Applying for a motorcycle license in South Dakota is a mandatory step for riders who would like to legally operate their motorcycles on public roadways in the state. The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) will only issue a motorcycle driver’s license to applicants who meet the state licensing requirements, which vary depending on the rider’s age and whether or not he or she has a driver’s license. With a valid license, riders can operate any motorcycle with two or three wheels, as well as mopeds, motor scooters and motorized bicycles. Get more information on applying for a motorcycle license and licensing fees in the state by reviewing the following sections.

Motorcycle License Requirements in South Dakota

To complete the motorcycle license application process, riders will need to meet several motorcycle license requirements, which may vary to a certain degree depending on their ages. Motorcyclists applying for a license as minors, for example, will be required to fulfill additional criteria. To meet the SD bike license requirements, applicants must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age, if applying for an unrestricted motorcycle license.
  • Have held a motorcycle learners permit for a certain time period between the ages of 14 and 18 years old.
  • Provide parental consent to apply for an SD bike license, if under than 18 years of age.
  • Do not have a suspended driver’s license.
  • Prove they are fit to operate a motorcycle and have the theoretical and practical skills to do so in a safe manner.
  • Prove their identity, date of birth, lawful U.S. presence, Social Security Number (SSN) and state residency.

Note: The state DPS provides lists of acceptable supporting documentation for U.S. citizens, permanent residents and immigrants.

If you are applying for an SD motorbike driving license as a new state resident and you hold an out-of-state bike license, you will not be required to meet the full set of requirements outlined above. For instance, if you are transferring a valid out-of-state credential, you will not have to pass the knowledge test or the road skills exam. However, you will still be required to submit the full set of supporting documents and fee payments and surrender your out-of-state license.

South Dakota Motorcycle License Training Courses

Completing a rider’s course when applying for a motorcycle license in South Dakota is not a mandatory step imposed by the state DPS. However, even if you are not required to enroll in a motorcycle education program to get a motorcycle license, you can still utilize this option to improve your current riding skills and knowledge of road rules. For purposes of obtaining the competencies necessary for a motorbike driving license, the department recommends that you enroll in a state-approved rider’s course through the South Dakota Safety Council. You will earn a test waiver for your motorbike license on-cycle skills exam if you graduate from this motorcycle education course. The course certificate may also qualify you for reduced premiums on your motorcycle insurance policy.

South Dakota Motorcycle License Tests

Before issuing a motorcycle license, the state DPS must check whether or not the applicant is mentally and physically fit to operate a motorbike and whether or not he or she has the knowledge and skills necessary to do so. For purposes of verifying qualified bike license applicants, the department administers a vision test, a bike knowledge test and a road skills exam.

If you do not hold a standard driving license when applying for an SD motorcycle driver’s license, you will also be required to pass the standard written exam for regular driving credentials. The road skills test will only be administered after you pass the initial exams. While the motorcycle endorsement knowledge test covers topics such as road rules and safe riding practices, the on-cycle exam will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to ride a motorcycle under various traffic circumstances.

Note: Applicants who complete an approved rider’s course will obtain a course completion card that can be used to earn a test waiver within the following 12 months.

The South Dakota Motorcycle License Application Process

To successfully get a motorbike license in South Dakota, you will have to complete several steps, which may vary slightly depending on whether you are applying as a minor or as an adult rider. Also, when getting your motorcycle license, you may be required to make more than one visit to a nearby DPS office, since you will first have to pass the initial tests before taking the skills exam. The standard steps of the SD bike license application process are included below:

  • Make an office visit to apply for a motorcycle permit if under 18 years old.
  • Pass the applicable driving tests, submit the required documents and pay the licensing fee to receive your permit.
  • If under 18 years old, hold the permit for a period of 30 to 180 days, depending on whether or not a driver education or rider’s safety course has been completed.
  • Schedule and take the on-cycle test or complete a rider’s safety course.
  • Make another office visit to apply for the license by filling out the corresponding application form, submitting the learner’s permit and the supporting paperwork and paying any applicable fees.

Once the state DPS determines that you meet the SD motorbike license requirements and verifies the submitted paperwork and fee payments, it will issue you a five-year license, in most cases.

South Dakota Motorcycle License Fees

Paying the South Dakota motorcycle license costs is one of the last steps when getting a motorcycle license. The standard fee for a new license is currently set at $28. If you are obtaining an SD motorcycle learners permit, you will also be required to pay a fee of $28. In such cases, however, you can convert your permit to a license free of charge if and when you meet the relevant requirements. If you hold a valid license to drive when applying for a bike permit, you will be required to pay a smaller $15 fee. For more information regarding the current fees for a license, contact the department.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 3 2018.

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