A motorcycle license in North Carolina is a valuable document to obtain, as it can allow you to legally operate your bike in the state. However, when it comes to getting and utilizing these DMV motorcycle documents, which can vary based on the type of license or permit that you need, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have a great many rules and regulations.

An NC motorbike license can be found in many forms, which mostly revolve around adding a special endorsement to a previously existing driver’s license. You can also get a standalone permit for operating a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle, which can allow younger drivers to get a good head start and practice driving before going through any motorcycle training programs, taking any tests and getting their full licenses. This article will discuss these motorcycle documents that are obtainable by North Carolina residents and teach you how to get the license or permit that you need today.

What is a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement?

Getting a motorcycle endorsement in North Carolina is one of the best ways to begin legally riding a motorcycle in the state if you already successfully completed the regular driver’s license application process. This is a special M endorsement designation that can be added to your non-commercial or commercial driver’s license.

The DMV motorcycle endorsement is given to those NC drivers who can pass a knowledge test on motorcycle rules and safety regulations. While this document cannot be used as a replacement for a standard driver’s license, it is a necessary supplemental document for drivers in the state that are already familiar with driving other types of vehicles.

Motorcycle Permit Requirements in North Carolina

You may apply for a motorcycle permit in North Carolina if you are at least 16 years of age. Determining the motorcycle permit age in North Carolina is important, as the permit is the first document that you can possibly receive in the process of becoming road-legal on your motorcycle.

You must have a driver’s license in order to apply for a permit in North Carolina, which is a cautionary measure by the NC DMV. There are also requirements for motorcycle permit applicants pertaining to written and driving tests to get the endorsement that they want.

Required Documents

Among the requirements for a motorcycle permit in North Carolina are a number of documents that should be prepared before your visit to the DMV. These include:

  • One document that proves your name, age and date of birth.
  • One document proving your Social Security status.
  • One document proving your residency or legal presence in the U.S.
  • One document proving that you have limited liability insurance.

North Carolina Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions

The question, “What does a motorcycle permit allow you to do in North Carolina?” can be answered by looking at the DMV’s motorcycle rider’s handbook. For starters, individuals who are interested in a motorcycle permit in the state will also need to get signed parental consent and must also complete an approved safety education program if they are between 16 and 18 years of age.

In addition, these motorcycle permits are only valid for 12 months after they are issued, but they may be renewed once for an additional six months. After that period of time, you will need to get a new permit if you have not yet gotten your official license endorsement.

North Carolina has a strict helmet policy, and special motorcycle helmets must be worn by all riders in the state. These helmets must have a thick inner layer, an approved NCDOT sticker and an intact manufacturer’s label in order to not be subject to fines. The NC DMV has not established a set time window that motorcycles are not allowed to be used under a permit, but you must drive with caution and use your headlights when visibility is low.

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in North Carolina

Getting a permit for a DMV motorcycle in North Carolina is a simple process, as you can bring all of the required documents to one of the NCDOT office locations. Once all of your information has been collected by the DMV, you will need to take a motorcycle permit test, a road sign identification test and a vision test.

These will be used to ensure that you are mentally and physically capable of safely operating a motorcycle on a restricted basis. If you pass, then you will be able to begin logging practice driving hours and preparing for your license test.

North Carolina Motorcycle License Requirements

The North Carolina motorcycle license age is 18 years of age, which means that individuals who have obtained a learner’s permit will need to factor their timing accordingly. Applicants will need to get their standard driver’s license from the DMV first and, then, apply for their motorcycle endorsement to properly operate a motorbike in the state without restrictions.

This application will require another motorcycle knowledge test as well as a driving skills test at the DMV. They will need to present the DMV with all of their relevant information in order for the DMV to know if anything has changed since they received their permit.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in North Carolina

Answering, “How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in North Carolina?” mostly comes down to how prepared you are for the application process. Your motorcycle endorsement will be added to your existing driver’s license, so you will need to bring that license along with your learner’s permit into the DMV.

Most North Carolina DMV offices will require an appointment to be scheduled in order to take your road test, which can occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at certain DMV locations. You will need to learn how to make an appointment at the DMV office location you plan to test at. If you pass the motorcycle road test, then you will receive your endorsement in the mail. The motorcycle endorsement must be renewed each year.

Getting a North Carolina Motorcycle License as a New Resident

You can go about getting a motorcycle license in North Carolina in a number of ways, but one common way is by transferring an existing license from another state to the NCDOT. Transferring your out-of-state motorcycle license must be done within 60 days of becoming a North Carolina resident and will require you to surrender your old license, take the knowledge, vision and road exams listed below and submit all of the required DMV documents. After submitting your documents, the NCDOT will provide you with a temporary license that you may use to operate a motorcycle in the state while you wait for your new license and endorsement.

Required Motorcycle Classes in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers will need motorcycle classes in the state in order to get their learner’s permit if they are younger than 19 years of age. These motorcycle training classes are offered by a few different DMV-approved organizations, but the most common provider is the North Carolina Safety Education Program.

This service allows students to learn about motorcycle safety, the rules of the road, how to properly perform different driving maneuvers and more. Their most common course, the Basic Rider Course, is offered at different sites all across the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina DMV Motorcycle Test Details

Taking a motorcycle permit test or a similar exam for your license is a common occurrence for NC drivers, and you will need to schedule these tests at your local DMV office in order to get the documents that you need. Some of these motorcycle tests can be retaken as early as the next business day if they are failed, while most driving skills tests will require you to schedule a new test weeks in advance.

Motorcycle Knowledge Test

For the written DMV motorcycle test in North Carolina, residents of the state are asked to prove their understanding of the knowledge in the DMV’s Motorcyclists’ Handbook. This includes information on proper helmet usage, road signs to look out for, the dangers of drinking and driving, how to properly swerve and more. This motorcycle test is required for both permits and license endorsements in the state.

Motorcycle Skills Test

Alternatively, the NC motorcycle test for demonstrating your driving skills is more hands-on than the knowledge exam. This motorcycle road test requires applicants to ride in front of a trained examiner, who will judge your performance on:

  • Stopping, turning and merging lanes.
  • Staying within the correct parts of your lane.
  • Traveling at safe speeds, following street signs and more.

Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you do not need to get a motorcycle license in order to operate a motor vehicle with two or three wheels that has a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. Known as scooters or mopeds, these vehicles may only be legally driven by residents of North Carolina who are 16 years of age or older. In addition, you must register this vehicle type and wear a motorcycle helmet at all times while using it. However, no licenses are required to legally operate these vehicles.

North Carolina Motorcycle License Costs

The motorcycle license cost that a North Carolina driver will need to pay will depend on what kind of document they have applied for. Some of the most relevant fees that you may need to keep in mind include the following:

  • The $20 learners permit fee
  • The $13 duplicate permit/license fee
  • The $2.30 annual endorsement renewal fee
Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.