Riding a motorcycle around North Carolina is quite an adventure. The state is home to beautiful mountains and scenic coastlines. And, as long as you have your motorcycle license, there isn’t much to worry about as you travel.
You can get your motorcycle endorsement from the NC DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles). To get it, motorcycle riders must pass a motorcycle knowledge test and a road test. And for a motorcycle learner’s permit, you must pass a written test on motorcycle knowledge.
In North Carolina, you can legally ride a motorbike with a motorcycle learner permit or a motorcycle endorsement on your valid driver’s license. The driver’s license can be a provisional, regular, or commercial driver’s license. There is no separate North Carolina motorcycle license.
Table of contents
- Applying for a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement
- Applying for a motorcycle learner’s permit.
- Motorcycle insurance in NC
- Do you need a motorcycle endorsement or license to ride a moped?
- Important motorcycle laws in NC
Applying for a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement
In NC, a “motorcycle” means any vehicle having a saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. It includes scooters and motor-driven bicycles but excludes tractors.
To apply for a motorcycle endorsement in NC, you must be at least 16 years old. And you must have a regular driver’s license. This can be a full-provisional, regular, or commercial driver’s license issued by North Carolina.
If you don’t have a valid NC driver’s license, you must apply for one first. You have to pass a vision test, road sign test, knowledge test, and driving test to get one. See all details here.
The application process for an endorsement
You can apply for a motorcycle endorsement at a local office of the DMV. You have to submit an application and proof of identity, age, residency, and social security number. Here is a list of acceptable documents.
To get a motorcycle endorsement, a North Carolina resident must pass a motorcycle knowledge test and a road skills test.
You must first make an appointment to sit for your motorcycle knowledge test. This is a written test. It covers traffic laws and safe-driving practices. The NC DMV offers the test in different languages. You can study for the test with the help of the North Carolina Motorcyclists’ Handbook.
Then, you must pass an off-street motorcycle skills test. For this, you have to make an appointment online. Only select North Carolina DMV offices have this facility. The on-cycle skills test is also possible only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
In addition to the above, you may need to pass a vision test and a traffic sign test.
Note: You can get the road test waived if you have a certificate of completion of an approved motorcycle safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, as well as the North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Education Program, offers such courses.
Additional requirements for those under 18
Those who are less than 18 years of age need to get a motorcycle learner’s permit first.
They must have a full provisional license issued by the DMV. You also need the signed consent of a parent or legal guardian.
They must also complete an approved motorcycle safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, as well as the North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Education Program, offers such courses.
Applying for a motorcycle learner’s permit.
The minimum age to apply for a learner’s permit is 16 years. In this case, new riders under 18 must hold either a full provisional NC license. You must also get your parent or legal guardian’s signature of approval.
Those above 18 years must have a standard NC driver’s license.
The application process
You can apply for a permit at a local office of the DMV. You have to submit an application and proof of identity, age, residency, and social security number.
Then, you have to pass a vision exam, a road sign test, and a knowledge test. These tests confirm that you know what street signs mean. And can help you prove that you can safely operate a motorcycle on the roads.
You can study for the test with the help of the North Carolina Motorcyclists’ Handbook.
New riders under 18 must also pass an approved motorcycle safety course.
Once you pass the required tests, you will get a Temporary Driving Certificate to use until your permit arrives. The DMV will send it to you by mail within 20 days.
Motorcycle learner’s permits are only valid for 12 months. But you can renew them for six extra months. You cannot carry passengers while riding with a valid motorcycle permit. All riders also need to wear helmets.
The license and permit fees for a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement and learner permit are as follows:
- Motorcycle permit fee is $21.50 for 12 months.
- Motorcycle endorsement costs $2.55 per year.
Your license will be valid for 5 or 8 years, depending on your age. Licenses issued to adults who are 18 to 65 are valid for eight years. And licenses issued to adults who are 66 years and over are valid for five years.
See more details about the cost of licenses and permits on the NC DOT website. You can pay for the fees via cash, money order, personal checks, a credit card, or a debit card.
Motorcycle insurance in NC
North Carolina law requires all motorcycle and motorscooter operators to have liability insurance for their vehicles. Riders must have a valid insurance card on them at all times.
The insurance policy must have the following minimum coverage:
- $30,000 in bodily injury per person.
- $60,000 in total bodily injury per accident.
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
Do you need a motorcycle endorsement or license to ride a moped?
In NC, you don’t need a driver’s license to ride a moped. But operators must be at least 16 years old to operate on highways or public roads. They must also wear a safety helmet and register their mopeds.
Important motorcycle laws in NC
- Don’t forget your helmet in North Carolina. Here, all motorcycle riders, including drivers and passengers, must wear helmets at all times on the road. This requirement applies to moped riders and passengers as well.
Additionally, the helmet should adhere to the federal motor vehicle safety standard too.
- Lane splitting is not specifically illegal in NC. The state has no laws explicitly permitting or allowing lane-splitting. However, if you lane-split, you may face charges under broader motorcycle safety laws.
- All motorcycles must have at least one rearview mirror.
In North Carolina, you need a motorcycle learner’s permit or a motorcycle endorsement on your standard driver’s license to ride a motorbike. It does not have a motorcycle-only license.
You can get your motorcycle endorsement from the NC DMV after passing a motorcycle knowledge test and a road test. And you can get a motorcycle learner’s permit by passing a motorcycle knowledge test. Getting an endorsement or permit can be easy if you study the motorcycle manual properly.