Motorcycle License in Pennsylvania

If you opt for the two-wheel rush of riding a motorcycle, Pennsylvania does require that you have a motorcycle license (Class M) as a verification, of sorts, that you are a safe and responsible rider. But before this can happen, you first need a permit from the Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

To spark the permit process, download the Motorcycle Operator Manual (you may also download it in Spanish). Study the manual. In order to obtain a permit, you need to pass a written test based on information contained therein.

Applying for a Permit

  • You will then be given a vision screening and a motorcycle knowledge (written) test. You do not need an appointment for this exam.
  • If you pass, you will immediately be issued a motorcycle learner's permit.

Once You Have a Permit

Your motorcycle learner's permit is valid for 1 year. You are able to renew your permit 3 times within 5 years so you will have plenty of time to get ready for your test. While holding your permit you must adhere to the following restrictions:

  • No riding after dark.
  • No riding without a helmet.
  • No carrying a passenger other than an instructor properly licensed to operate a bike.

You can either practice for your skills test on your own time or enroll in Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). The program is free and provides safety instruction while supplying bikes and helmets. Besides the obvious advantages of this program, upon completion your permit automatically upgrades to full license (Class M) status without you having to take a skills test. PAMSP can be reached at (800) 845-9533.

The Skills Test

If you don't enroll in PAMSP, you will need to schedule a skills test with PennDOT. You can do this online or by calling (800) 932-4600.

When you arrive at the testing area, be sure to have with you:

  • Your Pennsylvania motorcycle learner's permit.
  • A regular Pennsylvania driver's license.
  • An inspection sticker for your motorcycle.
  • Valid registration and proof of insurance.

Unlike the testing process for a car license, you do not need to be accompanied to the test site by another licensed rider. The exam will consist of a pre-ride inspection as well as several skill maneuvers including right circles, left circles, and figure-eights.

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