How to Apply for a New Motorcycle License in Kentucky
A Kentucky motorcycle license is required before you can legally operate a motorcycle on public roads in the state. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet determines the rules for licensing, while motorbike license applications are processed by Circuit Court Clerks in the county where you live. Any driving tests you may need to complete will be administered by the Kentucky State Police.
Before you can apply for a motorbike license, you will need to hold a learner’s permit regardless of your age. The length of time you must hold a permit varies depending on how old you are. After you have met the permit requirements, you can apply for a motorcycle driving license that will allow you to operate motorcycles and other classes of vehicles that you were previously licensed to drive. If you do not want to operate anything other than a scooter, then you can also get a separate license that is only valid for driving vehicles that are classified as mopeds. Below, learn everything you need to know about getting a license to drive a motorcycle or moped in Kentucky.
Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Kentucky
If you want to get a motorbike license in KY, then you must start by obtaining a learner’s permit first. The minimum motorcycle permit age in Kentucky is 18 years of age if you do not already have a license. You can apply at 16 years of age if you have a valid operator license in your possession.
Requirements for motorcycle permit and license credentials include holding your permit for a minimum of 180 days if you obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit when you are younger than 21 years of age. If you are 21 years of age or older when you apply for a permit, then you need to carry your permit for at least 30 days.
The documents requirements for your motorcycle permit application will vary based on your age and whether you already have a driver’s license. If you have a regular operator’s license in your possession when you apply, then you do not need to provide identity documents due to the fact that you will have already submitted these when you applied for your license. Documents such as a birth certificate, Social Security card and mail addressed to you at your residence will be required if you do not have a driver’s license already.
To apply for a motorcycle permit when you are younger than 18 years of age, you will need to have a school verification form that can be picked up from your school administrator.
Kentucky Motorcycle Permit Restrictions
Motorcycle permits do not come with the same privileges as a regular driver’s license. When using your motorcycle permit, you are not allowed to carry passengers and you must wear eye protection whenever the motorcycle is in motion. If you are younger than 21 years of age, then you are also required to wear a helmet. Furthermore, you may not operate a bike with a motorcycle instruction permit between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. unless you have a good cause for driving, such as work, school or an emergency.
How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Kentucky
A motorcycle permit application must be submitted in person to the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where you live. If you are younger than 18 years of age, then you must bring a parent, guardian or another adult 21 years of age or older who can sign your application promising to assume financial responsibility for you.
Getting a motorcycle permit will require passing a vision and knowledge test. Motorcycle instruction permits are valid for one year but they can be renewed once if you need more time to practice riding.
Kentucky Motorcycle License Requirements
Getting a motorcycle license is the next step in obtaining credentials will full driving privileges. Once you have held your permit for the required number of days (30 or 180 days), you can apply for a license either by taking a skills test or by completing an approved safety course.
The minimum motorcycle license age is 18 years of age if you do not already hold a regular operator’s license. You can apply for your bike license at 16 years of age provided that you have obtained your regular license already.
You usually only need to present your credentials along with your motorbike learner’s permit when you apply for a license to drive a motorcycle if you already have a driver’s license. You will need to bring your motorbike permit along with a birth certificate, Social Security card and mail showing your address if you do not have a driver’s license already.
Applicants younger than 18 years of age may need to present a school enrollment form in addition to having a parent, guardian or another responsible adult 21 years of age or older sign their application. This may be necessary even if the applicant went through these steps when getting a permit.
How to Get a Motorcycle License in Kentucky
Once you have gathered the appropriate documentation for your motorcycle license, visit a Circuit Court Clerk’s office in your county to submit your application. Next, complete a vision and knowledge test at the nearest Kentucky State Police testing center. If you have not completed a motorcycle safety course, then be prepared to take a riding exam as well before your credentials will be issued. Upon meeting these requirements, your card will be issued through the mail and you simply have to wait for it to arrive.
Under Kentucky Law, you must wear protective headgear when using your motorbike license until you turn 21 years of age. No matter your age, the law also states that you must wear a helmet during the first year that you use your license.
Getting a Kentucky Motorbike License as a New Resident
You must get a Kentucky motorcycle license within 30 days of becoming a resident of the state. Because this will be your first time applying for a license in Kentucky, you must provide documentation verifying your identity and residency in the state. To get you motorbike license, be sure to bring your out-of-state license, proof of residency, Social Security card and birth certificate. If your name has changed from the one printed on any of these documents, then show a marriage certificate, divorce decree or another court document to verify your identity.
A motorcycle license test will not be required if you currently have an endorsement or license for driving a motorcycle from your former state and your license has not been expired for more than one year. When transferring a license that expired more than one year ago, you need to provide a letter of clearance or get a driving record from your old state. A knowledge exam and vision test will be required if your license has been expired for any length of time.
Required Motorcycle Classes in Kentucky
Motorcycle safety courses are not a prerequisite for getting a license or permit, but you can receive many benefits from enrolling in a class. The Kentucky Motorcycle Program (KMP) run by the Traffic Safety Institute at Eastern Kentucky University is the state-approved course provider.
Beginner motorbike classes include 16 to 18 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on activities. Those who complete motorcycle safety classes will receive a certificate that can be used to waive the skills test for getting a license. As an added benefit, enrollees who are younger than 18 years of age can take the class for free. Class registration information is available by calling 1-859-622-1153.
Kentucky Motorcycle Tests
Tests you may need to take before getting a motorbike license in Kentucky include a vision screening, knowledge test and road skills exam. Testing is conducted by the Kentucky State Police at courthouses and judicial centers in counties throughout the state.
Motorcycle Written Test
The DMV motorcycle written test is based on information found in the Kentucky Motorcycle Manual, which you will want to read thoroughly before taking your exam. Questions cover a wide range of topics including safe riding, crash avoidance, traffic laws and more. Most counties offer written motorcycle tests only a few days of the week, so you will want to check when exams are provided in your area before visiting the State Police testing center.
Motorcycle Road Test
A motorcycle driving test requires you to perform various maneuvers under the direction of an examiner. You will be scored based on your ability to choose the correct speed and execute each exercise successfully. Before going to a testing center to take your riding test, it is important to note that most counties require you to make an appointment. Because motorcycle tests are less in demand, they are usually only offered a few days per week or as infrequently as once or twice per month.
Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Kentucky?
If you only want to operate a moped and no other class of vehicle, then you can apply for a license to do so. The moped license application process involves passing a knowledge test and vision test. You do not need to get a permit or pass a skills exam to get a license to operate a moped.
Mopeds are defined as vehicles with no more than two-brake horsepower, an automatic transmission, a maximum speed of 30 mph and an engine capacity of less than 50cc. You can operate a moped in Kentucky as long as you are at least 16 years of age and hold an instruction permit or a higher level of credential such as a regular operator’s license.
Kentucky Motorcycle License Cost
Motorcycle license fees vary depending on whether you want a standard ID or a “voluntary travel ID,” which will be mandatory when boarding domestic airline flights and entering federal property or military bases starting in 2020. A standard motorcycle driver’s license will cost $43, whereas a voluntary travel ID license costs $48. A standard motorcycle instruction permit costs $15, compared to $18 for a travel ID.
Kentucky Motorcycle License Forms
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Motorcycles & Mopeds from KY.gov
- Kentucky Motorcycle Manual from kentuckystatepolice.org
- Drivers Testing Schedule by County from kentuckystatepolice.org