Motorcycle License in Illinois
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Obtaining an Illinois driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement is a detailed process. State governments, including Illinois, make it particularly demanding since motorcycle accidents, and the severe injuries that can result, can drain state coffers if the victims are uninsured and end up on the public health rolls.
Remember: Though Illinois, unlike some states, does not require the use of a helmet, it strongly recommends them for all riders.
There are two types of motorcycle licenses in Illinois. The Class L type is for motor-driven cycles with an engine displacement of 150 cubic centimeters or less. The Class M license is for motorcycles with a displacement of 151cc or more.
Teens 16 and 17 years old can obtain a motorcycle license by following this process:
- Apply for a learner's permit (also known as an instructional permit) for a conventional license.
- Attend and complete a driver education course at school.
- Apply for a 12-month motorcycle learner's permit.
- Study the Motorcycle Manual and the Rules of the Road.
- Enroll in the 20-hour Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Motorcycle Rider Course. This course is free. Find out more by calling IDOT's Motorcycle Safety Project at (800) 892-9607 or (800) 642-9589.
- Hold your learner's permit for at least three months. During this time, you are allowed to ride the motorcycle only in daylight hours while supervised by a qualified motorcyclist.
- Pass the motorcycle road test at any local Secretary of State driver services office.
A new motorcycle license costs $10.
If you are 18 or over, most of the same requirements still apply. The main exception is that if you complete the IDOT Motorcycle Rider Course, you can waive the road test. The fee for the first-time Class M or Class L endorsement is $10. Renewals are $5.
Riders will be expected to demonstrate proper control of the motorcycle at all times. This will include starting it, making slow and fast turns, driving in traffic, and stopping safely and smoothly. The Motorcycle Manual offers detailed information on how to execute the moves that will be required on the test. The manual also provides sample questions for the written portion of the test.
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