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  • Motorcycle License in Washington DC

    Compared with cars, motorcycles are an especially dangerous form of travel.

    Helmet use, which is required by law in the District of Columbia, greatly diminishes the severity of injuries and the likelihood of death in the event of a crash.

    Licensing Requirements

    In order to operate a motorcycle in DC, you must obtain from the Department of Motor Vehicles a motorcycle endorsement on your regular driver's license. You may not ride a motorcycle without first having a regular DC driver's license.

    DC law defines a motorcycle as a 2- or 3-wheeled motor vehicle that has a seat/saddle for the rider and is capable of traveling over 30 miles per hour on level ground.

    How to Get a Motorcycle Endorsement

    To get a motorcycle endorsement on your license, you must be at least 18 years old, already have a valid DC driver's license, and pass the motorcycle demonstration test (this is the on-road test). Instead of taking this test in DC, you also have the option of providing proof that you passed a motorcycle demonstration course in Maryland or Virginia.

    To add the motorcycle endorsement to your driver's license, visit the Brentwood DMV, which is located at 1205 Brentwood Road, NE, and fill out the DC driver license application. Submit proof that you have passed a motorcycle demonstration test or pass the test, and then pay the required fee for your new license with a motorcycle endorsement.

    Education and Safety

    The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, whose mission is to improve motorcyclist education, training, and operator licensing, offers a safety course in neighboring Maryland and northern Virginia. It does not offer courses in DC at this time.

    For a safety primer from the comfort of your own home, you can download a free brochure about motorcycle safety produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in partnership with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

    Finally, the Automobile Driver and Motorcycle Operator's Study Guide is available online. This booklet, in question-and-answer format, contains information you'll need to know for the motorcycle endorsement demonstration test.

    You'll hear this time and time again, but it's true: Wearing an approved helmet and obeying speed and safety laws will ensure that your motorcycling adventures are enjoyable and safe.

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