Did you know that New Mexico is home to numerous forests and national monuments, and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Naturally, this makes the state appealing to many bikers who love adventurous and scenic rides.
To legally ride a motorcycle in New Mexico, you will need a motorcycle endorsement on a valid driver’s license. The state offers three types of endorsements (W, Y, Z) depending on your age and type of vehicle.
To get a New Mexico motorcycle license, you must apply at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). Then pass a vision test, a written test, and a road test. Or you can instead complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.
You can also get a separate Class M motorcycle license with a W, Y, or Z endorsement. But you can drive only motorcycles with this type of license.
Table of contents
- Types of motorcycle endorsements
- W endorsement
- Y and Z endorsements
- If you are under 18 years of age
- What happens next?
- Getting a motorcycle learner’s permit
- Exceptions for mopeds and off-highway motor vehicles
- Motorcycle safety
- Motorcycle insurance requirement in New Mexico
Types of motorcycle endorsements
In the state of New Mexico, you have 3 endorsements to choose from when applying for your motorcycle license. They are as follows:
- W endorsement – This will allow you to drive any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine of 100 or more cubic centimeters of piston displacement.
- Y endorsement – This will allow you to drive any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine capacity of at least 50cc but less than 100cc (cubic centimeters).
- Z endorsement – With this endorsement, you can drive any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine capacity of less than 50cc.
You can choose to apply for any of the above, depending on your age and need. The endorsement will be added to your standard driver’s license, which will then also serve as a motorcycle license.
You must be at least 15 years of age to apply for one. You should also have a valid driver’s license. The license can be from New Mexico or any other state.
If you don’t have a license, you must provide the required documents for a first-time license. You have to provide these when you apply for the motorcycle license. Click the links to find the information on the documents needed for a standard driver’s license or Real ID.
You can also get the W endorsement on a valid motorcycle instruction permit or provisional license instead.
Note: In New Mexico, you can apply for a permit if you are at least 13 years old. But you need the written consent of a parent or legal guardian.
To get the endorsement, you have to take a written motorcycle license test and a road test or skills test. You can skip the written knowledge test if you already have a valid driver’s license, permit, or provisional license.
You must also take the test on your own motorcycle for the road test. And it should have an engine size of 100cc or more.
To apply, you must take along proof of identity, age, and two proofs of residency. The list of acceptable documents includes your birth certificate and Social Security Number.
Of course, don’t forget to bring along the proof of completion of the motorcycle license test.
You’ll also need to pass a vision test. And pay the necessary license fees. It is currently $18 for a four-year license and $34 for an eight-year license (plus a convenience fee).
An alternate option
The MVD will waive the written exam and road test if you have completed a Motorcycle Safety Course — Basic Rider Course. In this case, you need to present the MSF course completion certificate when you apply for the endorsement.
Check the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program website for more information on classes, costs, and locations.
Y and Z endorsements
To apply for a Y or Z endorsement, you need to be at least 13 years old. You should also have a valid license, permit, or provisional license.
The process to apply for Y and Z endorsements is similar to that given above for a W endorsement. The most significant difference is in the type of motorcycle you will use for the road test. And you have to be at least 15 years old to apply for a W endorsement.
For a Y endorsement road test, you need to use a motorcycle with an engine capacity of at least 50cc but less than 100cc. For the Z endorsement, the bike should have an engine size of less than 50cc.
If you are under 18 years of age
There are some additional requirements for all motorcycle riders under 18:
- They need to complete a Motorcycle Safety Course (Basic Rider Course). This is mandatory for all three types of endorsements.
- You need to present written proof of consent from a parent or legal guardian.
- They should always wear motorcycle helmets while riding.
- They cannot carry passengers while riding. This is unless the passenger is wearing a safety helmet that meets federal standards.
- A first-time license holder who is under the age of 18 cannot carry any other passenger while driving a motorcycle.
If you get the motorcycle endorsement on a valid motorcycle permit or provisional license, you also cannot carry passengers.
What happens next?
Once you apply for a motorcycle license, you will receive a temporary printout of your license. This is valid for 45 days. You should carry this printout until you receive your permanent license in the mail. The NM MVD will mail the license to you within 3 weeks.
Getting a motorcycle learner’s permit
You have to be at least 13 years old to apply for a permit. This is younger than in most states.
To apply for a permit, you need to apply to your local MVD office with proof of identity, age, U.S. citizenship, and SSN.
You should also show any active driver’s licenses or permits that you already own. Then, you have to pass a written knowledge exam and a riding skills test. This can be waived if you have completed an MSF Basic Rider Course.
You also need to show proof of a completed driver education course and pass a vision exam.
The fee for a permit with endorsements is currently $10.
N.M. motorcycle permit restrictions
If you are under 18 years, you must wear a helmet while riding and cannot carry passengers.
You must drive with a licensed adult to drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.
Exceptions for mopeds and off-highway motor vehicles
The state defines a moped as a two-wheeled or three-wheeled vehicle with an automatic transmission. It should have an engine size of less than 50cc and a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour.
If you own a moped, you don’t need a motorcycle endorsement to drive it. A valid driver’s license or permit of any class will suffice.
You don’t need a license to drive an off-highway vehicle. But if you are under 18, you must do it under a parent’s supervision (if you don’t have a license or permit).
The New Mexico Department of Transportation strongly encourages motorcycle training. This helps promote road safety and prevent motorcycle accidents. You can register for a motorcycle training class here.
Motorcycle insurance requirement in New Mexico
Motorcycle insurance is not mandatory in New Mexico. But all riders are obligated to provide proof of financial responsibility.
So this means you have to deposit $60,000 or a surety bond of that amount to the State Treasurer’s office. Or, you have to get motorcycle liability insurance (which is often the cheaper option). Hence, it is a good idea to get insurance.
Your motorcycle insurance in New Mexico must have a minimum coverage of the following:
- $25,000 for death or bodily injury to one person.
- $50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons.
- $10,000 for damage or destruction of property.
You can get a motorcycle license in New Mexico with one of three types of motorcycle endorsements. They depend on your age and the size of your motorbike engine.
To get it, you must apply at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). Then pass a vision test as well as a written test and road test. Or you can instead complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.