Did you know that New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the United States? Yes, it is. And it is home to more than 330,000 registered motorcycles. You need a motorcycle license if you want to join them on the open road.
To get a New Jersey motorcycle license, you have to be at least 17 years old. If you do not have a regular driver’s license, you have to get a motorcycle permit first. Then, you have to pass the NJ MVC (New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission) motorcycle road test.
If you are under 18 years, you also need to complete an NJ Motorcycle Safety Education Program (MSEP) Basic Rider Course.
How to get a motorcycle-only license
In NJ, a motorcycle is any vehicle with attached motors. This includes motorbikes, bicycles, and tricycles or trikes. And you need a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license or a separate license to ride one.
If you don’t have a driver’s license, you have to first apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit. Only after that can you apply for a separate motorcycle license.
You can get an NJ motorcycle license in two ways, depending on your age:
- If you are under 18 years, you need to first complete the Basic Rider Course (BRC) before applying for a license. If you are above 18 years, the BRC is optional.
- If you are above 18, you can apply without completing the BRC. But after you get your permit.
Getting a motorcycle permit
In NJ, to get a permit, you have to:
- Be at least 17 years of age. If you are under 17, you need to get consent from a parent or guardian.
- Bring 6 Points of ID verification to a local office of the NJ MVC. The MVC website has a list of required documents here.
- You also need to provide your Social Security number, ITIN, or affidavit. And proof of your address and that you are a New Jersey resident.
- Then, you have to pass the knowledge written test and vision test to get the instruction permit. You can study for the test using the NJ motorcycle manual.
A permit costs $5 currently, as given on the NJ MVC website.
What happens after you get the permit
If you are over the age of 21, you must complete 3 months of practice riding after you get your permit. Then you can apply for a full license. If you are under 21 years, the duration of practice riding is 6 months.
During this time, if you receive any citations, you may not take your road test. You can get citations for breaking the rules, such as going over the posted speed limit.
Applying for a license after completing a Basic Rider Course
The Basic Rider Course
This course is mandatory if you are under 18 years.
For this, you have to register with an approved motorcycle training provider to do a Basic Rider Course. Then, you must attend approximately five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding exercises.
Once you complete the course, you will receive a course completion card. You will also get a stamped waiver form, after which you can apply for a license.
After you apply for the license, you have to schedule a road test appointment. For the riding skills test, you must bring your own motorcycle or trike (registered and insured). You also need to have a helmet and eye protection.
Once you successfully pass the test, you have to pay the required fees. It is currently $42 on the website.
Getting your license
You will first get a Probationary Motorcycle License (Class E). You must complete one year of probationary riding with restrictions using the probationary license. During that one year, you are not allowed to ride after dark, on state-restricted toll roads, or with passengers.
Then, after this, you will get an unrestricted New Jersey motorcycle license. You also need to be above 18 years of age.
Applying for a license without the Basic Rider Course
If you are above the age of 18, you can apply for a motorcycle-only license without completing the BRC. But you need to get the permit first.
The process is the same as given above, but without the BRC. You need to pass a road test and pay the required fees.
Then, you will initially get a Probationary Motorcycle License (Class E). Then, after a year, you will get an unrestricted valid motorcycle license.
How to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license
If you already have a driver’s license, you can choose to add a motorcycle endorsement to it. There are two ways you can do this in the state of NJ.
Complete the Basic Ride Course
This is mandatory if you are under 18 years.
For this, you have to register for a training course with an approved provider. Then, you must attend approximately five hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding exercises.
After completion of the course, you will receive a course completion card. You will also get a stamped waiver form. Then you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement.
Bring the course completion documents and 6 Points of ID verification to a driver testing center. Applicants must be at least age 17. A parent/guardian or guardian also needs to give consent for applicants under the age of 18.
Then you must complete and pass a vision test and pay the required fees.
Apply without completing the Basic Rider Course (BRC)
First, get a motorcycle examination permit. The process is given above. Then, you have to practice riding for at least 20 days.
Once that is complete, take the motorcycle road test at a driving center or your local motor vehicle agency. You must bring your motorcycle or trike and your helmet and eye protection.
After you pass the road test, pay the required fees. Then, you will get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
Does the size of your motorcycle engine matter while getting a license?
Yes. If you take a road test on a bike that has a 231cc (cubic centimeters) engine or less, you will get a restricted license. You will get an M endorsement on your license or a Class E motorcycle-only license with restrictions. This means you can only ride a motorcycle with a 500cc engine or less.
If you take the road test on a bike that is over 231cc, you will get an M endorsement or motorcycle-only license. These have no restrictions.
But there is an exception to the above rule. If you have successfully completed a Motorcycle Safety Education Program (MSEP) course, then the bike size requirement does not apply.
If you’re riding a motorcycle in New Jersey, you’ll have to buy motorcycle insurance. It is mandatory for residents of New Jersey.
Motorcycle riders must have a minimum of $15,000 dollars of liability insurance from an insurance company. This is to cover the cost of medical bills in case of a motorcycle accident.
You can get a motorcycle license in New Jersey by passing a road test at the NJ MVC. But first, you should get a permit after passing the permit test and/or completing a Basic Rider Course.
Alternatively, you can also get a motorcycle endorsement on your valid New Jersey driver’s license instead. The processes for both are similar and are not very complicated.
In New Jersey, you can be fined $500 and face potential jail time if you are caught riding without a motorcycle license. So, make sure to get it before riding on public roads.