How to Get a Motorcycle License in North Carolina

motorcycle on highway

Whether you’re an experienced motorcyclist or a first-time rider, you need to ensure that you have the correct license before riding. Below is a quick breakdown of all steps and requirements needed for a motorcycle license in North Carolina.

Do I Need a Motorcycle License in North Carolina?

North Carolina requires you to have a valid driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle learner permit to operate a motorcycle on public roads.

Application Steps for Already Licensed Drivers Over 18 Years of Age

If you are over 18 years old and have a full provisional, regular, or commercial driver’s license, you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. There are four tests that you must pass to receive a motorcycle endorsement:

  1. Vision test
  2. Traffic sign test
  3. Motorcycle knowledge test
  4. Motorcycle skills (road) test

Motorcycle road tests are available by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at certain North Carolina DMV offices and can be scheduled using the online appointment scheduler.

Application Steps for Already Licensed Drivers Under 18 Years of Age

If you are between 16 and 18 years old and have a provisional driver’s license, you may apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit with consent from a parent or guardian. The testing requirements for a learner’s permit are the same as for an endorsement, except you are not required to take a road test. Instead, you must complete a motorcycle safety course provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or the North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Education Program.

Application Steps for Never Licensed Motorcyclists in North Carolina

If you have never been licensed in North Carolina, you will need to go through the steps of getting a driver’s license first. That involves the following steps:

  1. Provide documentation showing proof of identity, legal status, and insurance
  2. Pass vision, road sign, knowledge, and driving tests

Can I Get a Motorcycle License Without Having a Standard License?

No, you cannot get a motorcycle license without a standard license. If you are not licensed, you will first need to go through the application steps for a standard driver’s license. Upon being issued a driver’s license, you will be eligible to apply for a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle learner’s permit using the same application steps as a licensed driver.

How to Prepare to Get Your Motorcycle License

To successfully pass the tests required for a motorcycle endorsement or learner’s permit, you should study the North Carolina DMV Motorcyclists’ Handbook. This handbook contains all the information you need to pass the motorcycle knowledge test and may also help you with your motorcycle road test.

If you are also applying for a driver’s license, you will need to study the North Carolina Driver Handbook. Even if you already have your driver’s license, it’s a good idea to study Chapter 5 of the driver’s handbook since all motorcyclists must pass a test on traffic signs to get their endorsement or learner’s permit.

Our Lawyers Represent Injured Motorcyclists

For over 40 years, the experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, have fought for the rights of motorcyclists who have been injured in our state. Contact us online today for a free consultation.