How to Apply for a New Motorcycle License in Alabama
A motorcycle license in Alabama will allow you to operate a motorbike or motor-driven cycle. To obtain an AL motorbike license, you will need to meet the age requirements and pass tests that are specific to operating a motorcycle safely. Once you get a license, it will remain valid for four years, after which you will need to renew your credentials in order to keep them valid.
For motorcycle licensing purposes, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) defines a motorcycle as a motor vehicle with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground equipped with a seat or saddle that the rider sits in. The definition of a motor-driven cycle, on the other hand, includes every motorcycle weighing less than 200 pounds with an engine 150cc or smaller that does not exceed five brake horsepower. Note that bicycles with attached motors fit into this definition, but tractors and other farm equipment do not. Below, learn more about the motorcycle classes you can take and discover all of the licensing requirements you must meet in order to get your credentials.
What is an Alabama motorcycle endorsement?
Some states allow drivers to simply add a motorcycle endorsement onto an existing driver’s license that grants them permission to operate other types of vehicles in addition to a passenger car. However, motorcycle endorsements are not available in Alabama, meaning that motorists must obtain a separate credential to operate one of these vehicles. Driving a motorcycle requires either a class M license or a motor-driven cycle license. Applying for a class D license, on the other hand, will grant to drivers permission to operate passenger vehicles only.
Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Alabama
Unlike some states, Alabama does not issue a motorcycle permit to drivers who are learning how to operate a motorbike. Under the graduated driver license law in AL, motorists only need to get a permit (also known as a learner’s license) before getting a regular driver’s license.
A motor-driven cycle license shares some similarities with a learner’s license, but keep in mind that this type of credential is not a permit. Therefore, you do not need to obtain this credential before applying for a license. In other words, there is not an additional learner’s permit requirement if you want to operate both a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle.
Alabama Motorcycle License Requirements
The requirements for motorcycle license credentials vary depending on whether you want to operate a motor-driven cycle or a regular motorcycle. The minimum motorcycle license age for a motor-driven cycle is 14 years of age. To get an M class license, which allows you to operate other motorcycles, you must be at least 16 years of age. If you already hold a motor-driven cycle license when you turn 16 years of age, then you can visit one of the ALEA driver license office locations to get a license that will allow you to operate both motorcycles and motor-driven cycles if you wish.
Getting either type of motorcycle license credential will require that you pass a knowledge test based on questions from the Alabama Motorcycle Manual and demonstrate your riding skills. However, to waive the testing requirements, you may submit proof of completing a safety course.
In addition to meeting the age and testing requirements, you will also need to meet the basic eligibility criteria that apply to all drivers who want to get a license in Alabama. To get any type of license from the ALEA, you must be a U.S. citizen or be legally present in the U.S. and pay the appropriate licensing fee.
When applying for motorbike licenses, you will need to provide your Social Security card or a letter stating that you are ineligible for a Social Security Number. In addition, you should be prepared to show at least one “primary” and one “secondary” document. Primary documents include:
- A certified U.S. birth certificate or U.S. certificate of birth abroad.
- A U.S. passport.
- An Alabama ID card or driver’s license.
- A certificate of naturalization or citizenship.
- A resident alien card.
- A foreign passport with a U.S. immigration document.
Secondary documents for the motorcycle license application process can include an out-of-state driver’s license, an international driver’s license, a marriage license, a military ID card, a W-2 tax form, a professional license or other similar documentation. If you do not have a form of photo identification, then you should be prepared to show three forms of identification rather than two, one of which must be from the “primary” list.
How to Get a Motorcycle License in Alabama
When asking where to get motorcycle license credentials, you will have to visit an ALEA licensing office in person. Forms are not available online, meaning that you cannot fill out any of the motorbike license application materials ahead of time. Note that there are many local offices throughout the state, but in most cases, only an ALEA office will be able to issue new licenses.
When visiting the driver’s license office, be sure to bring your identification documents, a method of payment and proof that you have completed a safety class (if applicable). Be prepared to take a knowledge exam and driving test if you have not completed a safety class. Motorbike licenses will be delivered once you meet all of the requirements and have paid the applicable fee and will remain valid for a period of four years after issuance.
Getting an Alabama Motorcycle License as a New Resident
When you move to Alabama from a different state, you must update your credentials within 30 days of becoming a resident. Getting a motorcycle license in Alabama will require paying a $5 transfer fee as a fee to obtain a new license. You will also need to provide your out-of-state license, your Social Security card and one additional form of primary identification such as a birth certificate, passport or citizenship certificate.
You do not need to take a motorcycle test in AL if your out-of-state license is valid. If your license has been expired for more than one year, then you should be prepared to take a test or submit proof of completing a safety course.
Likewise, motorcycles brought into the state by new residents will need to be registered through the state’s vehicle registration process, which requires bikes to have the minimum motorcycle insurance requirements.
Required Motorbike Classes in Alabama
A motorcycle class in Alabama may be taken if you want to skip taking the test for getting your license. Approved classes are offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). A basic rider course (BRC) is the most common type of course taken to satisfy this requirement. The BRC covers both classroom lessons and hands-on learning that will help you understand the fundamentals of operating a motorcycle.
A motorcycle safety course is not a requirement for getting a license, but these classes are always beneficial in helping you become a better rider. Motorcycle classes can either be taken online or in person, but note that an online-only course will not meet the requirements for waiving your tests at an ALEA office.
Alabama DMV Motorcycle Test Details
Alabama used to be the only state in which a motorcycle license test was not required, but legislation was passed in 2015 to change this. In order to get a motorbike license, you will now need to pass a knowledge test based on information in the Motorcycle Operator Manual, which is available online or from ALEA offices. It is recommended that you review the manual and answer the practice questions it contains in order to prepare.
Upon passing the knowledge test, you will also need to take a motorcycle driving test in AL to demonstrate that you know how to safely operate your bike. Depending on which ALEA office you choose, the skills test may be administered in traffic or in an off-street area. The examiner will evaluate your knowledge of your bike and your ability to accelerate, stop, steer and make other maneuvers safely.
Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Alabama?
A motor-driven cycle license is required in order to operate mopeds, scooters, motorized bicycles and other similar vehicles with an engine capacity of 150cc or less. This is because mopeds and other small bikes are classified as motor-driven cycles by law in Alabama. Remember, you can get a motorcycle license to operate a motor-driven cycle starting at 14 years of age. This type of license is not required to operate non-automobile vehicles such as ATVs and farm equipment.
Alabama Motorcycle Costs
The motorcycle license cost in AL is $36.25 for a new license. If you need to take a test, then you will need to pay an additional $5 fee. In the event you lose or damage your credentials, the fee to replace your card is $31.25. Note that ALEA offices do not accept checks as a form of payment.