Diving Into the Cost of a Motorcycle License: What to Expect

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Motorcycle License

Perhaps you’ve checked on prices of motorcycles and are contemplating purchasing your first bike. If you are looking to get licensed for a two-wheeled vehicle, it’s imperative to know that in most states you must have a motorcycle license.

This license is also known as a Class M and permits you to drive a motorized bike legally. There are a few exceptions in a couple of states, such as mopeds. However, the majority of motorized bikes require this license and most places in the United States.

Motorcycle Permits

Most states require drivers who are under 18-years-old to first to get a permit for a motorcycle. Depending on your state, the age you can first acquire a driving permit for a bike is 15 or 16 years old. In most situations, drivers must go through a motorcycle driving education class, pass the written exam, as well as pass a vision test.

In Alaska, a learner’s permit is available for drivers as young as 14, but this requires operating a motorcycle under supervision. In California, drivers must be 15 and a half to get their motorcycle permit.

While in Nevada, no one under the age of 16 can apply for a license, and drivers must log at least 50 hours of experience with a motorcycle permit. Anyone between the age of 15 and a half to 18 years of age cannot drive a motorcycle on the highway for a full year. Just as it is with the actual license, permit laws vary, so check your state laws first.

How to Get a Motorcycle License

Obtaining a Class M license or endorsement is not all that different than procuring the permit. You must complete the motorcycle safety class as well as pass the road test and a written exam. Your state may differentiate on the rules, so before assuming anything, always check the specific guidelines for the place you live.

For example, in some states such as Alabama, even if you are licensed, they have a graduated licensing procedure for those under the age of 17. This can mean you can obtain a license but have certain restrictions such as driving hours.

Some states such as New Jersey are a bit particular about the actual vehicle you plan to ride. In the Garden State, they require drivers to complete a road test with a motorcycle that has an engine displacement of 231 cc or higher.

In New York, there are two motorcycle licenses, a Class M for MJ. With the MJ license, drivers can operate a motorcycle at the age of 16 years or older but are not permitted to drive in the city of New York. A Class M is required to operate a motorcycle within New York City.

In Colorado, motorcyclists are also required to possess a valid driver’s license to get a motorcycle license. In California, after moving through the instruction permit, which restricts driving motorcycles on freeways, after dark, or caring passengers, a motorist can only obtain a class M1 or M2 license if they provide proof that they completed a motorcycle safety program or are older than 21 years of age.

Potential Penalties

In the majority of states, operating a motorcycle without the proper license will result in fines and the possibility of jail time. In California, for example, driving a bike without having a valid license can be ruled as either an infraction or as a misdemeanor.

If you’re found to have committed a misdemeanor in this way, you face the possibility of up to $1,000 in fines as well as up to six months of jail time. In Florida, you risk up to $500 in fines, 60 days in jail, and six months of probation.

The Cost of a Motorcycle License

When you consider the risks of driving without a license, it is extremely unwise to do so. Especially considering the cost of obtaining a license is generally low. The fees for getting your class I am very state by state but are usually less than $50.

In California, there is a $35 fee to obtain a learner’s permit. While getting your motorcycle license costs $36 for either an M1 or M2 original license. If you need a duplicate or a name change, you can have that done for $28.

In New York, you can pay $12.50 to amend your driver’s license and add Class M or MJ to it. There is a $10 application fee to get a permit for a motorcycle license in the Empire State. In Illinois, first-time motorcycle licenses run $10, or $5 to renew.

Get Your License

As you can see, the cost of first procuring a Class M license is relatively low. Be sure to check with your individual state. These costs definitely outweigh the risk of fines and jail time. What you will spend on either new or used motorcycle values will be far above the price of getting a license.