How To Get A Motorcycle License in VA (Virginia)?

Virginia is a dream destination for many motorcyclists. The state is famous for its majestic mountains and scenic drives. But before you can enjoy the view around the Blue Ridge mountains on your motorcycle, you need a license.

 A Virginia motorcycle license is mandatory for all drivers operating two or three-wheeled motorcycles. You can get a motorcycle-only license or a valid driver’s license endorsement. There are three classes of endorsement – M, M2, and M3.

You can get a motorcycle license at the Virginia DMV (Virginia department of motor vehicles). For this, you must pass a vision exam and a written exam on motorcycle knowledge. You also need to complete the motorcycle road skills test.

Additionally, new riders above 18 should have a motorcycle permit for at least 30 days. Those under 18 must hold it for at least 9 months.

Getting a motorcycle endorsement 

Virginia motorcycle laws state that you can legally drive a motorcycle only if you have a motorcycle license or endorsement on your existing license. There are three classes of endorsement – M, M2, and M3.

First-time riders also need to get a motorcycle learner’s permit first. If you are over the age of 18, you have to get the permit and hold it for at least 30 days.

The motorcycle permit process

You must be at least 15 years and 6 months of age to get a motorcycle permit in Virginia. You can apply at a local office of your DMV.

To apply, you must provide proof of identity and residence in Virginia. Acceptable documents include a driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, and mortgage documents. The fee is currently $3, as per the fee chart.

Then, you must pass a vision test and motorcycle knowledge exam as well as a road test or motorcycle skills test. During the road test, you have to bring your motorcycle. 

You must also wear an approved safety helmet, eye protection (safety glasses), and a face shield. 

You can study the Virginia Driver’s Manual and Virginia Motorcycle Operators Manual to pass the motorcycle knowledge test.

Once you pass all the necessary tests, you will get a motorcycle instruction permit. You will get one year to apply for a license. The website has more information on the different tests. 

Motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license

Once you get your permit, you have to hold your permit for 30 days. For those under 18, the duration is nine months. Then, you can apply for a license or endorsement on your driver’s license.

There are three types of motorcycle endorsements in Virginia. This depends on the types of motorcycles:

  • M class. This endorsement allows you to ride any two or three-wheeler.
  • M2. This means you can drive only two-wheeled motorcycles.
  • M3. You are allowed to drive only three-wheeled motorcycles.

You must apply for the endorsement at your local office of the VA DMV. You should have a valid Virginia driver’s license. You also need to show proof of identification and address.

Once you have submitted the above, the process is similar to getting a permit. You will have to pass the required vision screening and motorcycle knowledge test.

Note: If you fail the DMV road skills test twice, you must pass a Virginia Rider Training Program before getting the Virginia motorcycle endorsement.

Exceptions

You can get an exemption from the motorcycle knowledge and road skills exams if you have completed the Virginia Rider Training Program

After passing the exam, you will get a course completion certificate. The exemption is valid for up to one year from the completion date. 

Those age 19 and older will be given a Virginia DMV provisional license. This can serve as a temporary license that can be used to operate a motorcycle for 30 days.

When and how will you receive your new motorcycle license?

The DMV will send the license to the postal address on your application. The process does not take long.

Can you avoid the DMV tests while applying for a license?

Yes, it is possible. You can skip the DMV testing if you do an approved motorcycle training course or motorcycle safety course. After you complete your motorcycle safety program course, you just need to present your certificate of completion at the DMV.

How to get a motorcycle-only license

If you don’t have a valid driver’s license and don’t want to go through the hassle of getting one, you can get a motorcycle-only license. 

An applicant can get a Virginia motorcycle operator’s license with an M, M2, or M3 class. This kind of license displays a “6” under restriction along with an “M,” “M2”, or “M3”. If you are under 18, you must also show proof of completing an approved driver education program.

To get a motorcycle license, you must pass the two-part driver’s license knowledge exam. You also need to pass a vision test and a driving test.

The motorcycle-only driver’s license costs $6 per year and is normally valid for eight years. 

Restrictions for applicants under 18 years

  • Applicants under 18 years must hold their permits for at least nine months before applying for a license or endorsement.  
  • Under 18, applicants must provide proof of successful completion of an approved driver education program or basic rider course. They should provide this before receiving any Virginia driver’s license, including a motorcycle-only license. This is a separate requirement from the Virginia Rider Training Program.

Is insurance necessary for motorcyclists in Virginia?

 Per Virginia law, you don’t need motorcycle liability insurance if you pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee.

But if you still need to pay the UMV fee, then you must carry insurance. It should cover bodily injury and property damage liabilities. This will help pay for damages or injuries you may cause to others in case of an accident. 

You need to have minimum coverage as follows: 

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 in total bodily injury per accident
  • $20,000 in property damage per accident

Virginia also requires motorcycle operators to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury coverage (UM/UIM BI). This helps pay the difference when another driver injures you but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your medical bills. The minimum coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. 

But whether it is mandatory or not, it is always a good idea to have motorcycle insurance.

Essential laws to keep in mind

  • The Virginia motorcycle helmet law says that all riders must wear a helmet that meets certain minimum requirements. Riders must also wear eye protection or have a windshield. 
  • Lane splitting is not legal in Virginia.

Conclusion

You can get your Virginia motorcycle license or endorsement from the DMV. But first, all new riders must get a permit. Only after you get one can you apply for a license. Then you have to pass a written test and a road test.

As you can see, getting a motorcycle license in Virginia is relatively easy. So, why are you hesitating? Get it and enjoy the state’s scenic roads in the best way possible – on your motorcycle!

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