A Montana motorcycle license must be obtained before operating a motorcycle or motorized scooter within the state. Therefore, it is important to learn how to apply for a motorbike license for the first time as well as how to transfer a valid out-of-state license after establishing residency within Montana. Before getting a bike license, you will be required to meet eligibility requirements, submit necessary documentation and fees, complete testing or an educational course and obtain a learner’s permit.

A DMV motorcycle license can be hard to obtain in Montana. Due to the sheer amount of fatalities of new and inexperienced cyclists, the state has made both the knowledge exam and the road skill exam considerably harder to ensure that riders are knowledge and capable before receiving a license. To learn more about the application process and required testing, you can review the information that has been provided within the sections below.

What is a Montana motorcycle endorsement?

A Montana motorcycle endorsement is an endorsement that can be added to any class of license that has been issued in the state. Driver’s licenses will still look the same, however, the motorbike endorsement is listed on the face of the license and there is an additional cost for motorcycle license renewals and duplicates.

An M endorsement can only be obtained if you already have a Montana driver’s license, as the state does not issue motorcycle-only licenses at this time.

Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Montana

The minimum motorcycle permit age in Montana is 15. However, there are requirements for motorcycle permit applicants who are younger than 16 years of age, including showing proof of the completion of an approved Montana driver’s education course before applying for a permit.
In addition to age requirements, you must:

  • Be a resident of Montana.
  • Be a United States citizen or you must be lawfully residing within the U.S.
  • Capable of providing necessary documentation and fees for the permit.
  • Have parental consent if younger than 18 years of age.
  • Already have a valid Montana driver’s license.
  • Be able to successfully pass a knowledge and vision exam.

Required Documents

The documentation requirements for a motorcycle permit in Montana include:

  • Proof of authorized presence, such as with a certified U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport or valid permanent resident card.
  • Proof of identity, such as with your Montana driver’s license.
  • Proof of Montana residency, such as with a recent utility bill, lease agreement or mortgage agreement.

Montana Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions

If you are wondering, “What does a motorcycle permit allow you to do in Montana?” it is important to understand that you may only operate a motorcycle under the supervision of a licensed driver who holds a motorcycle endorsement. Additionally, you must carry your motorcycle permit whenever operating a motorcycle and you cannot carry passengers on your motorcycle.

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Montana

To obtain a motorcycle permit in Montana you must visit one of the local DMV office locations in person and submit an application, as applications cannot be submitted by mail or online. You will need to complete a Montana driver’s education course before your visit in order to submit a motorcycle permit application if you are younger than 16 years of age. When submitting an application, you will need to provide the necessary fees and documentation as well as successfully pass a vision and knowledge exam.

A DMV motorcycle permit will be issued during your visit to the DMV so long as you qualify for a license and successfully passed the required tests. This permit will not replace your Montana driver’s license but simply allows you to operate a motorcycle under state permit restrictions.

Montana Motorcycle License Requirements

The minimum motorcycle license age in Montana is 16 years of age regardless of whether or not a permit is obtained at 15. In order to apply for a motorcycle endorsement, you must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Being a resident of Montana.
  • Having a lawful presence within the United States.
  • Having a Montana driver’s license.
  • Having already obtained a Montana learner’s permit.
  • Having completed an approved Montana motorcycle rider safety course or being capable of passing a DMV road skill exam.
  • Having parental consent if younger than 18 years of age.
  • Being able to provide the DMV office with the required documents and fees.
  • Being able to pass a vision exam.

Required Documents

Documentation requirements for a motorcycle license in Montana include:

  • Proof of authorized presence, such as with a certified U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport or valid permanent resident card.
  • Proof of identity, such as with your Montana driver’s license.
  • Proof of Montana residency, such as with a recent utility bill, lease agreement or mortgage agreement.
  • Proof of Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety Course completion if waiving the road skill exam.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Montana

When asking, “How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in Montana?” it is important to understand that there are several factors that will influence the amount of time that it will take you to obtain a license, such as your testing ability and whether or not you complete a course in motorcycle safety information. In Montana, there are two different ways that you can obtain a license.

The first step in getting a motorcycle license in Montana is to earn a learner’s permit. After, you will have the option of either completing an approved Motorcycle Rider Safety Course or successfully passing a road skill exam with the DMV. The DMV motorcycle road test is designed to be very difficult due to the number of cyclist fatalities in recent years, so some riders may be able to earn a license faster by completing a safety course.

You can get a motorcycle license after completing one of these two steps by visiting your local DMV in person to submit an application along with the required documents and fees. A temporary license will be issued to you during your visit and your new license that will include the endorsement will be mailed to you.

Getting a Montana Motorcycle License as a New Resident

If you have a motorcycle license that was issued in another state but you are a new resident of Montana, then you are required to transfer your license within 60 days from the date that you establish residency. To get an M endorsement, you must visit your local DMV and submit an application for a license. You will be required to surrender your out-of-state driver’s license as well as provide the appropriate documentation and fees.

DMV motorcycle tests may be required of any new resident. The state leaves testing requirements up to the discretion of the DMV that you visit to submit an application through. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and review Montana state traffic laws as if getting a driver’s license for the first time. Likewise, you should refresh yourself on motorcycle safe driving practices and laws before your visit.

Required Motorcycle Classes in Montana

Montana motorcycle classes are not required at any point of the licensing process. However, completing a motorcycle safety course can make it easier to obtain a license.

In Montana, the DMV motorcycle tests are designed to be very difficult to pass. However, the completion of an approved Motorcycle Rider Safety Course will provide a certificate that will waive the road skill exam with the DMV. Therefore, courses are worth consideration for getting a license as well as benefits such as:

  • The ability to learn safe riding knowledge and skills.
  • The ability to learn collision avoidance techniques.
  • Potential discounts on your auto insurance in Montana, depending upon your insurer.

A motorcycle safety course is designed for riders with little to no experience. Additional motorcycle courses are offered for novices that wish to have one-on-one time with a trainer before taking a class. Courses include a combination of classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction to provide information and skills related to:

  • How to operate a motorcycle safely.
  • Mental attitudes when dealing with traffic.
  • Straight-line riding, turning, shifting and stopping.
  • Cornering, swerving and emergency braking.
  • The different types of motorcycles and their characteristics.
  • Required and recommended apparel.
  • The effects of alcohol and drugs.

These motorcycle training courses are offered by various providers throughout the state but are not available online. Motorcycle training courses must be completed in person and it can take up to two days for a course to be completed. You do not need to supply your own motorcycle for the course, however, you will be required to wear:

  • A DOT-approved helmet.
  • Eye protection.
  • Full-fingered gloves.
  • Sturdy pants.
  • A long-sleeved shirt or jacket.
  • Boots that cover your ankles.

The Basic Rider Course is $175. A more advanced course is available for $80. Attendance is 100 percent mandatory and most locations will not offer refunds if you fail to meet attendance requirements.

Montana DMV Motorcycle Test Details

In Montana, a motorcycle permit test is required of all applicants that wish to obtain a learner’s permit and, ultimately, a license within the state. A motorcycle driving test may also be required when applying for a license unless you successfully complete a state-approved Motorcycle Rider Safety Course.

When considering motorcycle tests, it is very important to understand that these tests are designed to be very difficult in order to ensure that you have the knowledge and ability to operate a motorcycle in a safe and lawful manner. Test difficulties were increased dramatically in recent years following a number of fatalities related to new cyclists.

Motorcycle Written Test

The Montana motorcycle written test is a multiple-question test that must be passed before you can obtain a learner’s permit for a motorcycle. This DMV motorcycle test will cover a variety of information, including the basic operation of a motorcycle, safe driving practices and Montana traffic laws.

Motorcycle Road Test

Before attempting the motorcycle driving test, it is imperative that you ensure that you are familiar with your motorcycle and that you can perform basic maneuvers such as straight-line driving, turning, braking, swerving and ensuring that you are seen and communicating with other drivers. Your motorcycle must also have the following equipment:

  • At least one headlight that illuminates at least 500 feet
  • A taillight and reflector that is visible from at least 500 feet
  • A stoplight that is visible from at least 100 feet in normal sunlight
  • A rearview mirror that allows you to have a clear view of the road for at least 200 feet to the rear
  • Directional signals that are operational
  • A muffler that does not have a modification to increase the sound of your motorcycle

When taking the DMV motorcycle test, you must also be able to provide proof of auto insurance and valid registration for the motorcycle.

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

In Montana, a motorcycle license is required to legally operate a scooter, regardless of the cubic centimeter output or max speed of the scooter. Therefore, you will need to obtain a permit or license before you can operate a scooter within the state.

Montana Motorcycle License Costs

The motorcycle license cost in Montana is 52 cents per year to add a motorcycle endorsement during renewal or when requesting a duplicate license. This cost is in addition to your normal driver’s license fees. At most, you can expect to pay $4.12 for the endorsement.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.