Living in Hawaii is most people’s dream. With its sunny skies, beautiful beaches, and clear waters, who wouldn’t want to? And having a motorcycle to ride around exploring would make things even better.
To legally ride a motorcycle in Hawaii, you must have a valid license from the Hawaii department of transportation (HIDOT). A Hawaii motorcycle license is known as a Class 2 license.
The first step to getting a Class 2 license is getting a motorcycle instruction permit. You must pass a vision and a written test to get it. Once you get the permit, you must complete a road test to get a license. You can also complete a HIDOT-approved motorcycle safety course instead and skip the road skills test.
Getting a Hawaii motorcycle license
You must obtain a Class 2 license to operate a motorcycle or motor scooter in Hawaii. To apply for one, motorcycle riders must be at least 17 years of age. If you have a valid out-of-state motorcycle endorsement or license, you can transfer it to Hawaii.
The first step to getting a Class 2 license is to obtain a motorcycle instruction permit. The minimum age to apply for one is 15 and a half years. If you are below 18 years, you must hold a motorcycle learner’s permit for 180 days before applying for a Class 2 license.
Hawaii does not have a statewide Department of Motor Vehicles. So, to apply for a permit or license, you must go to your county’s local licensing office. It is advised that you make an appointment first. You can find the links for all four counties here.
Applying for a motorcycle instruction permit
To apply for a permit at the local licensing office, you must take along a printed application and the necessary documents. These include documents for proof of name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). Two proofs of residency are also required.
Then, you have to pass a vision exam and a motorcycle permit test. You should also have a clear driving record on the National Driver Registry.
The permit test includes two exams. One is the written exam for a standard driver’s license. The other is a written knowledge exam for a motorcycle license. You can prepare for them by studying the Hawaii motorcycle operator manual and Hawaii driver’s manual.
Note: If you already hold a Class 3 driver’s license for cars, you may not need to do the standard driver’s license written exam. This depends on the examiner’s discretion.
Once you pass the two exams, you should pay the required fees, and you will get your instructional permit. For those above 18 years, you can proceed to apply for a Class 2 license immediately. For those under 18 years, you have to hold the permit for 180 days.
Motorcycle instruction permits are valid for one year. Once it expires, you have to wait for 90 days to reapply. You can only renew your permit if you have attempted to take the motorcycle skills test.
Applying for a Class 2 motorcycle license for those above 18 years
Once you have your permit, you can make an appointment to take your motorcycle operator skill test. The road skills test will test your ability to handle a motorcycle on public roads and public highways.
To take the driving test, you should have your own motorcycle, which should be registered and insured. You should also have a valid safety inspection form and sticker for your motor vehicle.
Additionally, you need to have a DOT-approved helmet and eye protection. And you must wear a jacket or shirt with long sleeves and shoes.
Once you pass the road skills exam, you can go to the local county licensing office to get your motorcycle driver’s license. For that, you have to present documents that prove your date of birth, legal name, citizenship, and SSN.
Then, you have to present your motorcycle skills test certification. Or a certificate of completion for a Hawaii motorcycle safety education program.
You also can do an HIDOT-approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. All the counties in Hawaii provide MSF courses in community colleges and universities.
Then, make the payment for the motorcycle license fee. You will get a temporary license. The licensing office should mail you your full plastic driver’s license within two to four weeks.
Applying for a Hawaii motorcycle license for those below 18 years
In this case, it is mandatory that you hold your motorcycle permit for 180 days before applying for a Class 2 license. You will also need a Driver Education Student Completion Certificate and a Behind-the-Wheel Student Completion Certificate too.
While holding the permit, you cannot operate a motorcycle at night. You also cannot carry passengers and must wear a DOT-inspected helmet and goggles.
Once the 180 days period is up, you can take your motorcycle road skills test. The process for this is the same as for those above 18 years (given above).
Once you pass the road test, you can go to your local licensing office to get the motorcycle license. The process is given above. The only difference is that, for those under 18 years, the motorcycle education course is mandatory, not optional.
License and permit fees in Hawaii
Fees may vary depending on the county you are in.
- In Kauai, the permit fee is $10. Written and road test fees are $10 each. A license that is valid for 8 years (for those between 21 to 71 years) is $40. See the complete list here.
- In the county of Hawaii, a new license valid for 8 years (for ages 25 to 71) is $40. A permit, written test, and road test cost $10 each. See the complete list here.
- In Honolulu, an instruction permit is $5, while a written test and a road test costs $8 each. A diver’s license valid for 8 years (for ages 25 to 71) is $40. Check the complete list.
- In Maui, the permit fee is $10. Written and road test fees are $5 each. A license that is valid for 8 years (for those between 21 to 71 years) is $80. See the complete list here.
Motorcycle insurance in Hawaii
Hawaii law requires all motorcycle and motorscooter operators to purchase liability insurance for their vehicles. To purchase a liability policy, you must have a valid motorcycle or motorscooter license. Motorcycle operators should carry a valid insurance I.D. card with them at all times.
The motorcycle liability policy must have minimum coverage that fulfills the following requirements:
- $20,000 per person.
- $40,000 per accident bodily injury liability.
- $10,000 per occurrence of property damage liability. This pays for vehicles or property that you have caused damage to.
Hawaii also has a list of licensed insurance companies you can buy a policy from. You can check their details on the Hawaii government website.
If you need a Class 2 motorcycle license to ride a motorcycle in Hawaii. The first step to getting one is to get a mandatory motorcycle instruction permit. Once you get the permit, you must complete a road test to get a Class 2 license. You can also complete an approved motorcycle safety course instead of the road test.