How to Apply for a New Motorcycle License in Louisiana
A Louisiana motorcycle license is required before you can operate any motor-driven cycle with more than five-brake horsepower on public roadways. When you apply for a motorbike license, you will not receive a separate credential. Instead, the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) will add an endorsement onto your existing license or learner’s permit. The M endorsement indicates that you are qualified to drive motorcycles in addition to whichever class of vehicle you were originally licensed to drive.
To add a motorcycle endorsement to your license, you will need to prove that you meet the eligibility requirements, pay a fee and pass the required examinations. Taking a motorcycle safety course is not a prerequisite for getting a license but it is highly recommended as it will help you become a more skilled and knowledgeable rider. Below, learn everything you need to know about endorsements in Louisiana including the required fees, documentation and tests.
Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Louisiana
Obtaining a motorcycle permit in Louisiana is not an option like it is in some other states. In states that issue permits, you can obtain this credential in order to practice riding a motorcycle before taking your exams. Because the Louisiana OMV does not offer motorcycle permits, the only way to practice riding your motorcycle prior to taking exams is to enroll in a rider safety class, which usually provides a variety of hands-on exercises. You cannot drive your motorcycle on public roadways until you have obtained your endorsement.
Louisiana Motorcycle License Requirements
The most important requirement you must meet for getting a motorcycle license is that you already hold a regular driver’s license, learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license. This is because endorsements can only be added to an existing driving credential.
The minimum motorcycle license age is the same as that for getting a license or permit since you must obtain one of these credentials before you can apply for an endorsement. The minimum permit age is 15 years of age, while the minimum age for getting a driver’s license is 17 years of age. Note that you will have to meet all of the requirements for obtaining a permit or license if you have not done so already, which, depending on your age, may include taking driver’s ed and completing separate knowledge and skills tests for a passenger car or other class of vehicle.
In addition to meeting the age requirements, you must also be a resident of Louisiana, pass a motorcycle knowledge test and complete a riding skills test at the OMV. As an alternative, you can waive the testing requirements by taking a safety class instead.
Because you will already have a driver’s license or permit in your possession when getting a motorcycle endorsement, you generally do not need to provide identity or residency documents to prove your eligibility. However, if any personal details such as your name or address have changed, then bring documentation that verifies the new name or address change information.
A marriage certificate, divorce decree or another court document can provide evidence of your name change, while showing mail addressed to your new residence or a voter registration card, among other documentation, can be used for an address change.
Louisiana Motorcycle Endorsement Restrictions
If you are between 15 and 16 years of age and want to add a motorcycle endorsement to your learner’s permit, then keep in mind that you are restricted to driving no more than three miles from your residence or the residence of a parent or relative who you are currently staying with. Overall, your motorbike endorsement will generally come with the same restrictions as your learner’s permit.
How to Get a Motorcycle License in Louisiana
The first step in obtaining a motorbike endorsement in LA is to visit one of the OMV office locations and submit an application. Drivers who are younger than 18 years of age when they apply for a motorcycle endorsement should be prepared to have a parent or guardian sign their application, as this is common practice on any application for a minor’s driving privilege.
Next, drivers will either need to take a road rules test and skills test or provide a certificate of completion from an approved rider safety course. Finally, applicants must pay a fee in order to receive their new credentials. When asking, “How long does it take to get a motorcycle license?” keep in mind that time must be allowed for a new card to be sent in the mail.
Getting a Louisiana Motorcycle License as a New Resident
If you have recently moved to Louisiana and have a motorcycle license endorsement from a different state, then you must transfer your driving credentials within 30 days of establishing residency. In most cases, you will not need to take a motorcycle written test or road skills test if your current license is still valid (not expired).
All new residents are required to take a vision test at the OMV as part of the licensing application process. Next, motorists will surrender their out-of-state driving credentials and provide the following documentation:
- One primary document such as a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, passport, permanent resident card, military ID card or other similar documents
- One secondary document, which may include the out-of-state driver’s license, a Social Security card, a photo ID card or other paperwork
- Proof of vehicle insurance on any vehicle that will be registered in Louisiana
- If the out-of-state driver’s license is lost, a letter of clearance or official driving record from the driver’s former state
Required Motorcycle Classes in Louisiana
Taking a motorcycle class is not mandatory before getting your endorsement but you may find that it is highly beneficial. A basic rider course in Louisiana will teach you the fundamentals you need to know in order to be a safe and effective rider. These classes, as well as more advanced courses, are provided by the Motorcycle Safety Program under the Louisiana State Police.
Basic riding courses include a minimum of 15 hours of instruction both in a classroom and out in the field. You will learn about the attitude and knowledge necessary for riding a motorcycle, as well as the laws, safety gear and other factors that will affect your ride.
Louisiana Motorcycle Test Details
You will need to take a written motorcycle test and skills test at the OMV if you do not want to complete a rider safety class. Remember, completing one of these courses will allow you to waive the testing requirements (except vision screenings) when you apply for an endorsement.
Motorcycle Written Test
The written motorcycle test contains information from the Motorcycle Operator’s Manual provided by the OMV. Reading this manual is one of the best ways to prepare for your exam, but note that you cannot refer to it or any other materials while taking your test. Any form of cheating or attempt at cheating will terminate your test and you will need to wait at least 30 days before you can have a second attempt.
You must get a score of at least 80 percent to pass your test. If you fail the motorcycle endorsement written test, then you can retake it on the same day, but you will have to go through the waiting line again rather than being able to retake the exam immediately.
Motorcycle Driving Test
When it comes to the riding skills test, you must provide your own motorcycle and it must have current license plates, inspection stickers and insurance coverage. During motorcycle tests in Louisiana, you are required to wear a helmet and it is recommended that you wear other safety gear such as long pants, a jacket and gloves. The skills test includes a variety of maneuvers, which you must perform safely and effectively in order to pass. Driving at an inappropriate speed, stalling your bike or other actions may be counted against you.
Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Louisiana?
Motorcycle endorsements are required before you can operate any motor-driven cycle that has an engine in excess of five-brake horsepower. Therefore, most motorized bicycles, mopeds, scooters or other similar, low-power vehicles do not require a special endorsement. As long as your vehicle is under five horsepower, you can operate it with a regular Class E license or higher.
Louisiana Motorcycle License Cost
When looking at motorcycle license costs in Louisiana, it is important to remember that endorsements are added to your existing license. As a result, you must pay an endorsement fee in addition to a fee for a new driver’s license card. Costs that may be associated with adding an endorsement to your license include:
- $12 for the endorsement itself.
- $20.25 for a new Class E license.
- $12 handling fee for the endorsement
- $12 handling fee for your new license.
Note that some OMV offices may charge an additional service fee ranging from $.50 to $6 on top of any handling fees.