How prevalent are motorcycles in Missouri? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Missouri has about 2,055 motorcycles per 100,000 people. So, the state does have its share of motorcycle enthusiasts, even if the number may be low.
Of course, you need a motorcycle license to ride a motorbike like in other states. Missouri law requires you to get a Class M instruction permit, a Class M motorcycle license, or a motorcycle endorsement on a valid license.
You can get a motorcycle license by applying for one at a local Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) office. You will need to be above 18 years of age. And must pass a road skill test or complete a course at an authorized motorcycle rider training school.
You must get a permit first if you are under 18 but older than 15 ½ years.
How to apply for a Missouri motorcycle license or endorsement
To apply for a Class M motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement, you must be above the age of 18. You can apply for an endorsement on a Class F license. This is the basic driver’s license that allows you to drive everyday cars and trucks.
You must visit your local DMV to apply for the Class M license, as you cannot file online licensing applications.
What documents do you need?
- A completed application form
- Proof that you are a U.S. citizen or legally authorized to be in the U.S.
- Your Social Security Number (SSN) and documents to prove your age and Missouri residency. This can include your birth certificate, utility bills, etc.
- You may also need to present your out-of-state license if you have one.
If you want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant license, you will also need an embossed copy of your birth certificate. This should be from your state’s birth vital records agency. The hospital copy or a photocopy will not do.
Then, you need to pay the application and testing fees. The cost for a 3-year license is $10, and the cost for six years is $20. These fees do not include the fees for tests.
You can pay by cash, personal check, cashier’s check, money order, and credit or debit card. Check the details on the DOR website.
What tests do you need to pass?
You have to pass a vision exam.
Motorcycle riders must also pass two exams to obtain a Class M license or motorcycle endorsement. These are a written test and an on-cycle road test.
The written exam includes questions about basic motorcycle navigation and road safety. You can study for this test by reading the Missouri Motorcycle Operator Manual.
Many riders take a practice test to ensure they are prepared for the test. But you may not have to take a written test if you currently have a valid out-of-state motorcycle license.
Then, you must pass an on-cycle skills test. This demonstrates your ability to control a motorcycle on the road safely. Alternatively, you can complete an approved motorcycle safety training course instead of the skills test.
How long does it take to get your license?
If you have passed the required tests and your documents are verified, they will send your license by mail. It ideally takes 7 to 10 business days.
How to apply for instruction permits for riders under 18 years
Riders under 18 years need to get a permit first.
The minimum age to apply for a Class M permit is 15 years and 182 days. The cost for an instruction permit is $3.50.
The applicant should have written consent from their parent or legal guardian to apply.
Then, the rider must pass the Class M and Class F written and vision tests. They also need to complete a motorcycle driving course.
All riders under 16 must also complete a state-certified motorcycle safety course.
Restrictions for a rider with a temporary motorcycle instruction permit
- They can only drive during daylight and without passengers.
- They cannot travel beyond 50 miles from their home address.
- Engine size must not be greater than 250cc.
Once the rider gets their motorcycle learner’s permit, they need to hold it for at least six months. Then, they can apply for an intermediate license (see below).
Applying for an intermediate license
This license is for those between 16 to 18 years of age.
Before applying for one, they need to get a permit first and then hold it for six months. Then, they can apply for an intermediate license. The fee for an intermediate license is $7.50.
The documents needed and tests you have to pass are the same as applying for a Class M license (as given above). You also need a parent, legal guardian, or driving instructor to certify that you’ve completed your 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
After this, once you reach 18 years, you can apply for a full Class M license. You can do this by visiting a driver’s license office and passing the vision and road signs tests. And pay the $10 fee.
What does this license permit?
This license allows the rider to drive independently but with several restrictions. They cannot drive with more than one passenger for the first six months. And no more than three passengers after the first six months.
Riders also cannot drive alone between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. But exceptions can be made if they are driving to or from a school activity, job, or emergency. Or if they are with a licensed adult who is older than 21.
According to Missouri motorcycle laws, all motorcyclists must have insurance.
This should include $10,000 for property damage and $50,000 coverage for bodily injury for all persons. It should also have $25,000 coverage for bodily injury for one person.
The validity of a Missouri motorcycle license
Riders who are 16 – 17 years old
They will get an intermediate license that expires up to two years from the date issued.
Ages 18 – 20
They will receive a 3-year driver’s license. It will expire on the applicant’s date of birth in the third year after the date of issuance.
Ages 21 – 69
They will receive a 6-year driver’s license. It expires on the applicant’s date of birth in the sixth year after the date of issuance.
Ages 70 and over
They will receive a 3-year driver’s license. It expires on the applicant’s date of birth in the third year after the date of issuance.
Renewal of your license
You may renew your license up to 6 months before it expires. The DOR will send you a reminder (Driver License Renewal Postcard).
You can apply for a renewal of your license in person at the DMV or by mail. The fee is $10.00 (under 21 or older than 70) or $20.00 (age 21-69).
For the renewal, you must take a road sign recognition test and a vision test.
If want to ride a scooter or a moped, you do not need to obtain a separate license in the state of Missouri. Your valid driver’s license (Class F) will do. You also do not need to register the vehicle with the Missouri DOR.
Missouri motorcycle helmet law
Under Missouri law, every person operating a motorcycle on public roads must wear protective headgear. They must meet U.S. DOT requirements. Passengers must also wear helmets.
But this law has changed slightly since 2020. The state adopted a new law. It allows riders age 26 and older with a Class M license or Class M endorsement to ride without a helmet.
However, you can do this only if you have insurance. The insurance should cover injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
So, how can you get a motorcycle license in Missouri? By applying for one at a local Missouri Department of Revenue office. And passing the required tests.
Anyone above the age of 18 can apply for one. If you are under 18, you must get a permit first. And hold that for six months.
An essential aspect of being a responsible motorcycle owner is following safe riding practices. Getting the proper license is a crucial part of this process. So, make sure you do that.