Motorcycle License in Idaho
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You've heard it a million times. Friends, family, even coworkers will give you their spiel about motorcycles as you consider joining the ranks of Americans who take to the road on two wheels. And no matter how thrilling it is to straddle a motorcycle on the open road, you won't have fun for too long if you don't ride safely.
Riding a motorcycle lands you in a totally different class of drivers. You, more than anyone behind the wheel of a car or truck, must drive defensively at all times. People driving cars are not looking for you; they are not expecting to see a motorcycle, if they even see you at all.
Therefore, you must anticipate their moves, and you must assume that you are not on their radar. If you can continuously keep your awareness up from the minute you start your bike to the moment you dismount, then you will find plenty of enjoyment on two wheels.
Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, you should consider sharpening your skills by way of a rider course. Idaho STAR (Skills Training Advantage for Riders), a program incorporated within the Idaho Department of Education, offers classes designed for those who either want to learn how to ride or to improve upon the skills they already have.
The basic course is aimed primarily at young, first-time riders and at those who have little to no experience on a motorcycle, as the highest number of motorcycle crashes involve riders under the age of 24 and older than 40.
Because of that if you are younger than 21, the state requires you to complete and pass a motorcycle rider trainer course (Note: If you are younger than 17, you must have completed an approved driver-training course prior to enrolling for one on motorcycles). Still, it's a good idea, though not a requirement for those older than 21, to sign up for one regardless of your age.
Besides the obvious, there are additional benefits to completing an approved training course successfully. For starters, it could get you out of the riding skills portion of the exam if you "graduate" within one year of applying for a motorcycle license. Secondly, it could get you a lower insurance rate.
Idaho STAR holds class in Boise, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Lewiston, Paul, Mendian, Nampa, and Pocatello. Call (888) 280-STAR (7827) for more information.
At the very least, you should thoroughly study the Idaho Motorcycle Operators Manual. It covers all the information, such as road rules and safety practices, that you will encounter during the written knowledge test and on the road.
In addition to the written portion, testing also includes an on-cycle skills exam, unless you have successfully completed an approved rider-training course. You can either download a PDF version of the manual or pick up a free copy at any Idaho County Driver's License office.
The written test has 30 multiple-choice questions, five of which you are allowed to miss and still pass the exam. Pages 43 and 44 of the manual should give you an idea of what to expect on test day. It features five sample questions (and answers) for the written test and ten possible areas that the examiner may test you on during the skills (road) test, such as basic vehicle control, obstacle avoidance, and safety practices. You must take the written test before you take the skills test.
You can take the skills test at any one of the state's third-party skills tester facilities:
Be sure you schedule an appointment first, and then bring along the following:
- A signed receipt from the licensing office as proof that you completed the written test
- A motorcycle
- Proof of current registration and insurance for the bike you will use for the skills test
- $10 to pay the skills tester fee
A motorcycle instruction permit allows Idaho driver's license holders with Class A, B, C, or D licenses to practice riding as long as they uphold these restrictions:
- No riding before the sun comes up or after the sun goes down
- No riding on the freeway
- No riding with passengers
In order to get your hands on an instruction permit, you must pass the written knowledge test. The state will waive the one-time motorcycle endorsement fee if you add it to your Idaho driver's license during the 180-day instruction period during which the permit is valid. If you let the permit expire, you'll have to pay the endorsement fee.
A motorcycle license! Well, that is only if you have done the following:
- Obtained an Idaho driver's license
- Successfully completed a state-approved, motorcycle-rider training course (a recommendation for all riders and a requirement for those younger than 21)
- Passed the motorcycle written knowledge test and the skills test
- Paid the applicable fees listed below
In addition to the money you'll spend to obtain an Idaho driver's license, expect to pay one or more of the following fees to add the "M" endorsement to your license. If you fail the written and/or on-cycle skills test, you have to wait three days to retest and then cough up the money to pay the fee again.
- Motorcycle "M" endorsement: $15 (one-time fee)
- Motorcycle instruction permit: $15 (valid for 180 days)
- Motorcycle skills test: $10 (paid to the skills tester)
- Motorcycle written test: $3 (paid to the county)
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