If you've been dreaming for years of getting a motorcycle, you'll be glad to know that applying for a motorcycle license is relatively easy, at least in Texas. Providing you meet the eligibility requirements, can work your way through a short written test, and have good enough eyesight to pass a vision screening, you shouldn't have any problem in getting your license to ride. If you're keen to set the ball in motion, here's what you need to know about getting a Texas motorcycle license.
Texas Motorcycle License Types
What kind of license you can apply for will depend on your age. Applicants over the age of 18 can apply for a full Class M license providing they meet all eligibility requirements. If you're younger than 18, you'll first need to apply for a learner's license with a J restriction. Once you have the license, you'll be able to practice riding on public roads, but only on the condition that you're accompanied by an experienced rider of at least 21 years old who holds a full motorcycle license. To remove the J restriction, you'll need to pass a written and skills test. If you're under the age of 16 years old, you can apply for an I restriction. This will entitle you to ride motorcycles with a displacement of 250 cc or less only. Once you turn 16, you can apply for a J restriction to replace the I restriction.
To be eligible for a Texas motorcycle license, you'll need to meet a couple of requirements. As tex.org notes, the minimum age requirement for license applicants is 15. However, even if you're over the age of 15, be prepared to jump through a few extra hoops if you haven't yet passed the age of 18. Regardless of age, every applicant for a Texas Class M motorcycle license will need to have either taken an in-class Driver's Ed course for a Class C license or already hold a Texas Class C driver's license or learner's permit. You'll also need to have enrolled in a motorcycle safety education course that's been approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you're under the age of 18, you'll need to apply for a learner's license by passing a written knowledge test and a motorcycle road skills exam.
Motorcycle Education Course
Regardless of age and previous riding history, all applicants for a Texas motorcycle license will need to complete a mandatory motorcycle education course. As riderstuff.com notes, the course will cover the basics of road safety and motorcycle operation. Expect to learn how to ride a motorcycle, the best riding positions to ensure control and safety, how to ride with a passenger on board, the meaning of various road hand signals, and the meaning of different road signs. The course will need to be completed at a center that's been approved by the Texas Department Of Public Safety (DPS). Costs vary depending on the provider, but you can expect to part with around $200. Once you complete the course, you'll be provided with a completion certificate. Keep it safe, as you'll need this when you come to apply for your license.
Before you can get your license, you'll need to take a vision test at either the Department of Public Safety or at a licensed optometrist’s clinic. To get a license without restrictions, you'll need to have at least 20/40 vision in both eyes. During the test, you'll also be tested for color blindness. If your wear contact lenses or glasses, you can wear these during the test - providing your corrected vision is in line with the requirements, you won't be penalized.
Knowledge and Skills Test
If you're over the age of 18 and have a valid driver's license, you won't be required to complete either a written knowledge test or a road exam. If you're under the age of 18, be prepared for both. Fortunately, neither one is too tricky. The written exam is a multiple-choice questionnaire that will test your knowledge on everything from what the different parts of a motorcycle do to how to ride safely. Before the test, it's worth swotting up using the review material online. You should also be able to find practice tests that will help familiarize you with the type of questions you might face. The skills test is a road exam in which you'll be required to demonstrate you can operate a motorcycle safely and are well-versed in standard maneuvers.
Once you've completed all the individual requirements of obtaining a license, you'll need to pay a visit to your local DPS to complete the final step in the process. During your visit, you'll need to present your motorcycle safety course completion certificate along with either your Provisional Class C license, Certificate of driver's education completion, or Class C learner's license. You'll also need to show proof of identity, SSN, and residency status. If you're under the age of 18 years old, you'll need to bring along your parent or guardian, as well as proof of completing the motorcycle road skills test and a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance from your high school. If all is in order, you'll be issued your license on payment of the relevant processing fee.
If you're new to Texas but not to riding, you can easily swap your out-of-state license for a Texas license providing your current license is still valid. To transfer your credentials, simply head to your local DPS driver license office within 90 days of establishing residency. Once there, you'll need to surrender your out-of-state license and provide proof of identity, SSN, and residency status. All applicants will need to pass a motorcycle written knowledge exam, while applicants under the age of 18 will also need to complete a motorcycle road skills test.
Nothing in life comes for free, and a Texas motorcycle license is no exception. As DMV.org (www.dmv.org/tx-texas/motorcycle-license.php) notes, when you present your application to the DPS, expect to pay the following processing fee:
- Motorcycle License Only: 18 years old and older: $33/ Younger than 18 years old: $16.
- Addition of Class M to your current license: $16.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith