In Michigan, a motorcycle license must be applied for and obtained before you can legally operate a motorcycle. Therefore, it is important to learn how to acquire a motorbike license for the first time and how to transfer an out-of-state license after establishing residency within the state. In Michigan, you can acquire a license in one of two ways. You can obtain a learners permit by passing a knowledge exam and then pass a road skill exam or you can participate in the Michigan Rider Education Program (Mi-REP).

When obtaining DMV motorcycle credentials in Michigan, it is worth taking the time to review the licensing application process, including the documents that you must provide to the Secretary of State (SOS) and how you can submit an application. Furthermore, it is important to review the fees that you must pay for a permit and license within the state.

What is a Michigan motorcycle endorsement?

In Michigan, a motorcycle endorsement is referred to as a CY endorsement (cycle endorsement). This motorcycle endorsement can be added to any class of driver’s license in order to grant motorcycle driving privileges. Without this endorsement, you cannot legally operate a motorcycle within the state.

Additionally, it is important to understand that the Michigan SOS does not issue motorcycle-only licenses. Therefore, applicants are required to already carry a Michigan license before adding a CY endorsement.

Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Michigan

The minimum motorcycle permit age in Michigan is 16. However, there are requirements for motorcycle permit credentials for teens who are younger than 18 years of age not only need parental consent. Minors can also only obtain a license through the successful completion of a Basic Rider Course (BRC) or a Returning Rider Basic Rider Course (RRBRC). Teens will be required to show proof of enrollment in an approved course before a learner’s permit can be obtained.

In order to obtain a permit or license for a motorcycle, all applicants must already have a Michigan driver’s license. Additional requirements for a motorcycle permit in Michigan are:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully residing within the United States.
  • You must be a resident of Michigan.
  • You must be able to provide the appropriate documentation and fees to the Michigan SOS.
  • You must be able to pass a motorcycle knowledge test.

A motorcycle permit will remain valid for 180 days and can only be obtained twice within a 10-year period. After you have obtained a permit twice, you will be required to complete a BRC or RRBRC class if your permit expires again in order to obtain a license.

Required Documents

The document requirements for a motorcycle permit in Michigan are the same as those needed when applying for a standard learner’s permit and include:

  • Proof of Social Security Number, such as with a Social Security Card or a W-2 form that includes your SSN.
  • Proof of legal presence, such as with a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, an enhanced Michigan driver’s license or a valid Permanent Resident Card (I-551).
  • Proof of Identity, such as with a state-issued identification card or driver’s license, a U.S. marriage license, a U.S. court order for a name change or a military ID card with a photo.
  • Two forms of proof of Michigan residency, such as with utility bills, recent bank account statements, or a mortgage or lease agreement.

Michigan Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions

If you are wondering, “What does a motorcycle permit allow you to do in Michigan?” then it is important to understand that, while a permit will allow you to operate a motorcycle, you may only do so under certain restrictions.

With only a motorcycle permit, you will not be able to operate a motorcycle unless you are under constant visual supervision from a licensed motorcycle operator who is at least 18 years of age. You are also not allowed to carry passengers on your motorcycle until you obtain your license.

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Michigan

To obtain a motorcycle permit in Michigan, you must visit your local SOS office, as you cannot submit an application online or by mail. All SOS motorcycle applications must be submitted in person and accompanied by the appropriate fees and documentation.

Before a permit can be issued, you must be able to successfully pass a knowledge and a vision exam. These exams can only be taken at the Michigan SOS office. If you qualify for a permit, then the office will issue you a temporary instruction permit that must be carried with you alongside your Michigan driver’s license whenever operating a motorcycle.

Michigan Motorcycle License Requirements

The minimum motorcycle license age in Michigan is 16 years of age. However, teens who are 16 and 17 years of age will be required to complete motorcycle safety through an approved Basic Rider Course or Returning Rider Basic Rider Course before a CY endorsement can be issued onto an existing Michigan driver’s license.

Additional requirements for a motorcycle license include the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully residing within the United States
  • Be a resident of Michigan
  • Be able to provide the appropriate documentation and fees to the Michigan SOS
  • Either pass a road skill exam or successfully complete a BRC or RRBRC class
  • Already have a valid Michigan driver’s license

Required Documents

Document-related requirements for a motorcycle license in Michigan include:

  • Proof of Social Security Number, such as with a Social Security Card or a W-2 form that includes your SSN.
  • Proof of legal presence, such as with a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, an enhanced Michigan driver’s license or a valid Permanent Resident Card (I-551).
  • Proof of Identity, such as with a state-issued driver’s license, a U.S. marriage license, a U.S. court order for a name change or a military ID card with a photo.
  • Two forms of proof of Michigan residency, such as with utility bills, recent bank account statements, or a mortgage or lease agreement.
  • A certificate of completion from an approved educational course, unless you completed the skills test with the Michigan SOS.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Michigan

When asking, “How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in Michigan?” it is important to know that the amount of time that it can take to obtain a license will depend on the method that you choose for obtaining one. Getting a motorcycle license can be done in two different ways in Michigan.

One method of getting a motorcycle license getting a motorcycle license includes the following steps:

  1. Register for a Basic Rider Course or Returning Rider Basic Rider Course
  2. Successfully complete the course and receive a certificate of completion from the approved sponsor
  3. Visit any of the DMV branch office locations to take a vision test, present the certificate of completion, documentation and fees related to the license application

Alternatively, you can obtain a license by following these more traditional steps:

  1. Visit an SOS branch office to pass a vision and written knowledge test and then apply for a temporary instruction permit
  2. Practice riding for up to 180 days with an endorsement and licensed motorcyclist
  3. Learn how to schedule an appointment and successfully pass a rider skill test
  4. Provide your local SOS office with a completed license application, fees and required documents

To get a motorcycle license as a teen who is younger than 18 years of age, you may only obtain a license by completing a course through the Michigan Rider Education Program. You will also be required to complete a course to obtain a license if you have already received two temporary instruction permits or if you have previously failed your road skill exam twice.

Once a CY endorsement can be issued, you will receive a new driver’s license by mail that will include your endorsement. A temporary license will be issued to you during your visit to the SOS.

Getting a Michigan Motorcycle License as a New Resident

An out-of-state motorcycle license must be transferred to a Michigan motorcycle license shortly after you establish residency within the state. Additional knowledge and road skill exams are not generally required, so long as your out of state license is still valid. However, you will be required to successfully pass a vision exam.

You can get a motorcycle license by visiting a Michigan SOS office and submitting an application, appropriate fees and required documentation. During your visit, you must provide the following documents:

  • Proof of Social Security Number, such as with a Social Security Card or a W-2 form that includes your SSN
  • Proof of legal presence, such as with a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, an enhanced Michigan driver’s license or a valid Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
  • Proof of Identity, such as with a state-issued driver’s license, a U.S. marriage license, a U.S. court order for a name change or a military ID card with a photo
  • Two forms of proof of Michigan residency, such as with utility bills, recent bank account statements, or a mortgage or lease agreement

Required Motorcycle Classes in Michigan

There are two types of motorcycle classes in Michigan: Basic Rider Courses and Returning Rider Basic Rider Courses. The latter motorcycle training serves as a course for motorcyclists who would like to learn further safe driving practices and skills as well as additional motorcycle handling techniques.

With the successful completion of either of these classes, you will receive a certificate of completion that can be provided to the Michigan SOS in exchange for a license. By opting into an approved motorcycle training course, you will not be required to take a knowledge or road skill exam with your local SOS office. A motorcycle safety course is required to obtain a license within the state if:

  • You are younger than 18 years of age.
  • You have already exhausted the number of temporary instruction permits that you may have in a ten year period.
  • You have been unsuccessful in passing the SOS road skill exam twice.

The Basic Rider Course is 15 hours long and generally takes place over a weekend. However, some approved providers may offer schedules during the week.

The motorcycle course combines both classroom instruction and actual motorcycle operator training in a controlled off-street environment. Courses are separated between two- and three-wheeled motorcycles. For a basic course, you are not required to supply your own motorcycle, as training motorcycles are available through the provider.

Your motorcycle training will include:

  • The basics. You will learn what you are required and recommended to wear when riding as well as how to start, stop and control your motorcycle.
  • Street strategies. The course will teach you how to operate a motorcycle in a safe and lawful manner. You will also learn how to maneuver your motorcycle in tough situations and strategies for navigating traffic.

When attending a motorcycle license class in Michigan, you will be required to bring and wear the following items with you:

  • A DOT-complaint or Snell-approved helmet
  • A long sleeve shirt or a long sleeve jacket
  • Heavy duty long pants
  • Eye protection (even if you have a face shield helmet)
  • Full-fingered gloves
  • Boots that have a hard sole and cover your ankles. Heels and high-top tennis shoes are not permitted
  • Rain and cold-weather apparel if driving in the rain or cold weather
  • A pencil or pen

The minimum age for the course is 15. However, a license cannot be obtained until 16 years of age.

Michigan DMV Motorcycle Test Details

A Michigan SOS motorcycle test will not be required if you choose to participate in the Michigan Rider Education Program. However, if you would rather obtain your temporary instruction motorcycle permit and then your license without any formal education, then you will be required to successfully pass both a knowledge and road skill exam.

Motorcycle Written Test

The motorcycle permit test, also referred to as a written test, must be passed before a temporary instruction permit can be issued within the state. This multiple-choice test will include a number of questions related to the basic operation of a motorcycle, Michigan traffic laws and regulations and safe driving practices. Knowledge of state laws will help you avoid traffic citations and driving points on your record.

Motorcycle Road Test

The road motorcycle test in Michigan can only be attempted twice before you will be required to complete a safety course. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have practiced operating a motorcycle thoroughly before attempting the test. During the DMV motorcycle test, you will be tested on your ability to:

  • Keep yourself and motorcycle in a safe condition.
  • Accelerate, brake and turn in a safe manner.
  • Help others see you and to appropriately communicate with other drivers.
  • Adjust your speed and position to changes in riding conditions and traffic.
  • Stop, turn quickly and cope with other problems that may arise while riding.

A DOT-approved helmet must be worn during the test and you must be able to present your valid proof of meeting the motorcycle insurance requirements and vehicle registration.

Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Michigan?

A Michigan motorcycle license is not generally required to operate a scooter within the state. However, some scooters may fit the definition of mopeds or motorcycles depending on specs of the scooter. You will need to obtain the appropriate motorcycle license before operating if your scooter must be registered as a moped or a motorcycle.

Michigan Motorcycle License Costs

By reviewing the motorcycle license cost in Michigan, you will know what to expect when visiting the SOS office to apply for a permit or a license. The cost of a temporary instruction permit is $16 and the cost of the CY endorsement is $9 in addition to your standard license fees, which are determined by the number of years for which the license will remain valid.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 6 2019.

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