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How to Get a Motorcycle License in North Carolina

Motorbike operators must obtain a North Carolina motorcycle license or add an endorsement to an existing license if they wish to ride legally. Before riders may get a motorcycle drivers license, however, they must apply for a learner permit and meet the requirements for obtaining a full bike license under the state Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Alternately, drivers may obtain a motorcycle endorsement if they hold a current license. Regardless, of the type of motorcycle credential held, North Carolina law requires all motor scooter operators to wear an approved motorcycle helmet when operating the vehicle.

North Carolina Motorcycle Drivers License Requirements

Obtaining a DMV motorcycle license or an endorsement is a requirement before drivers may operate a motorbike in the state. As such, drivers may get motorcycle license endorsements if they hold a full provisional license, commercial license, or a regular driver license, or they may obtain a standalone North Carolina motorbike license if they prefer. If drivers wish to get a standalone license for motorcycle use, they must obtain a motorbike learner permit under the NCDMV. Motorists cannot apply for a full motorbike license (or a complete provisional license) until they hold a learner permit for a 12-month period and meet all other motorcycle licensing qualifications, including age requirements. As such, drivers must be at least 15 years of age to obtain a learner permit. After one year, drivers may get a motorcycle license, including a full provisional license if they are between the ages of 16 and 18, or they may get a standard license if they are older than 18 years of age.

As part of the NC motorbike driver license requirements, drivers and all passengers must wear a motorcycle helmet that complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS). These types of helmets feature the “DOT” symbol on the backside of the equipment. Although it is not a motorcycle license requirement under state law, it is important to wear face and eye protection and additional protective gear as well.

How can I get a motorcycle license in North Carolina?

When getting your motorcycle license in NC, you must hold a learner permit for 12 months before you may obtain a full license for a motorbike. If you are not ready to get a motorcycle license after one year, you may renew your permit one time to give yourself six additional months to prepare for your licensing tests. Before applying for motorcycle license credentials, however, you must complete a motorbike safety course if you are younger than 18 years of age. Motorbike license safety courses are available under the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Education Program. You must use your own approved motorcycle helmet and protective gear when completing either safety course, but you do not need to bring your own motorcycle. If you are older than 18 years of age, you may still choose to complete a motorcycle safety course if you wish, as these courses are available to all motorcyclists who are at least 16 years of age.

Additionally, you cannot obtain a DMV motorcycle license in North Carolina until you pass a vision screening, traffic signs test and a motorcycle knowledge exam. To increase your chances of passing your motorcycle license exams, you must study the state’s Motorcyclists’ Handbook. If you successfully complete a motorbike driving license safety course, you will receive a skills waiver card after completing the program. If you receive a waiver card, you do not need to complete a motorcycle riding test through the NCDMV, but you will need to pass a written exam.

Note: If you are wondering where to get motorcycle license credentials, it is important to remember that you must apply in person at a driver license office. You cannot get a motorcycle license online in North Carolina, even if you complete a portion of your safety course online. In addition, you must submit payment for motorcycle licensing fees in the form of cash, credit card, money order or personal check. When getting a motorcycle license, you must also submit two identification documents and proof of your Social Security Number, as well as a driving eligibility certificate and a driver education credential.

North Carolina Motorcycle Endorsement Requirements

Instead of applying for motorcycle license credentials, drivers may add an NC motorbike endorsement to their current provisional license, regular driver credential or commercial license if they feel confident in their abilities and if they are at least 16 years of age. Additionally, motorbike license applicants must complete a motorcycle safety course if they are younger than 18 years of age, or if they wish to improve their riding skills. Before motorists may get a motorcycle license endorsement, however, they must pass a knowledge exam before they may complete a driving skills test. After passing these motorcycle endorsement tests, drivers must pay all appropriate fees in the form of money order, cash, personal checks or credit card. The motorcycle license cost for endorsements is $2.30 annually.

To get a North Carolina DMV motorcycle license endorsement, drivers must complete and pass the following tests:

  • Vision test
  • Sign test – including regulatory and warning signs
  • Motorcycle knowledge exam – includes safe driving practices and traffic laws, including motorcycle helmet regulations
  • On-cycle skills test – motorcycle road test

Alternately, bike operators may get a permit followed by a motorcycle drivers license instead of an endorsement if they do not feel confident in their ability to pass the skills portion of the test. However, NC motorcycle license applicants must first obtain a learner permit and pass a vision, traffic signs test and a knowledge exam before they may obtain their full DMV motorbike license in the state. If drivers choose to complete a motorcycle safety course, they will be exempt from completing the road skills test through the NCDMV.

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