How To Get A Motorcycle License In MA (Massachusetts)?

Have you wanted to explore the many different parts of beautiful Massachusetts? It would be a great idea as the state has a diverse landscape. It has mountains, forests, and coastal areas. To do that, you must first have a valid motorcycle license.

To get a Massachusetts motorcycle license, you must get a permit first. This is mandatory for riders of all ages. You have to apply for one from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Once you get the permit, you have to ride for a fixed period with restrictions. Then, you will need to take an on-bike skills test to get your full motorcycle endorsement or license. Those under 18 also have to hold a junior operator license (JOL) for a year and a half.

The first step toward a Massachusetts motorcycle license

In Massachusetts, a motorcycle driver’s license (Class M) lets you drive a motorcycle or any other motor vehicle with no more than 3 wheels

But before you apply for one, a new rider needs to get a permit. For this, 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. Or have outstanding obligations to any state. 

You also need to meet minimum Massachusett driver’s license medical standards. For example, you can distinguish the colors red, green, and amber.

The permit application process

You can either 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 the following documents.

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

You will also need the signed consent of a parent or legal guardian if you are under 18 years of age. 

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 as per the Schedule of Fees on the official website.

At the RMV, they will take your photo and signature, and you will undergo a vision test. Then, you can take the written knowledge test or knowledge exam. 

The exam is available in 34 languages. This is a written exam with 25 questions, and you get 25 minutes to complete it. You can study the Massachusetts Motorcycle Manual to prepare for the written test.

What next?

If you pass the learner’s permit exam or permit test, you will get a valid motorcycle permit. This Class M permit is valid for 2 years.

Permit holders have to ride with it for six months with some restrictions. Once 6 months have passed, you can apply for a Class M motorcycle license. 

Getting a Class M motorcycle license

Once you have been riding with a valid motorcycle permit for 6 months, you can apply for a full license. You can also choose to get an endorsement on your standard driver’s license (Class D) if you are above 18.

You can apply for a standard 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.

The process

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

You also need to meet some medical standards as given 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 (currently $50) online with a credit card, debit card, or money order. 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 along your own motorcycle (insured and registered). 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 test, the examiner will stamp the back of your learner’s permit. This will serve as your temporary driver’s license. Your permanent license should arrive in the mail within 4 weeks. 

If you passed the road test but have yet to prepay for your license, you have to pay the fees online within 60 business days.

An alternative to the road test

You don’t have to take the Class M road test if you have completed a motorcycle safety course. You can do one under the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP)

An MREP course provides quality rider education and training. They include a basic rider course for new riders.

Motorcycle license renewal

Your motorcycle license is valid for five years. You can renew it online or at your local RMV office. The fee is currently $50. 

Note:  You can’t renew your driver’s license if:

  • Your driver’s license is suspended or revoked.
  • You have unpaid parking tickets, excise tax, or EZ-Pass violations.

If you are under 18 years of age

If you’re a Massachusetts driver between the ages of 16 ½ and 18, then you’re driving with a Junior Operator License (JOL). This is a driving license with some restrictions.

To get a JOL, the process is similar to the one above, where you have to pass a road test. But there are some additional requirements. You have to complete an approved driver’s education program and get a certificate. You also need to complete 40 hours of supervised driving.

Do you need to have motorcycle insurance?

Yes. Massachusetts state law requires motorcycle riders to show proof of insurance from an insurance company. Your insurance policy must have at least the following liability insurance coverage:

  • $20,000 bodily injury per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage

You must also have uninsured bodily injury motorist coverage. This will cover any accidents and medical bills where the other party does not have insurance. These minimums are as follows:

  • $20,000 per person
  • $40,000 per accident 

Registering your new motorcycle

Before you can ride a motorcycle in Massachusetts, you must register it with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). If you are a new resident, you’ll have 30 days to register your motorcycle after establishing Massachusetts residency.

Before you start the ​registration application: 

Then, for the registration process, visit your local RMV office with registration documents. They include proof of motorcycle insurance and proof of ownership. Proof of ownership can be a bill of sale or the motorcycle Title certificate. 

Pay the registration fee and other applicable fees. You must also complete any necessary motorcycle inspections. An odometer disclosure statement may also be required. Once all this is done, you will get your MA motorcycle registration.


To get a motorcycle license in Massachusetts, you need to get a learner’s permit first. You need to hold the permit for 6 months. Then, you can apply for and get a motorcycle license by passing the road test on the on-bike skills test.

As we can see from this, Massachusetts places a high priority on safe riding. This is encouraging, as knowing how to ride a motorcycle safely should be taken seriously.

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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