If you want to ride a motorcycle in Massachusetts, there's one thing you need to do first. Get a license. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple. There are a couple of tests to pass, a fee to pay, and an application form to complete. Providing you have the basic skills needed to operate a motorcycle and can work your way through a multiple-choice test, your license will be yours sooner than you know. Here's what you need to know about getting a motorcycle license in Massachusetts.
Permit Eligibility Requirements
Before you can graduate to a full motorcycle license, you'll need to get a learner's permit first. To be eligible to apply for a permit, you'll need to be at least 16 years old and have a clean driver's history with no revoked licenses. As per the DMV, you'll also need to:
- Be a resident of Massachusetts
- Be a U.S. citizen or have legal residence in the US
- Not have any financial obligations to any state
- Not hold a driver’s license or learner’s permit in any other state
- Have parental consent to apply if you're under 18 years old
Providing you meet the eligibility requirements, the process of applying for a permit is simple. First of all, you'll need to complete a Driver’s License, Learner’s Permit, or ID Card Application (Form LIC100). If you're under the age of 18, the form will need to be countersigned by a parent or legal guardian. You'll then need to visit an RMV Service Center to hand in the application and pass a vision test. As you'll need to provide proof of ID during the visit, make sure to have the following documents to hand:
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful presence in the US (e.g. a passport, certificate of citizenship, or a certified copy of your birth certificate).
- Proof of your residence in Massachusetts (e.g. a mortgage or lease document dated within the last 60 days, a utility bill dated within the last 60 days, or an Alternative Residency Affidavit signed by your parents or legal guardian if you're under the age of 18).
- Proof of your Social Security Number (e.g. a W-2 form or Social Security card). If you do not have an SSN, you'll need to present your passport, a Denial Notice from the Social Security Administration, and a valid visa.
Before you receive your permit, you'll need to pass a written knowledge test. If you already hold a valid Class D license, you'll only be required to sit a Class M knowledge test. If you don't, you'll need to sit both a Class M knowledge test and a Class D knowledge test. Both tests are based on the contents of the Massachusetts Driver Handbook and the Motorcycle Manual, so be sure to swot up before booking the test.
Providing you pass the required tests and provide the necessary documentation, your permit will be issued on payment of a $30 fee. As per mass.gov (www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-a-motorcycle-class-m-learners-permit), the permit is valid for 2 years. If you don't apply for a license in that time, you'll need to repeat the knowledge test and pay an additional $30 fee to renew the permit.
Once you have your permit, you can practice riding your motorcycle in advance of applying for a license. However, bear in mind that a permit isn't a full license. To avoid getting into trouble, you'll need to adhere to the following restrictions:
- No riding between sunset and sunrise
- No carrying passengers
- No driving without wearing a helmet and eye protection
Applying for a License
After you obtain your learner's permit, you'll need to wait 6 months before you can convert it into a full license. Providing the appropriate time has passed and your permit is in good standing, you can apply for a license by following the below steps. Note that the process to be followed is age-dependent.
Applicants Over the Age of 18 Years Old
If you're over the age of 18, you'll need to book an appointment with an RMV service center to sit a road test. When you attend, you'll need to bring a completed application form along with the following documents:
• Proof of US citizenship or lawful presence
• Proof of Social Security Number
• Proof of residency in Massachusetts
For the road test, you'll need to bring along your own insured and registered motorcycle. As per permit.bike, you'll also need to supply your own safety equipment, including a DOT-approved helmet, eyeglasses, or goggles.
As an alternative to the road test, you can opt instead to complete a Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) approved motorcycle safety course.
The cost for a full motorcycle license is $50. If you already hold a Class D license and are simply adding a motorcycle endorsement to it, the charge is $15.
Applicants Under the Age of 18 Years Old
If you are under the age of 18, you'll need to successfully complete a Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) approved motorcycle safety course before you can apply for a license. If you have already completed a similar course in a state-approved by the Massachusetts RMV, this condition is waived. In addition to completing a Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) approved motorcycle safety course, you'll also need to complete a driver’s education course if you don't already hold a driver's license. Before receiving your license, you'll need to pass a riding skills test. Parental permission will also be required.
Advice for New Residents
If you're a new resident of Massachusetts who already holds a motorcycle license, you can apply to transfer your current license to a Massachusetts license within 30 days of establishing residency. To transfer your license, you'll need to submit an application to your local RMV along with the following documents:
- Proof of US citizenship/ lawful presence
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Proof of Massachusetts residency
If you're below the age of 18 years old, you may need to complete a motorcycle safety course in MA unless you've already completed a similar approved course in another state. If you're transferring a license issued in Canada, Mexico, or a U.S. territory, you'll be required to provide a driving record dated within the last 30 days. You'll also be asked to sit a vision screening test. If your license is valid, you won't be required to sit either a written or practical test. If the license expired more than 12 months ago, you'll need to sit both.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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