motorcycle examination.all riders
Virginia Applicants must pass a special examination including a written examination and a road test before being issued a license.Applicants must pass a special examination including a written examination and a road test before being issued a license.all riders
Washington
No person may drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless such person has a valid driver’s license specially endorsed by the DOL to authorize the holder to drive such vehicles.

A person holding a valid driver’s license who wishes to learn to ride a motorcycle may apply for a motorcycle instruction permit. The DOL will issue an instruction permit after the applicant has passed all parts of the motorcycle examination other than the driving test.

A person holding a motorcycle instruction permit may drive a motorcycle on the public highways if the person has immediate possession of the permit and a driver’s license. A permit holder may not carry passengers and may not operate a motorcycle during hours of darkness. A motorcycle instruction permit is valid for 90 days.
The DOL may waive all or part of the motorcycle endorsement examination for persons who satisfactorily complete the voluntary motorcycle operator training and education program.all riders
West VirginiaA separate motorcycle examination is required to obtain a license that authorizes the operation of a motorcycle. The examination tests the applicant’s knowledge of the operation of a motorcycle, any traffic laws relating to the operation of a motorcycle, and includes an actual demonstration of the ability to drive a motorcycle.Upon successful completion of an examination and paying the required fees, the DMV shall include a motorcycle endorsement on the license of the applicant or shall issue a special motorcycle-only license if the applicant does not possess a license.all riders
Wisconsin
Persons under the age of 18 will not be issued a Class M license unless the person has successfully completed an approved basic rider course.

Failure of the driving skills test on 2 previous occasions necessitates successful completion of an approved rider course before a license will be issued.
Motorcycle permits are available and are valid for 6 months. A permit holder may only transport passengers who hold a license endorsed for operation of a motorcycle and have at least 2 years of driving experience. A permit holder may operate a motorcycle during the hours of darkness only when accompanied by such a passenger who is at least 25 years old.

The driving skills test may be waived by persons who hold a motorcycle permit and have completed an approved basic driver course.
17 and younger
WyomingClass M licenses are issued for motorcycles. The designation may be added to a license valid for any other class or may be issued as the only class on a license if the applicant is not licensed for any other classification.17 and younger

Insurance Requirements

The insurance requirements will be different from cars, but it is still mandatory throughout North America.

Most riders will want to consider a policy that goes well beyond the legal minimum coverage requirements.

Motorcycle accidents have a much higher risk of causing serious and lifelong injuries, and riders may want to choose a slightly larger policy that will encompass long-term injuries.

Best Motorcycle Companies by Claims & Ratings

Below I have created a table list of the top insurance companies with ratings and the average quote.

The average quote is for a rider 32 years old and riding a touring type bike. With no major traffic violations in the past three years.

The two most important factors for a rider is the average quote and claims satisfaction.

Motorcycle Insurance CompanyAverage QuoteA.M. BEST*S&P*Claims Satisfaction**
Travelers$376A++AA+4
The Hartford$387A+A+3
Progressive$390A+AA4
Liberty Mutual$402AA-3
Mercury$411A+A+3
Allstate$412A+AA-3
Farmers$432AA+3
USAA$487A++AA+5
State Farm$504A++AA4
Metlife$532A++A+4

*Most consumers will not consider the financial strength of a company. I used Standard & Poors (S&P) and A.M. Best to determine the financial strength of the listed companies. When the rating is low for a company should a consumer make a determination to buy a policy or not.

**Claims satisfaction is from JD Power & Associates which produces the best overall purchase experience and overall claims satisfaction in evaluating the best auto insurance companies.

Motorcycle Safety Checklists – T-Clock

While the numbers have gone down, there are still over 4,500 fatalities from motorcycle accidents every single year.

One of the best ways to reduce your chance of having an accident is to make a habit out of checking your bike and safety gear before any ride.

T-Clock Motorcycle Pre-ride Safety Checklist

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation created the T-Clock system for a pre-ride safety checklist.

Below I have created a table for ease. To show more for easier viewing increase the number or rows. 

 T-Clock Pre-Safety ChecklistWhat to look for
Tires & Wheels
1TiresPressure correct & tread condition
2WheelsBent, broken, missing, tension, check at top of wheel: “ring” = OK — “thud” = loose spoke.
3BrakesFirm feel; sufficient pad depth
Controls
1LeversBroken, bent, cracked, mounts tight, ball ends on handlebar levers, proper adjustment.
2CablesEnds and shafts lubed; no fraying or kinks
3HosesCheck for damage or leaks
4ThrottleMoves freely, snaps closed, no revving when handlebars are turned.
Lights
1Brake and TaillightAll filaments work; both levers actuate brake light
2HeadlightAll filaments work; properly aimed; no damage.
3Lenses & ReflectorsClean; intact.
4Battery & WiringFluid level; terminals clean and tight, Check for pinching or fraying
Oil & Fluids
1LevelsBrake fluid, oil, final drive, transmission, coolant, fuel.
2Leaks & ConditionCheck all systems for leaks and color.
Chassis
1FramePaint lifting or peeling may indicate cracking.
2Steering-Head Bearings, No detent or tight spots through full travel, raise front wheel, check for play by pulling / pushing forks.
3Swing-arm BushingsRaise rear wheel, check for play by pushing/pulling swingarm.
4SuspensionSmooth movement; proper adjustment; no leaks
5Chain or beltCheck at tightest point. Side plates when hot. Note: do not lubricate belts. Teeth not hooked, securely mounted
6FastenersLook for missing or loose threaded fasteners, clips, pins.
Kickstand
1Side-standCracks, bent (safety cut-out switch or pad equipped).
Retention Springs in place, tension to hold position.
2Center-standRetracts firmly, no damage.

This should include a quick look over the brake lights, turning signals, helmet, fluids, and the battery on your phone.

Riders will also want to take a few moments before their ride to look at upcoming weather so they can avoid unsafe conditions.

Practice On and Off the Road

What sets an average rider apart from a safe rider is the compulsion to continue learning about riding and becoming as proficient as possible.

Chart showing the amount of deaths by year from 2011 to 2016

Note: Motorcycle deaths have been steady for the past five years. However, this is more than double the average from the late 1990’s which was 5%. Now the death rate is more than 10%.

Statistics source IIHS.org.

This should begin well before a rider has their license and everyone should consider taking multiple practice tests before they test for their final DMV motorcycle permit test.

After that, it is a good idea to take a safety course every few years to brush up on your skills.

Deaths by year for riders not have a proper license.

Note: As illustrated, 27% of deaths from a motorcycle accident are from riders not having a valid license.

Statistics source IIHS.org.

This is especially important for those that ride intermittently.

Riders who continue to improve their own skills as well care of their bike and safety gear will drastically lower their chances of any serious mishaps will riding.

Sources

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/t-clocs_inspection_checklist.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles

https://www.consumerreports.org

http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/Motorcycle-Safety.aspx

http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/motorcycle-licenses/

State Law Database Americanmotorcyclist.com

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/

Fatalities iihs.org Facts

Anica Oaks
A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Comments are closed.