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Whether or not you’ve operated a motorcycle, there’s no doubt that it’s an enjoyable hobby to pursue. You feel more free riding a motorcycle than any other vehicle.
There are some rules you should follow when riding a motorcycle. To be legal and safe on the roads, you need the appropriate licensing and expertise.
Can you ride a motorcycle with a regular driver’s license? You cannot legally ride a motorcycle with just a regular driver’s license. In order to legally ride a motorcycle you must have a separate motorcycle license or permit. You will need to learn more about riding a motorcycle than driving a car.
A lot of people mistakenly think that having a regular driver’s license will suffice to operate a motorcycle. That’s what a driver’s license is for, right? Motorcycle riding requires additional training, and is not something that can be done by anyone. This article will show you how to get a motorcycle license.
Why Separate Licenses Are Required
Those of us who hold a regular driver’s license know that it required a good amount of work, training, and tests to get it in the first place. But it’s for a good reason; it keeps driver’s more safe and defensive while out on the road.
Unfortunately, obtaining a regular driver’s license does not cover how to operate a motorcycle and therefore does not enable one to ride a motorcycle without a separate license. It is frustrating, but there is a reason.
Actually, motorcycles are very different from cars. Although they are both motor vehicles, their operation and working methods require different training and practice. Some people are not able to just jump on a motorcycle and go for a ride.
First, let’s discuss the safety issues that go along with this. Driver’s education teaches us how to be a defensive driver and be aware of our surroundings, become familiar with road signs, how to properly change lanes, etc. All of this information and training is required to ride a motorcycle.
Alongside with following the rules of the road, a motorcyclist is required to be so much more aware than regular driver’s. Motorcyclists are a lot more prone to accidents because other drivers don’t see them. And because they’re more prone to accidents, that increases the possibility of injury on the rider’s part because of the lack of coverage the motorcycle provides.
The pedals, gears, buttons and controls on a motorcycle are different than a car. Most motorcycles are manual which is something a lot of drivers aren’t used to. Brake levers are accessible by the hands and not the feet, as it is with cars. Acceleration can be done with the hands and not just the foot. Turning corners requires the rider’s whole body to be engaged to ensure the turn is done safely and correctly.
Finally, motorcyclists can face more danger than those who drive a car in certain situations. These situations could include being caught in a snowstorm, riding on gravel, or riding over other objects in the road.
These are common situations when driving a vehicle. You only need to switch on the wipers or brakes to avoid road debris. These situations can prove fatal for motorcyclists and require licensing and additional training to ensure that riders know how to deal with them.
How to get the right license to ride a motorcycle
If you wish to ride a motorcycle, you cannot rely on your regular driver’s license to legally do so on the roads. You must follow a few steps to legally operate a motorcycle. To be able to ride one, first you need to obtain a motorcycle permit.
To get a motorcycle permit, you’ll need to go in to your local DMV and provide a few pieces of paperwork such as proof of identity and proof of residency. You’ll need to likely pay a small fee specific to your county and state.
Next you’ll take an eye test. The eye test involves you reading sentences or letters on a poster that is displayed in the room. This will ensure that you can see clearly enough to ride a motorcycle. Next, you’ll need to take a written test and pass it. Many states now offer the test online in a private room at DMV. You’ll need to answer around 25 questions regarding how to safely operate a motorcycle.
Once you pass the written test, you’ll be given a motorcycle permit which enables you to legally ride a motorcycle on the road. However, you cannot ride with a passenger, or ride at night without a permit. As it took to learn how to drive a vehicle, this will require a lot of practice.
Once you have had enough practice and have had your permit for a sufficient amount of time, you’ll go back to your local DMV and take a riding test in front of a certified instructor. The instructor will ask you to do some maneuvering and braking. Once you pass the riding test, you will either be issued a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement on your regular driver’s license that enables you to safely and legally operate a motorcycle.
Click here to read my article on how to obtain a motorcycle licence.
What happens if you ride without a motorcycle license?
You could face serious consequences if you are not licensed to ride a motorcycle. This includes riding a motorcycle with just a regular driver’s license.
It is a misdemeanor to ride a motorcycle without a permit or license. This means that if a police officer pulls you over, they can fine you up to $100 or $1,000.
You are not only putting yourself at risk, but also the other motorcycle drivers.
You will be pulled over if you don’t have the proper license to operate a motorcycle. A police officer has the power to seize your motorcycle at your cost and pay a large fee. So not only will you have to pay to have it towed, but you’ll also need to pay to get it back.
Many insurance companies require you to have a motorcycle license or permit in order to be eligible for motorcycle insurance. So if you’re out riding a motorcycle with just a regular driver’s license, that probably means you don’t have insurance on the motorcycle. Uninsured or licensed riders can cause serious injuries and even death quickly. My other article explains what can happen to a person who rides a motorcycle on its own without a permit.
What about Scooters or Mopeds, though?
Mopeds, scooters, and motorbikes can all be classified as one. They all have two wheels that’s self propelling and is a means of transportation. We covered that you need a separate license to ride a motorcycle and can’t rely on just a regular driver’s license, but do scooters or mopeds also require a separate license?
This will depend on where you live and how large the scooter or moped are. In general, if the scooter or moped is 49 CC’s or smaller, it is okay to legally ride one on the roads without a motorcycle license. This means that all you need is a regular driver’s license to operate these. But to be sure, you should check with your state’s laws before operating a vehicle like this.
Anything 50 CC’s or larger will likely require a motorcycle license even though a larger scooter or moped isn’t technically a “motorcycle.” They are all in the same class, so you need to be trained properly to operate larger engines.