Motorcycle License in Virginia
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Riding a motorcycle along Virginia's scenic highways is fun and breathtaking. Take one ride and you'll be hooked on a new kind of freedom. But be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions―legally, you and your passengers must wear approved helmets, and you must wear eye and face protection. In addition, your motorcycle should have an approved windshield.
To drive a motorcycle in Virginia, you must be licensed. You have two options for licensing: adding a motorcycle designation to your regular license, or getting a motorcycle-only license.
If you want to learn how to drive a motorcycle, you should first get a motorcycle learner's permit. It lets you learn under supervision. Then you can get the practice you need to pass your motorcycle road skills test.
To obtain a motorcycle permit, you must pass the motorcycle knowledge (written) exam. Study the Motorcycle Manual before you take it (you can read the manual online or download a PDF to keep).
If you don't already have a valid learner's permit or driver's license, you also have to pass the knowledge test for a regular driver's license. For this you should master the Driver's Manual. You'll need to have your motorcycle learner's permit for at least nine months before you take your road skills test if you're less than 19 years old.
While riding with a motorcycle permit, you are required to wear an approved safety helmet and eye and face protection―just like a licensed rider. Additionally, you must be supervised by someone who is 21 or older and has a valid motorcycle driver's license or Class M designation on their regular license. He or she must be able to help you from a separate motor vehicle. You may not have any passengers.
If you already have a valid Virginia driver's license, you can add a Class M designation that will also allow you to ride a motorcycle. You will have to pass the required vision screening and motorcycle knowledge test. You'll also take the road skills test on a motorcycle (note that not all DMV locations offer motorcycle road skills tests). Studying the Virginia Motorcycle Manual will help you prepare for your knowledge exam.
If you are age 19 or older and have never held a license from any state, U.S. territory, or other country, you must also hold a motorcycle learner's permit for at least 30 days OR take the state-approved Virginia Rider Training Program and provide the DMV with a completion certificate. Your road skills test is part of the course.
If you are younger than 19 and have never held a license from any state, U.S. territory, or another country, you must also hold a motorcycle learner's permit for at least nine months AND take the state-approved Virginia Rider Training Program. The DMV will need your program completion certificate.
Your other option is to obtain a driver's license that only allows you to operate motorcycles. In addition to the above requirements for the Class M designation, you must pass the vision screening, driver's license knowledge test, and motorcycle knowledge test.
You must get a motorcycle learner's permit first if you are learning. After you've had the permit for at least 30 days, you can then take your road skills test, which you must pass to get your motorcycle-only license. Not all DMV locations offer the road skills test.
The motorcycle Class M designation is $2 per year. You pay it in advance, just like the regular driver's license fees.
The motorcycle-only license is $6 per year and will be valid for five years. If you later decide that you want to operate another type of motor vehicle, such as a car, you must pass the knowledge exam and road skills test for automobiles so you can get the appropriate driver's license.
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