How To Get A Motorcycle License in Rhode Island?

We all know that a motorcycle is a convenient way to get around. This also makes it perfect for smaller areas, such as Rhode Island. To ride a motorcycle legally in RI, you need a motorcycle license. It comes in the form of an endorsement on a standard driver’s license.

To get a Rhode Island motorcycle license from the RI DMV, you must possess a regular driver’s license. Then you have to get a motorcycle permit first and hold it for at least 30 days. 

Additionally, you must pass a motorcycle safety course. The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) offers this course. After you have completed all this, you will get your M endorsement on the regular driver’s license. 

Motorcycle endorsement for Rhode Island residents

Rhode Island requires a special license to operate a motorcycle. This is in the form of an “M” endorsement which is added to a regular driver’s license.

The M endorsement can come with certain restrictions. They are as follows:

  • An “M” endorsement without restrictions means you can operate both two and three-wheeled motorcycles.
  • An “M” endorsement with a “Q” restriction means you can operate two-wheel motorcycles only.
  • An “M” endorsement with a “W” restriction allows you to operate a 3-wheel motorcycle only.

You don’t need a motorcycle endorsement to ride a motor scooter or motor-driven cycle that has an engine size of less than 50cc (cubic centimeters). 

What do you need to apply for a Rhode Island motorcycle endorsement?

You must be at least 16 years of age. And must have a standard driver’s license. If you don’t have a valid driver’s license, you must apply for one first.

Applying for a permit if you don’t have a regular license

The first step to getting an M endorsement is to apply for a motorcycle permit at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

For this, you need to submit a permit application, proof of identity, Social Security Number (SSN), and proof of RI residency. If you are under 18, you also need to submit written consent from a parent or legal guardian. And pay the necessary fees.

Then, you must pass a written test or knowledge exam. Study the Rhode Island Driver’s Manual for the exam. After that, make a reservation to take the written knowledge test.

If you are over 18, you have to take the test at DMV headquarters, 600 New London Ave, Cranston. If you are under 18, you have to complete a driver education class first. Then, you must bring your completion certificate to take the knowledge exam at Cranston. 

Once you pass the exam, you will get a Rhode Island motorcycle permit. If you fail, you can retake the test after 8 days.

You also have to pass a road skills test at a local DMV office. You can schedule an appointment online

Once you pass the road test, you will get your driver’s license. If you are under 18, you will get a limited provisional license. You will initially get a temporary license and they will mail you the permanent one within 60 days.

Applying for a permit if you have a regular license

In this case, you can take a safety course offered by the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). It offers a Basic Rider Course where it provides training motorcycles for new drivers. There are separate courses for two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles.

For the riding sessions, you must wear a helmet and other protective clothing. This includes eye protection, long-sleeve shirts, jackets, and gloves.

Once you get the certificate of completion from CCRI, visit your local DMV with it and your valid driver’s license. Pay the fee and get your permit. The certificate is valid for six months. 

What next?

Once you get a learner’s permit, you have to hold it for at least 30 days. During the 30-day ‘trial’ period, you must not receive any tickets or violations. Or get into any accidents.

After 30 days is up, you can return to any DMV branch with the motorcycle permit and your valid RI license. There you can have the “M” endorsement added to your license. Here is a list of DMV branch locations

If your CCRI certificate is for a two-wheel motorcycle, you will get an M endorsement with a ‘Q’ restriction. If it is for a three-wheel motorbike, you will get a Class M endorsement with a ‘W’ restriction. 

So, to get an M endorsement with no restrictions, you have to give CCRI certificates for both two and three-wheel motorcycle courses.

Note: A motorcycle permit is valid for 18 months. It cannot be renewed. So, you must convert it to the “M” endorsement on your license before the permit expires. If you cannot, then you have to retake the CCRI course and get a new certificate.


The DMV fee table lists all the necessary costs. Some are given below.

  • The first driver’s license (for those 18 years and above) is $39.50.
  • A Limited Provisional License (for those under age 18) is $24.50.
  • A motorcycle license is $27.50.
  • A motorcycle permit is $27.50.
  • A road test costs $27.50.

There may be an additional charge if you pay by credit card.

License renewal

Your motorcycle endorsement will expire when your driver’s license does. An RI driver’s license is valid for 5 years for those under 71 years. 

You can renew the license online, by mail, or in person.

What if you have a motorcycle endorsement from another state?

You might already have a valid motorcycle license from another state or an M endorsement on an out-of-state license. In this case, you can exchange your existing license for a Rhode Island license.

For this, you don’t have to pass any tests or courses. You just need to go to any Rhode Island DMV office with your current license. There, you have to submit an application and provide the out-of-state license and get a new RI driver’s license, after paying a fee.

Motorcycle insurance in Rhode Island. Do you need it?

Yes. Motorcycle laws in the state of Rhode Island require all motorists licensed in the state to have motorist insurance. You also need to show proof of insurance while registering your motorcycle in the state.

The minimum motorcycle insurance coverage amounts in Rhode Island should be as follows:

  • $25,000 for death or bodily injury to one person.
  • $50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons.
  • $25,000 for damage or destruction of property.


A motorcycle license in Rhode Island comes in the form of an endorsement on a standard driver’s license. To get it, motorcycle riders must be at least 16 years old and should have a regular driver’s license. 

The first step is to get a motorcycle permit, which you can get by passing a written exam. Or by completing a state-approved first motorcycle safety course. Then, you have to hold the permit for 30 days, after which you will get your motorcycle license. 

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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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