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Spring is around the corner. That means warmer weather– perfect for getting lost on two wheels. However, that doesn’t mean you can just hop on a motorcycle and have fun. To avoid breaking the law, you’ll need to get a motorcycle license or endorsement. So, can anyone get a motorcycle license and go ride? Here’s what you need to know to legally and safely hit the road on two wheels. 

Most licensed drivers can test for a motorcycle license or endorsement– but the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a better option

Most states require you to meet the following requirements to qualify for a motorcycle license or M endorsement. 

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Possess a valid motor vehicle license
  • Pass a vision test
  • Prove the necessary skills to pass a motorcycle road course and written exam

Depending on factors like age, your state may require a motorcycle learner’s permit to qualify for a full motorcycle license. That said, once you meet the age requirements and don’t have any legal preventions from earning a motorcycle license, you can make an appointment to pass your state’s written and practical skills tests for licensing.

Typically, depending on your state of residence, you’ll have to pass a written test. After you pass a written exam, you’ll likely have to pass a rider evaluation involving tasks like cornering and braking. Consult your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or similar agency for handbooks and manuals. 

A student tests on his motorcycle before getting a license.
A motorcycle student | Liubov Polozhentseva via iStock

However, you don’t have to self-teach or find a willing motorcyclist buddy to learn how to handle a motorcycle. Instead, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) proctors a Basic RiderCourse (BRC) with everything a new rider needs to build a solid foundation of skills and hit the road. 

MSF BRC classes teach licensed drivers over the age of 16 in classroom environments as well as road courses. In two days, students will go from never straddling a motorcycle to riding in figure-eights and performing emergency braking. Better yet, most MSF BRC classes will reward students with a license waiver upon completion of the written coursework and skills tests. 

Students can then submit the waiver to their local DMV or similar agency for a motorcycle license or M endorsement.