The Department of Safety (DPS) can issue a motorcycle license in South Dakota to any qualified driver who meets the necessary requirements. All SD drivers must hold the necessary motorbike license to be found eligible to operate most types of two-wheeled vehicles, though some exceptions do apply. The DPS does not generally require adult motorcycle drivers to apply for a learner’s permit before applying for a full license, but does require minors to complete this step. Motorcycle drivers can apply for a learner’s permit by submitting a complete application to the SD DPS in person.

SD drivers applying for a DMV motorcycle card must complete a number of state exams before they will be granted permission to operate a motorbike. Depending on the driver’s record, he or she may have to complete a vision exam, knowledge exam and road skills exam to get a license. All applications for a license must be accompanied by the appropriate application fees in order to be processed. Read on to learn more about getting a license to drive motorcycles in South Dakota.

Motorcycle Permit Requirements in South Dakota

Drivers must apply for a motorcycle permit in South Dakota before they are eligible for a full license, if they are minors at the time of application. The minimum motorcycle permit age in South Dakota is 14 years of age before a driver can be found eligible to apply for any type of permit for motorcycles.

Although completing a driver education course is not required to receive a permit, the DPS highly recommends that all new motorcycle drivers enroll in a state-approved program before requesting a permit or license. There are two types of permits for new motorcycle drivers in South Dakota: The Motorcycle Instruction Permit and the Motorcycle Restricted Minor’s Permit.

The requirements for a motorcycle permit for all minors include passing the state’s standard vision exam and, unless the student enrolled in and passed a certified education program, the knowledge-based written exam. The age to get a Motorcycle Permit differs from the age required to get a Motorcycle Instruction Permit, however.

Minors who are 14 or 15 years of age are only eligible to apply for the Restricted Minor’s Permit, because the instruction permit requires that drivers be at least 16 years of age to apply. The restricted permit also carries more limitations that the full permit.

Required Documents

When applying for a DMV motorcycle permit, SD drivers must submit the required documents to compose a complete application packet. These items include the following:

  • The South Dakota Driver’s License/ID Card Application, signed and completed
  • The Parental Consent Form, completed and signed in front of a Notary
  • The Consent for Use of South Dakota Address form (if the minor still lives with his or her parents), completed and signed
  • Proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (if you’re not a U.S. citizen)
  • Two proofs of South Dakota residency by providing acceptable documents with the driver’s or parent’s full name and address, such as utility bills, paystubs, rent or mortgage receipts, landline phone bills, official bank statements, insurance policies or IRS-issued tax documents
  • Two proofs of identification (unless the driver already has a state-issued ID), such as a U.S. original or certified birth certificate, a valid and current U.S.-issued passport or passport card or a Social Security (SSN) card

South Dakota Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions

What does a motorcycle permit allow you to do in South Dakota? Drivers with a full motorcycle permit are allowed to drive motorcycles between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. from one year of the date of issuance.

Drivers with a permit must be accompanied by a licensed adult driver riding a separate motorcycle. With the parents’ consent and the permit in the driver’s possession, the Restricted Minor’s Permit allows minors to operate motorcycles independently from 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. in South Dakota.

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in South Dakota

SD drivers must apply for a motorcycle learners permit in person so that they can take the necessary state exams. Getting a motorcycle permit in South Dakota can be done in a few simple steps through the DPS:

  1. Print or pick up copies of the South Dakota Driver’s License/ID Card Application, Parental Consent Form and The
  2. Consent for Use of South Dakota Address form (if necessary) from a nearby DPS location. Complete and sign all documents
  3. Gather the necessary identification document(s), two proofs of South Dakota residency and proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (if applicable)
  4. Prepare the necessary application fees; if unsure, inquire about acceptable payment methods at your DPS location before visiting
  5. Bring the completed application and supporting documentation to your nearest SD DPS branch office
  6. Take the vision exam and knowledge-based exam; if applying for a Motorcycle Restricted Minor’s Permit, take a road skills exam, as well
  7. Take your permit photo
  8. Submit your complete application packet for the permit

South Dakota Motorcycle License Requirements

The full motorcycle license age in South Dakota is 16 years of age. Beyond this minimum age limit, the requirements for a motorcycle license are very similar to the requirements that applicants for a motor vehicle driver’s license must meet. Drivers must be able to meet the necessary identification, residency and lawful status requirements, and not have a suspended, revoked or cancelled license issued by South Dakota or any other U.S. state. SD motorcycle drivers must also not have unpaid traffic tickets, and not have been convicted of a traffic violation in the last six months to receive a new license.

To get a motorcycle license, all South Dakota applicants are required to pass the necessary state exams. Bike license assessments include a standard vision test, a knowledge-based written exam (if not already completed) and a skills-based road exam. Minors must be able to show proof of having an instructional permit continuously for at least 180 days to be eligible for a full license, unless they completed an approved education program (must hold the permit for 90 days) or motorcycle safety course (must hold the permit for 30 days). Driver education is not required for SD drivers, but is highly encouraged for new drivers by the DPS.

Required Documents

When applying for a DMV motorcycle license, SD drivers must submit a complete application packet with certain documentation. This includes the following:

  1. The South Dakota Driver’s License/ID Card Application, signed and completed
  2. Proof of the driver’s Social Security Number (SSN)
  3. Proof of the driver’s identity, birth date and lawful presence in the U.S.
  4. Two proofs of South Dakota residency
  5. The Parental Consent Form, completed and signed in front of a Notary (if applicable)
  6. The Consent for Use of South Dakota Address form, completed and signed (if applicable)
  7. Proof of honorable discharge from the military (if applying for a veteran designation)

How to Get a Motorcycle License in South Dakota

Getting a motorcycle license in South Dakota must be done by visiting a DPS office in person, with the necessary application material. How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in South Dakota? In most cases, SD drivers can complete the process in a single afternoon. Drivers can follow the required steps to apply for an SD motorbike license, which include:

  1. Print or pick up copies of the South Dakota Driver’s License/ID Card Application, Parental Consent Form and The Consent for Use of South Dakota Address form (if necessary) from a nearby DPS location. Complete and sign all documents.
  2. Gather the necessary supporting material listed above. If you are a minor, bring proof of holding a learner’s permit for the necessary length of time.
  3. Prepare the necessary application fees.
  4. Bring the completed application and supporting documentation to your nearest SD DPS branch office.
  5. Take the vision exam and knowledge-based exam (if required).
  6. Take the road-based skills exam with a DPS examiner.
  7. If passed, take your license photo.
  8. Receive your new SD motorcycle license valid for five years from the date of issuance.

Getting a South Dakota Motorcycle License as a New Resident

New residents of South Dakota must request a new DPS motorcycle license shortly after taking up residence in the state. The process to transfer a motorcycle permit or license issued by another state to a South Dakota license follows the same process as renewing an SD license. Like renewal applicants, drivers requesting the transfer of a valid and current license do not need to take the state’s knowledge- or skills-based exams. New SD residents will be required to submit the following material for a transfer license:

  • Existing driver’s license issued from another state
  • Two proofs of South Dakota residency
  • Proof of lawful U.S. presence

Required Motorcycle Classes in South Dakota

The DPS does not require that a driver take motorcycle classes before he or she can apply for a permit or license. However, enrolling in an approved motorcycle safety course or other educational program can shorten the length of time a driver must hold a permit and wait to apply for a full license. Some drivers also benefit from discounted auto insurance prices after completing a state-approved education program.

Motorcycle training programs that are approved by the SD DPS last a minimum of 16 hours and cover a variety of different material. Drivers can expect to learn the basics of operating common motorcycles and defensive driving techniques. The instructor will provide the driver with a Course Completion Card to present to the DPS upon completion of the course.
South Dakota DMV Motorcycle Test Details

In South Dakota, the motorcycle permit test that all permit applicants must pass is the same as the written knowledge-based exam. Passing the skills-based motorcycle test is only required by applicants for a full license or Motorcycle Restricted Minor’s Permit. Drivers who take the permit exam are exempt from having to retake the written exam when transferring the permit to a license.

Motorcycle Knowledge Test

The knowledge-based motorcycle license test in South Dakota requires that drivers answer questions on the basics of motorcycle operation, as laid out in the SD Motorcycle Operator Manual. Drivers must be familiar with state road laws and safe driving best practices. If a driver fails the knowledge test, he or she cannot retake the exam until the next day. Every driver is allowed three testing attempts for every application payment submitted.

Motorcycle Driving Test

All drivers not seeking a learner’s permit must take the motorcycle driving test before they will receive a license in South Dakota. This test is completed on public roadways under the supervision of a DPS examiner. Drivers should be familiar with how to safely operate his or her motorcycle, interact with traffic and quickly respond to a changing environment in order to pass the exam.

Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in South Dakota?

Drivers do not need an M license in South Dakota to operate a scooter or moped. Instead, drivers must posses a standard vehicle operator’s license or Restricted Minor’s Permit to operate a scooter. Scooters are considered vehicles with two or three wheels and an engine no larger than 50cc that does not require gear shifting.

South Dakota Motorcycle License Costs

How much does it cost to get a motorcycle license in South Dakota? Drivers can expect to pay an SD motorcycle license cost that is notably higher than it was in the past due to recent legislation that came into effect in 2018. The following permit and license fees apply:

  • Motorcycle Instruction Permit (for drivers who already have a valid driver’s license): $15
  • Motorcycle Instruction Permit (for new license holders): $28
  • Conversion of a valid motorcycle instruction permit to a full license: FREE
Last updated on Wednesday, March 6 2019.

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