Motorcycle License in Michigan
The Michigan Secretary of State requires that you have a valid Michigan driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement (CY endorsement) to legally ride your motorcycle in MI.
If you’ve just moved to the state and want to ride your motorcycle, you need to begin the process of obtaining a MI license with a CY endorsement right away. You’ll need to apply once you establish residency or get a job in MI.
If you hold a valid out-of-state (or Canadian) license, visit your local Secretary of State office and take the following steps:
- Present appropriate documentation, including proof of:
- Social Security number (or letter of ineligibility, if you don’t have one).
- U.S. citizenship (or legal presence in the U.S.).
- Residency in MI.
- Get your photograph taken.
- Pay the Secretary of State fee.
- Pass a vision screening.
- Pass the written motorcycle exam.
- Pass the on-cycle skills exam.
Once the above steps are complete, you’ll be given a Temporary Operator’s Permit, which lets you drive in MI until you receive your new license in the mail.
NOTE: Teen drivers will need to obtain a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL). Please see our page on applying for a teen license in MI.
If you have any questions, contact the Department of State Information Center toll-free at (888) SOS-MICH ((888) 767-6424).
Once you have a MI license, you can add your CY endorsement.
In Michigan, the Department of State issues beginning motorcycle riders a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP). A TIP will allow you to practice riding your motorcycle on public roadways before getting your endorsement.
In order to obtain a TIP, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Have a valid driver's license from MI.
- If you’re under 18 years old, you must have a Level 2 or a Level 3 Graduated Driver’s License. For information on obtaining a GDL, please see our page Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Michigan.
- Pass the vision screening.
- Pass the written motorcycle test.
- Pay the $13.50 fee.
Your TIP stays valid for 180 days. A TIP can be renewed; however, you’ll need to take the steps to apply again.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants 16 years old or 17 years old must take a motorcycle safety training course to obtain a permit. When applying for a TIP, you need to show EITHER:
- Proof of enrollment in an approved motorcycle safety course.
- A completion card from an approved motorcycle safety course.
Please see “Motorcycle Safety Courses” below for more information.
Temporary Instruction Permit Restrictions
When driving with a TIP, you are subject to the following restrictions:
- You may not operate your motorcycle at night.
- You may not ride with any passengers.
- A licensed motorcycle rider who is at least 18 years old must supervise you whenever you ride.
Once you’ve obtained your permit and honed your riding skills, you are ready to apply for a CY motorcycle endorsement. Requirements for CY endorsements vary based on the age of the rider.
Age 16 or 17
To apply for an endorsement, you need to be at least 16 years old and hold a level 2 or 3 graduated driver’s license.
Once you’re ready to obtain your endorsement, you can make an appointment at your local Secretary of State office (888) SOS-MICH ((888) 767-6424) :
- Present a certificate of completion from an approved motorcycle safety course.
- Pay the $13.50 fee.
- Pass the written exam.
Note: The on-cycle skills exam is waived when you show a completion card from an approved motorcycle safety course. (See “Motorcycle Safety Courses” below).
Age 18 and Older
If you are 18 years old or older, you must possess a valid driver’s license to add a CY endorsement. When you are ready, you can make an appointment at your local Secretary of State office and take the following steps:
- Pass the written test.
- Pass an on-cycle skills test given by an approved third-party testing organization OR show a certificate of completion from an approved motorcycle safety course.*
- Pay the $13.50 fee.
In order to take the skills test, you need to bring a properly equipped motorcycle that is currently registered, and you must also wear a helmet. If you ride the motorcycle to the exam, you must hold a TIP and be supervised by a licensed motorcycle operator who is at least 18 years old.
* A certificate of completion from a motorcycle safety course will allow you to waive your skills test. Also note that if you fail your on-cycle skills test 2 times, you must complete a motorcycle safety course.
See “Motorcycle Safety Courses” below for more information.
Motorcycle Endorsements for Military Members
If you are stationed out of state as a member of the military, you may still obtain a CY endorsement on your MI license by taking the following steps:
- Successfully complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course.
- Obtain your completion card.
- Contact the Michigan Department of State, Out-of-State Resident Services Unit at (517) 322-1473 for information regarding sending your card through the mail.
The Department of State lists a $5 fee for renewing your CY endorsement. However, it does not distinguish between the process of renewing a driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement.
To learn more about renewals, please visit our page on renewing your license in Michigan.
The Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program offers motorcycle rider training courses to motorcycle operators 15 years old and older looking to gain experience and improve their riding skills. A motorcycle safety course is required for:
- Drivers 16 years old or 17 years old who have a graduated driver's license and are applying for a CY endorsement on that license.
- Drivers 18 years old or over who have failed the on-cycle skills exam 2 times.
- Anyone looking to waive the on-cycle skills exam when applying for a CY endorsement.
The Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program offers a full list of public and private sponsored classes. Several course levels are offered. Which course you take depends on your level of ability and experience.
Course costs depend on the sponsor:
- Class from a public sponsor: $25 (non-refundable).
- Class from a private sponsor: fee determined by sponsor.
Basic Rider Courses
Several types of Basic Rider Courses are offered, depending on the student’s motorcycle type or amount of experience. Types of Basic Rider Courses include:
- Basic Rider Course (BRC).
- 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course (3WBRC).
- Returning Rider Basic Rider Course (RRBRC).
Successful completion of any of these courses will allow you to waive your on-cycle skills exam for a CY endorsement and may also qualify you to get a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
You must pass both a written and skills exam to successfully complete these courses.
Basic Rider Course
The Basic Rider Course (BRC) is offered to new riders or those with little experience. The course is 15 hours and includes both classroom and practical training. It covers:
- Basic riding safety.
- Gear requirements.
- Motorcycle controls.
- Defensive riding strategies.
No experience is necessary to enroll in the course; however, you need to be able to ride a bicycle. Motorcycles are provided for student use.
3-Wheel Basic Rider Course (3WBRC)
In the 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course (3WBRC), motorcyclists will learn strategies for riding motorcycles with 3 wheels. This course includes approximately 4 hours of classroom training and up to 8 hours of practical training.
In order to take the class, you need to provide your own 3-wheel motorcycle that:
- Is titled and registered.
- Has a valid license plate.
- Has passed a safety inspection.
You must also bring proof of insurance.
Returning Rider Basic Rider Course (RRBRC)
The Returning Rider Basic Rider Course (RRBRC) is offered to riders who have some experience but still want basic training to hone their skills and/or want to waive their on-cycle skills test for their CY endorsement.
You will need to bring your own motorcycle to the class, and it must meet all the same requirements as listed in 3WBRC above.
If you wish, you may use an automatic shift motorcycle.
Advanced Rider Course (ARC)
The Advanced Rider Course (ARC) is available to riders who already hold a CY endorsement but who want to further perfect their riding skills and learn new strategies, such as cornering and stopping quickly.
You must provide your own motorcycle for the course, and it needs to meet the requirements listed in 3WBRC above. You also need to bring proof of insurance.
Required Course Gear
In any motorcycle safety course, you will need:
- Eye protection.
- Leather or thick shirts with long sleeves.
- Sturdy, long pants.
- Boots that go over the ankle.
In most cases, you can use a completion card from a motorcycle safety course taken in another state. However, cards from Idaho and Oregon will not be accepted unless the card indicated the program meets or exceeds the requirements of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic or Experienced Rider Course.
Your out-of-state completion card is valid for 1 year from the date you completed the course.
Duplicate and Replacement Cards
If you need a replacement or duplicate completion card, you will need to contact the course sponsor for the course you took. There may be an associated fee.