What Does a Motorcycle Permit Allow You to Do?

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As a young motorcycle enthusiast, the thrill of riding a motorcycle on a free highway is incomparable. But in order to experience that thrill and speed, you need to have a valid motorcycle driving license otherwise, you can be booked under the law, and if worse, you have to spend some jail time as well.

If you have to legally ride your bike on public roads and spaces, before you are eligible to get a motorcycle driving license, you will need a motorcycle permit in almost all the States in the US.

Surely, you must have questions in your mind regarding what is a Motorcycle Permit, what will it allow you to do, how to get one, and what’s the cost of obtaining one.

Relax and keep reading for we’ve got you covered on all fronts!

What is a Motorcycle Permit?

As the name suggests, a Motorcycle Permit is a document you need in order to legally ride your motorcycle on public roads and spaces. In other words, it’s a mandatory requirement before you can get a motorcycle driving license.

In most of the US states, usually permit holders are not allowed to drive their motorcycles on freeways or expressways. They may have to take a lot of equipment with them while riding their bikes too so that they comply with all the rules and regulations related, which will be explained later in this article.

One more thing worth mentioning about the permit is that it hasn’t been established by any federal law; rather each state has its own set of rules for obtaining one. So if you want to get your hands on a permit, you need to check with the DMV in your state.

How can you get a Motorcycle Permit?

If you are eligible for getting one, which means if you are over 18 years of age and have met all other requirements, getting your Motorcycle Permit is fairly easy.

You will have to pass a written exam on road regulations for motorcycle riders once you apply for it. The test will be based on some questions related to traffic rules and regulations put forward by the DMV.

Some states may consider allowing applicants to take their Motorcycle Exam Online. Moreover, there’s no practical or physical examination required while applying for a permit.

What are the Restrictions of Riding a Motorcycle with a Motorcycle Permit?

Even though getting a Motorcycle Permit is not as tough as getting a Driving License, it does come with some restrictions and thus holds the distinction of being an Intermediate license between ‘L’ and ‘full’ motorcycle licenses.

Once you receive your permit, you cannot drive your bike on freeways or expressways. What’s more, if you are riding without a supervising rider (normally who has been granted full licensure) then your speed should be under 30 mph (48 km/h).

And of course, there goes that mandatory equipment list to carry while driving your bike which will vary from state to state.

What Does a Motorcycle Permit Allow You to Do?

When you have a motorcycle permit, it’s mandatory in most of the US States that Motorcycle Permit holders carry the following equipment when they drive their motorcycles:

Helmet – This is a must-have for almost all states. 

Eye Protection – This is also compulsory in many states. So, you will need to make sure that you have worn safety glasses or a face shield while riding your motorcycle. 

Wearing Leather Jacket and Pants – Wearing leather jackets and pants along with other protective accessories like goggles and gloves can help ward off injuries in case of an accident, and it’s mandatory in some US States too. 

Insurance – You should always keep a valid insurance policy on your bike in accordance with the set laws by the authorities so that if something unfortunate happens, at least your family isn’t burdened with the financial cost.

Is It Legal to Ride a Motorcycle Without a License if You Have a Permit?

Is it legal to ride a motorcycle without a license if you have a permit? The answer is no, it is not. Riding a motorcycle without a license is against the law, even if you have a permit. A permit allows you to practice under certain restrictions, but it does not give you the full authority to ride without a license. It is important to abide by the regulations and obtain the necessary license before hitting the road.

What are the Requirements for Obtaining a Motorcycle Permit?

There are certain requirements set by the DMV of every US state which you should be aware of before applying for a permit, such as: 

The minimum age requirement to apply is usually 18 years in almost all states. Some exceptions may include Wisconsin where it’s 16 years and Massachusetts too has this age restriction set at 17 years only. 

You have to have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit along with a regular motorcycle insurance policy in most cases. In addition, some states allow applicants to add their names under an already existing insurance policy if they want to do so. But there are also quite a few States that require permitting riders to have their own policy [take California, for example, where the requirement is that the riders should be at least 21 years old].

You must have logged a minimum number of road hours prior to getting your permit. Most states require at least 10 hours behind bars with your instructor. The only exception to this is New Jersey where no specific figure has been stated by its DMVs. But you will still need to pass a riding test in order to get your motorcycle permit there.  

If you are planning on carrying passengers while operating your bike with a Motorcycle Permit, then it’s mandatory for you to display L-tags (number plates). These plates are colored yellow and are available for purchase from either your state DMV or local dealerships that sell motorcycles.

Also, you will need to pass the written test on motorcycle regulations and safety guidelines before you can get a Motorcycle Permit. Along with this written test, in some States, there will be an additional vision test to check if your eyes are healthy enough to be riding a bike.

Remember that the simplest way to get your motorcycle permit is to enroll in an MSF Basic Rider Course. These courses provide information about the safe control and operation of motorcycles, including skills related to preparing for tests, passing the tests, and operating safely after getting licensure.

How Much Does a Motorcycle Permit Cost?

In most states, the cost of getting a motorcycle permit is $5-$40. For example, in Hawaii, it’s just $3 while in New Mexico and Oregon, it comes to around $15-$35.

On the other hand, there are some states that have waiting periods before you get your license after passing the tests. In California, for instance, you will need to wait for at least 3 months or more before you can get your license or endorsement for riding a bike.

However, if you want to avoid all of this hassle and get a Motorcycle Permit without even taking a course or test then go straight ahead and contact your state DMV office on its website [or phone number]. Many offer free services [but really, have you ever heard of a free lunch?] so they will guide you through the process. But there are also some states which may charge as little as $3 to as much as $75 permit fees.


The motorcycle laws and Motorcycle Permit requirements differ for each US state. This article has been generalized to help those seeking information on licensing in the US. Some restrictions do apply and therefore, we recommend you to visit your local DMV office for more details and/or refer to their official website.

Motorcycle laws and permitting requirements also can change at any time. Therefore, if you have specific questions about them, it is best that you contact the DMV in your state for more details.

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