Can You Drive A Motorcycle With A Permit In Massachusetts? (YES But Restrictions Apply)

So you bought a new bike and are eager to take it on the road. But do you have the required permit or license before you do that? 

Yes, in Massachusetts, you can drive with a permit. As a permit holder, you cannot carry passengers or drive at night. And must always wear a helmet and eye protection. 

Permits are only applicable to those under 18 motorcycle drivers.

All motorcycle riders in the United States need to have a motorcycle license. Or an endorsement on their standard driver’s license. And for those underage, you usually need a permit first. 

Getting a motorcycle permit in Massachusetts

If you want to ride a motorcycle in Massachusetts, you need a Class M motorcycle license. Or you can get a motorcycle endorsement on your Class D standard driver’s license. Only adults can apply for class M or class D licenses.

Those under 18 must get a permit first.

Who can apply for a learner’s permit?

To apply for a permit, you must be at least 16 years old and a resident of Massachusetts. You cannot hold a driver’s license or learner’s permit in any other state. And cannot have outstanding obligations to any state. 

You also need to meet some medical standards on the Massachusets RMV website. For example, you should be able to distinguish the colors red, green, and amber.

The permit application process

You can apply for a REAL ID Massachusetts permit (valid as a federal ID). Or Standard Massachusetts permit (not valid as a federal ID).

You can complete your application online on the RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) website. Or apply in person at any MA RMV service center.

You will need to fill out a form and submit documents. 

They include:

  • proof of identification,
  • proof of residency, and
  • your social security number (SSN).

You will also need parental consent or a legal guardian to sign your form if you are under 18. 

Next, take a printout of your application and sit for the learner’s permit exam at an RMV service center. But be sure to make an appointment first. The permit fee currently is $30.

At the RMV, the officials will take your photo and signature, and you will undergo a vision test.

Then, you can take the learner’s permit exam. It is available in 34 languages. The written exam will have 25 questions, and you will get 25 minutes to complete it. They will have questions on the rules of the road, the Junior Operator Law, and more. 

Make sure to study the Motorcycle Manual to prepare for the exam.

What happens after that?

You will get a valid motorcycle permit if you pass the learner’s permit exam. This Class M permit is valid for two years. Once six months have passed, you can apply for a Class M motorcycle license. 

But if you fail, you must pay the fee again and retake the test another time.

As mentioned, permit holders can drive their bikes on public roads only with the following restrictions. 

  • You cannot carry passengers.
  • You cannot drive at night (after sunset and before sunrise). 
  • You must also always wear a helmet and eye protection.

How to get a full license after getting a learner’s permit?

After you get a motorcycle learner’s permit, you need to keep it for six months and maintain a clean record.  

Then, to get a Massachusetts motorcycle license, you must take and pass a Class M road skills test. And should have completed the Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) course. 

If you are under 18, you must complete a driver’s education program (for both Class D and M license applicants). This consists of 30 classroom hours where you learn about Massachusetts motor vehicle law. And the safe and proper operation of a vehicle. 

You will also have to complete 18 hours of instruction in a training vehicle. This should include at least 12 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. And then 6 hours of observation while another student is taking behind-the-wheel instruction.

Getting a Class M motorcycle license if you are over the age of 18

If you are over 18, you can apply directly for a Class M or endorsement on a Class D license. 

You can choose to apply for a Standard driver’s license/ID (not valid as a federal ID). Or a REAL ID driver’s license/ID (valid as a federal ID). You can find out more about them here.

You can apply online or at an RMV service center. You’ll need proof of citizenship or lawful presence, SSN, and Massachusetts residency. All documents must be originals. They will not accept photocopies or laminated copies. 

You also need to meet some medical standards on the Massachusets RMV website

Once you complete your Class M license application, make an appointment to take a road test at your local RMV. The appointment should be 60 days ahead, and you can do it online on the RMV website

You can also pay the fee online with a credit or debit card (currently $50). But if you already have a Class D license, a motorcycle endorsement fee is $15. 

On the day of the road test, you’ll need to bring your motorcycle (insured and registered) along. Also, get your safety equipment, including a dot-approved helmet and eye protection. 

Getting your license after passing the road test

If you pass the road test and pay all fees, the RMV will mail your driver’s license within 7 to 10 days. If you passed the road test but have yet to prepay for your license, you must pay the fees online within 60 days.

An alternative to the road test

You can skip the road test if you have completed a motorcycle safety course under the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP). An MREP course provides quality rider education and training. They include an introductory rider course for new riders.


As you can see, getting a motorcycle license or permit in Massachusetts is not very complicated.

Just follow along what we explained and you should be good to go.

If you happen to have a question or two please drop them in the comments below.

See you in the next one! 🙂

Have a motorcycle license already and would like find a MC to ride with? Here's a list famous motorcycle clubs in Massachusetts.
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Mike, the motorcycle enthusiast behind SuperBike Newbie, fell in love with superbikes during his college years. He owns a diverse range of motorcycles and offers valuable insights into motorcycling advice, maintenance, safety gear, and laws. Despite two decades of riding experience, he continues to learn and shares his knowledge on his website. Mike also has a keen interest in motorcycle club culture. While not a club member, he aspires to be one someday.

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