How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Motorcycle License In New York?

Did you know that New York has the third-highest registered motorcycles in the U.S.? Yes, only California and Florida have more registered motorcycles. To legally ride a bike in N.Y., you need a Class M or a Class M.J. driver’s license. You can also ride with a learner’s permit. 

In NY, you must be at least 18 years of age (or 17 years with a driver’s education course) to get a Class M license. For a Class M.J. driver’s license, you must be at least 16 years old and have a driver’s education course. 

But before getting either of them, you must get a motorcycle learner’s permit. For this, you can apply as soon as you reach the age of 16.

N.Y. motorcycle licenses

You must apply for a New York motorcycle license at a New York DMV office near you. The state of New York has two types of motorcycle licenses. 

  • Class M license. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for this. New drivers can also apply if they are 17 years old and have completed a driver education course.
  • Class M.J. driver’s license ( motorcycle junior operator’s license). This license is for riders who are 16 to 17 years old. You must be 16 years old and have completed a driver’s education course. 

These licenses can also be combined with other driver’s licenses. For example, you can combine a Class M license with a standard driver’s license (Class D). Then, you will have a Class D.M. license with a motorcycle endorsement.

However, the first step for new riders before applying for a motorcycle license is getting a motorcycle learner’s permit. You have to be at least 16 years old to apply for one.

Apply for a learner’s permit.

You can get it at a DMV office by passing a written test. Or start the process online from home.

Do it online

If you are doing it online, you have to create an account and enter your details. Then, you have to submit scanned copies of the required documents. They include proof of identity, age, and residency. Check the DMV document guide to find out which documents you need.

The DMV will send you a permit test link via email. You have to begin your test within 15 minutes of receiving it. If you fail, you can re-take it after six hours.

Once you pass the written exam, make a reservation to visit a DMV office via the online link the DMV sends you. At your appointment, show the original documents you have already submitted scanned copies of. 

They will take your photo, and you may have to pass a vision test. Then you must pay the motorcycle learner permit fee, and they will issue a temporary instruction permit. The official permit will reach you by mail within two weeks.

If you are under 18, you must submit a signed form and your application. This form shows that you have consent from your parent or legal guardian.

If you’re an adult and took the test online, you must sign the Online Permit Test Attestation at the DMV.

Apply in person at the DMV.

You can also apply for a learner’s permit in person at a DMV office. But make an appointment first. It is also a good idea to start your application online beforehand. 

At the DMV, you need to have your application and proof of identity, age, and residence. Then, pay the permit fee and take a written exam. A vision test may also be required.

Once you pass, you will get a temporary permit. The proper permit will reach you by mail within two weeks.

If you are under 18, you need to submit a signed form along with your application. This form shows that you have consent from your parent or legal guardian.

Studying for the knowledge test

The permit test has multiple-choice questions. And you can easily pass it by studying the N.Y. motorcycle manual

Apply for a Class M license.

Once you have your permit, you can schedule the motorcycle road test whenever you are ready. But if you’re under the age of 18, you must hold your permit for a minimum of 6 months.

And before you proceed, the NY DMV recommends that you have at least 30 hours of practice on a motorcycle. You can also take the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program (NYMSP) Basic Rider Course or instruction from a commercial driving school.

Additionally, if you don’t have a regular driver’s license yet, you must complete a pre-licensing course before scheduling a road test. You can also complete a driver education course instead. If you are 17 years old, a driver’s education course is mandatory., 

What next?

Once you pass the motorcycle skills test, you will get a temporary motorcycle license. 

If you don’t hold any other N.Y. driver’s license, you will get your permanent Class M license by mail within two weeks. No need to visit a New York state DMV office.

If you already have another class of New York State driver’s license, you have to apply for a Class M license at the DMV. You can do this seven days after passing the road test.

You have to apply for a change in your driver’s license. Bring along your temporary motorcycle license, your motorcycle permit, and your valid driver’s license.

You will get a temporary license that lists both driver’s license classes (for example, Class D.M.). The permanent license will arrive in the mail within two weeks. Your new license expires on the same date as your previous one. 

Road test waiver

If you have completed a motorcycle safety course from the NYMSP, you don’t have to pass a DMV road test. Check details of courses on the NYMSP website or call toll-free at 1-800-446-9227.

You can show the certificate of successful completion of the course at the DMV and get your license. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also offers motorcycle safety courses.

Apply for a Class M.J. license.

This junior motorcycle license is for motorcycle riders who have reached the minimum age of 16 years but are younger than 18 years. The application process is the same as that for a Class M license (given above). Additionally, a driver’s education course is also mandatory.


Fees for a valid motorcycle license can vary from $21 to $120. The license fee depends on a number of factors, including age and if you are opting for a Real ID or not. 

You can pay by cash, check, credit card, debit card, or money order, depending on the situation. Check the DMV website for additional information. 

Motorcycle insurance in N.Y.

As per state laws, New York state residents must have motorcycle insurance. The policy must have the following minimum liability coverage limits:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 in total bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 in property damage per accident

If you have a valid motorcycle license from another state

In this case, you can drive motorcycles in New York State with a valid license. Or, if you have moved to N.Y., you can exchange your out-of-state motorcycle license for an N.Y. one. Find out the process here.


So, how old do you have to be to get a motorcycle license in New York? You have to be at least 18 years old if you need a Class M license—or 17 years if you have done a driver education course. 

But for those from 16 to 17 years, there is also another option. This is the Class M.J. driver’s license. Additionally, you should also complete a driver’s education course.

Photo of author


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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