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To operate a motorcycle in Indiana, you must have a motorcycle endorsement added to your base license. To do so, you must either first obtain a motorcycle learner's permit, or you must pass a Motorcycle Operator Safety Education course.
Please note that the laws in Indiana have recently changed. Indiana previously had two permit types: a temporary permit and a learner's permit. Currently, Indiana only issues a learner's permit.
Indiana also previously offered “Motorcycle Only" licenses. These are no longer distributed; at this time, you may only apply for a motorcycle endorsement to be added to your current operator, chauffeur, or public passenger license.
If you are new to Indiana and you hold a valid out-of-state motorcycle license or endorsement, you can transfer it to a motorcycle endorsement. Note that you must have a valid operator, chauffeur, or public passenger base license from Indiana on which to add the endorsement.
To get an operator license with a motorcycle endorsement, you'll need to take both a knowledge test and a skills test.
NOTE: In some cases, Indiana will offer a certificate of completion for out-of-state motorcycle safety courses. This may be used to waive the skills test required to get a motorcycle endorsement. Please see the “Motorcycle Safety Courses" section below for more information on out-of-state safety course requirements.
Unless you are planning to take the Motorcycle Operator Safety Education course, you must obtain a learner's permit before applying for a motorcycle endorsement. Applicants who are under 18 years old must also have their application signed by a parent or guardian.
NOTE: At any time, the signer of the Agreement of Financial Liability can submit a request to terminate the agreement.
To obtain your Indiana motorcycle learner's permit, visit your local BMV licensing office and:
- Provide your valid operator, chauffeur, or public passenger chauffeur base license.
- Present the following types of identification (please see the Indiana BMV's full list of acceptable documents):
―Proof of identity.
―Proof of Social Security number.
―Proof of lawful status in the U.S.
―Two documents that provide proof of residence.
- Have your application signed by a parent or guardian.
- Pass both a vision test and a written knowledge test. (NOTE: Arrive at the BMV licensing office at least 1 hour prior to close to take the knowledge test.)
- Pay the $9.50 fee.
Once you are issued your permit, you may begin riding in accordance with the restrictions outlined below, until you feel adequately prepared to take your on-cycle skills exam.
Learner's Permit Restrictions
An Indiana motorcycle learner's permit authorizes you to operate a motorcycle on the highway for a period of 1 year from the date of issuance, and you may renew it once. You may only ride under the following restrictions:
- You may not ride without a helmet.
- You may only operate a motorcycle during daylight hours.
- You are not permitted to carry passengers.
If you have not obtained your motorcycle endorsement before the permit expires, you must wait 1 year and then reapply for another learner's permit.
In order to apply for a motorcycle endorsement, you need to have a valid motorcycle learner's permit and pass a skills test OR present a certificate of completion from an approved motorcycle safety course (please see “Motorcycle Safety Course" below). All riders under 18 years old must have a parent or guardian sign the application.
If you've completed a safety course:
You have 1 year from the date you passed the course to present your certificate of completion in order to waive the on-cycle skills exam and earn your endorsement.
If you hold a motorcycle learner's permit:
Applicants with a learner's permit must take a skills test. To do so, contact your local BMV office for appointment details, and be sure to bring:
- Your motorcycle learner's permit.
- Registration and insurance for the motorcycle you will be testing on.
- Payment for the testing fee (varies by provider).
NOTE: If you fail the test 3 times, you will have to wait 2 months from the last test date to take another one.
After you have passed your skills test OR your motorcycle safety course, head to your local BMV office and:
- Present proof of identity (please see the Indiana BMV's full list of acceptable documents).
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Present two proofs of residency.
- Provide one of the following documents:
―Your learner's permit and proof of passing your on-cycle skills exam.
―Your motorcycle safety course certificate of completion.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pay the motorcycle endorsement fee (varies on license type―see “Motorcycle Endorsement Fees" below).
You will be issued a new driver's license with your motorcycle endorsement added to it. Your endorsement is valid for the same period of validity as your driver's license.
Motorcycle endorsement fees are applied as follows:
Riders under 75 years old:
- 6-year endorsement: $12.
Riders between 75 to 84 years old:
- 3-year endorsement: $10.50.
If you need to replace a lost or stolen license, or change information on your endorsement, the following fees apply:
- Replacement endorsement: $10.50 (valid until renewal date of original endorsement).
Your endorsement is valid for the amount of the time that your license is valid. Your birthday marks the date of expiration for your endorsement and your license. If you let your license or endorsement expire, you will have to pay a $5 late fee. If your birthday falls on a day when the office is closed, the endorsement will be valid until the next business day.
You have up to 1 year before the expiration date to renew your license or endorsement at any local BMV licensing office. Riders who were under 21 years old when they received their license must renew their license within 30 days after their 21st birthday.
For information on renewing your license, please see our Indiana License Renewal page.
Basic Rider Course
American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) offers a Basic Rider Course with both classroom and on-cycle training. It generally takes 15 hours to 20 hours to complete, and can be taken over the course of 5 weekdays or 1 weekend. In the class, you will learn:
- Basic riding skills.
- Mental skills, such as riding strategies.
- Physical skills, such as swerving and advanced turning.
You do not need a permit or license to take the class; however, you must be at least 15 years old (if under 18 years old, you must have a waiver signed by your parent or guardian).
A motorcycle will be provided for use in the class. Please see the “Required Safety Equipment" section below for the gear you will be required to bring/wear to class.
The course is provided on a pass/fail basis, and you must pass both a written and on-cycle examination. If you pass the course, you will qualify to waive the skills test when you go to get your motorcycle endorsement. Passing the course may also qualify you for discounted insurance.
Cost of the course is: $199. This includes all course material, motorcycle to use for course, a membership to ABATE for 1 year and a subscription to the magazine Hoosier Motorcyclist.
No refunds are given, and you cannot transfer your registration to another student. Also, a $25 fee is applied if you change your date after registration.
You can find classes and register at the ABATE website or call (800) 497-9979.
Basic Rider Course 2
The Basic Rider Course 2 is a 6 hour course that is taken on your own motorcycle. In the course, you will learn:
- Riding strategies.
- Risk management.
- Mental skills.
If you pass the course, you will qualify to waive both the skills and knowledge tests when you go to get your motorcycle endorsement.
In order to take the course, you must have the following:
- Current motorcycle permit or motorcycle endorsement.
- Proof of insurance.
- Your own motorcycle to use in the class.
- The appropriate gear (see Required Safety Course Equipment below).
Also note that you must have experience riding a motorcycle on the road prior to taking the class.
Cost of the course is: $75 This includes classroom materials, a membership to ABATE for 1 year and a subscription to the magazine Hoosier Motorcyclist.
No refunds or course transfers are allowed. You will be charged a $25 fee if you change your course date after you register.
To find classes and register, visit the ABATE website.
Out-of-State Safety Courses
Courses offered out-of-state and in the military may meet the same criteria as an Indiana-approved course. If so, the Indiana BMV will issue you an Indiana course completion card that is backdated to the date you completed the course.
The course must have been completed no more than 1 year before you apply for the motorcycle endorsement in Indiana.
You can use the Indiana course completion card to waive the skills test when getting your motorcycle endorsement.
If you've passed a safety course, you can send your completion card, mailing address, and phone number to the following address:
- Motorcycle Safety Program
- Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- 100 N. Senate Ave, Room 481
- Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Phone: (800) 497-9979
You may also fax the information to (317) 233-0189.
If your completion card expires while you still have a motorcycle learner's permit, you will be required to take another motorcycle safety course.
Required Safety Course Equipment
The following gear is required for participation in any safety course:
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- Helmet and eye protection (face shield, goggles, etc.).
- Full-fingered gloves.
- Over-the-ankle boots.
- A long-sleeved shirt or jacket.
- Long pants (no holes and not torn).
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