How to Apply for a New Motorcycle License in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, a motorcycle license must be obtained before you can legally operate a motorcycle within the state. Therefore, it is important to learn how to obtain a new motorbike license and how to transfer a valid out of state license after establishing residency in Massachusetts. To obtain a license for the first time, you will be required to first complete a knowledge exam and earn a learner’s permit. From here, you can either choose to complete the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) or complete a road skill exam with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
Obtaining an RMV motorcycle license will include several different fees, such as a learner’s permit fee, road skill exam fee, MREP fee and licensing fee. In the sections that have been provided below, you will learn more about these fees as well as receive step-by-step instructions on how and where to obtain a license within the state.
What is a Massachusetts motorcycle endorsement?
A Massachusetts motorcycle endorsement is an endorsement that can be added to any class of driver’s license to add privileges relating to legally riding a motorcycle. In addition to providing drivers with the ability to add a motorcycle endorsement, the state of Massachusetts also offers motorcycle-only licenses. These licenses are different than standard licenses, as they do not include privileges related to driving cars, trucks, etc. Therefore, Massachusetts residents are not required to complete the standard driver’s license application process before seeking motorcycle driving privileges.
Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Massachusetts
The minimum motorcycle permit age is 16 in Massachusetts. However, there are a number of other requirements for motorcycle permit credentials that must be met before you can acquire a permit within the state. If you are interested in obtaining a license for a motorcycle, then you must obtain a permit in order to move forward on your path towards that license regardless of whether or not you intend to participate in the Massachusetts Rider Education Program.
To meet requirements for a motorcycle permit, you must:
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Be a resident of Massachusetts.
- Be a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident of the U.S.
- Not hold a driver’s license or learner’s permit in any other state.
- Not have any outstanding financial obligations to any state including Massachusetts.
- Be able to provide the appropriate documentation and fees alongside an application.
- Obtain parental consent, if you are younger than 18 years of age.
- Be able to pass a written motorcycle test.
- Be able to pass a vision exam.
Document requirements for a motorcycle permit are:
- Proof of lawful presence (one document).
- Proof of name change (one document, only required if your name does not match the one that appears on your lawful presence document).
- Proof of Social Security Number (one document).
- Proof of Massachusetts residency (one document for a standard permit or two for a REAL ID permit).
Massachusetts Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions
It is important to ask, “What does a motorcycle permit allow you to do in Massachusetts?” as each state has its own laws related to permits and restrictions. In Massachusetts, you will have the following restrictions when operating a motorcycle with a learner’s permit:
- You may only operate a motorcycle during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset).
- You may not carry passengers on your motorcycle.
- You are required to wear a helmet and eye protection. Eye protection will not be required if your motorcycle has a windshield or windscreen.
- You may not operate a motorcycle in another state if that state’s laws prevent you from doing so.
- You must always carry your motorcycle permit with you when operating a motorcycle.
How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Massachusetts
To obtain a motorcycle permit in Massachusetts, you must submit an application for a permit to one of the MA RMV office locations. You can save time at the RMV by starting your motorcycle permit application online. While you cannot process your permit application online, you can complete an online application and obtain a list of documents that you will need to bring with you to an RMV service center.
To obtain an RMV motorcycle permit in Massachusetts, you will need to successfully pass a knowledge exam during your visit. These exams are available on a walk-in basis during regular business hours until one hour before the center will close. After completing the motorcycle learners permit exam, you will be required to pass a vision exam for basic field or vision as well as basic colors.
During your visit to the RMV, you must submit your documentation and the fee for the permit. Payments are accepted by cash, check, money order, credit card and debit card. Successful applicants will receive a permit that is separate from their driver’s license during their visit to the RMV. Permits will remain valid for a period of two years and they cannot be renewed at this time.
Massachusetts Motorcycle License Requirements
There are a number of requirements for a motorcycle license in Massachusetts that must be met before a license can be issued. These requirements for a motorcycle license include the following:
- You must be at least 16 years of age (parental consent required for any teen younger than 18)
- You must have already acquired a learner’s permit
- You must successfully pass a Class M road test or complete the Motorcycle Rider Education Program (teens younger than 18 are required to complete rider education)
- You must be a Massachusetts resident
- You must be a lawful resident of the U.S. or a United States citizen
- You must pass a vision exam and submit to having your photograph taken
Documentation requirements for a motorcycle license are the same as the ones needed for the permit. However, you must also bring in proof of MREP course completion if applicable.
How to Get a Motorcycle License in Massachusetts
When asking, “How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in Massachusetts?” it is important to know that the length of time that it may take to acquire your license will depend on you. The state does not require you to hold a motorcycle permit for a set period of time and you can schedule a road skill exam or participate in the Motorcycle Rider Education Program whenever you feel ready.
To obtain a Massachusetts motorcycle license, you will be required to first obtain a learner’s permit and then either pass the road skill exam or an MREP course. Should you choose to attempt a road skill exam, you can schedule your exam either online or by calling the RMV contact center at 1-800-858-3926. There is a road test fee of $35 for each attempt. If you fail your road skill exam, then you will be required to wait a minimum of two weeks before attempting the test again.
Alternatively, motorcycle classes through the MREP can help you obtain a license as the successful completion of this course will provide you with a waiver for the road skill exam.
You can apply for a motorbike license in person at your local RMV after you have completed one of these two options. You will need to submit an application and provide all of your necessary documentation as well as complete a vision exam and have your photo taken.
Getting a Massachusetts Motorcycle License as a New Resident
When getting a motorcycle license in Massachusetts, it is important to know that the process of doing so will be different for individuals transferring out-of-state licenses after establishing residency within the state. Massachusetts law requires you to transfer your license to an MA license within 30 days from the date that you become a resident of the state.
To get a motorcycle license, you will need to complete an application. While you cannot process your application online, you do have the option of completing it online in order to reduce your wait time at your local RMV. You must present your completed application and required documentation to an RMV service center. Documents that must be submitted include:
- One proof of lawful presence.
- One proof of name change if your name does not match the one that appears on your lawful presence document.
- One proof of Social Security Number.
- One proof of Massachusetts residency or two proofs for a REAL ID license.
If you are younger than 18 years of age, then you may be required to complete a motorcycle safety course in MA unless you took a similar course in another state that is approved by the Massachusetts RMV. If you are transferring a license from Canada, Mexico or a U.S. territory, then you will be required to also provide a record of driving that is no more than 30 days old. You will also be required to complete a vision exam.
When transferring an out of state motorcycle license, it is also important to know that you will only be required to complete written and road exams if your license has been expired for more than one year. If your license is valid or has been expired for less than one year, no testing will be required other than the vision exam.
Required Motorcycle Classes in Massachusetts
Massachusetts motorcycle classes are heavily encouraged for new riders of any age. The Motorcycle Rider Education Program provides a variety of courses that, with course completion, will waive the road motorcycle driving test requirement with the RMV. In MA, there are four types of rider courses that provide this waiver including the:
- Basic Rider Course. The Basic Rider Course teaches basic motorcycling skills through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training.
- Basic Rider Course 2. This course teaches students advanced riding techniques, defensive riding skills and crash avoidance techniques.
- S/TEP Basic Course. This is a 16-hour basic course that is designed to provide knowledge and skills to three-wheel riders.
- S/TEP Advanced Course. This is an eight-hour, one-day course for riders who have previous experience with a three-wheel sidecar or trike. This course provides advanced knowledge and skills for three-wheel motorcycles.
A complete list of motorcycle safety course providers can be found online. In order to participate in a course, you must be at least 16 years of age. Many motorcycle courses require you to bring your own motorcycle and proof of meeting the auto insurance requirements while others provide training motorcycles.
Motorcycle courses may set their own requirements, including apparel requirements. Massachusetts does not regulate fees and, therefore, fees can vary heavily between the types of courses and providers. All courses combine classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. While some courses may include some online instruction, fully online courses are not permitted.
Massachusetts DMV Motorcycle Test Details
There is a motorcycle test to obtain a permit (written test) and obtain a license (road test) in Massachusetts. The motorcycle permit test is required for any individual who is seeking a license for a motorcycle or a motorcycle endorsement. The road test is optional, as applicants can instead complete an MREP course to obtain a license.
You can attempt a motorcycle permit test so long as you are at least 16 years of age and, if younger than 18 years of age, you have parental consent. You must also be a resident of Massachusetts and a U.S. citizen or lawful resident within the United States.
After completing the written exam, a permit will remain valid for a two-year period. There is no minimum amount of time that you must wait before attempting the road skill exam or enrolling into an MREP class. However, if you fail the road skill exam, then you will be required to wait two weeks to retest and you must pay the fee for the exam again.
Motorcycle Written Test
The written RMV motorcycle test is a timed test in which you will have 25 minutes to complete. The exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. In order to successfully pass the exam, you must answer at least 18 of the questions correctly. Exam questions consist of:
- The rules of the road.
- The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Sharing the road with the visually impaired.
- Sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians.
You can study the motorcycle operator’s manual beforehand to prepare for the exam as all exam questions are covered in this manual.
Motorcycle Road Test
The road motorcycle test can be attempted at any point following the issuance of a learner’s permit. For this motorcycle driving exam, you must schedule your test online or over the phone. On the day of your test, it is important that you bring the following:
- A completed road test application
- Your learners permit
- An acceptable motorcycle with proof of proper vehicle registration and proof of insurance
As part of the exam, you will be required to demonstrate your ability to operate a motorcycle safely and in accordance with Massachusetts traffic laws. Should you fail to pass the exam, your exam fee will not be refunded and you must wait at least two weeks before scheduling another exam.
Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts motorcycle license is not required to operate a motorized scooter within the state, so long as the scooter:
- Cannot drive faster than 20 miles per hour.
- Cannot carry any passengers.
Scooters can only be legally operated before sunset and after sunrise and they cannot be driven on limited-access or express state highways. Protective headgear is required when operating a scooter and you must stay on the right side of the road. While a license for a motorcycle is not required, you must have a driver’s license to operate a scooter.
Massachusetts Motorcycle License Costs
In order to determine the motorcycle license cost in Massachusetts, it is important to review the specific fees that you may be required to pay for your permit, testing and license. These fees include:
- A learners permit for a motorcycle — $30.
- Road Test fee (applicants who are not participating in MREP. MREP fees vary.) — $35 per attempt.
- Motorcycle endorsement on an existing license — $15.
- Motorcycle-only license — $50.
- Out-of-state license and motorcycle endorsement conversion fee — $130.
- Out of state motorcycle only license conversion fee — $115.
Cash, credit card, debit card, check and money order payments are all accepted at the RMV.