How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas
Written by: Carolyn Jackson
If the pavement is calling your name and you are considering investing in a motorcycle, you also need to think about getting a motorcycle license. Although driving a motorcycle has some similarities to driving a car, there are some key differences and highly important safety considerations motorcycle riders need to know. Because of this, most states require anyone who owns and plans to drive a motorcycle to have a specialized motorcycle license, usually called a Class M license.
This article will cover some of the top FAQs you might have if you are dabbling with the idea of getting a motorcycle license in Texas and step-by-step instructions for how to get Class M certified in the state of Texas.
● In Texas, you essentially need to have a regular driver’s license in order to obtain a Class M motorcycle license.
● You will need to take one of the Texas DPS’ in-person motorcycle safety courses to obtain a motorcycle license
● There are unique restrictions and requirements for motorcycle license applicants under 18 years of age
Table of Contents
Is a Motorcycle License Different from a Driver’s License?
Great question. The answer is yes. To qualify for a Class M Motorcycle License, you must also meet all the requirements to obtain a regular drivers license. So what is required for a regular driver’s license in Texas?
To get a driver’s license in Texas you will need the following documents:
- U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence
- Proof of Texas Residency
- Eg: Mortgage statement, Texas school transcript, Current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, etc.
- Proof of Identity
- Marriage license, birth certificate, etc.
- Social Security Number
- Social security card, W2, SSA-1099, etc.
- Evidence of (current) Texas Vehicle Registration for each vehicle you own
- Proof of Insurance for each vehicle you own
- If you do not own a vehicle, you will sign a statement affirming this
If you already have a Texas driver’s license, you can just show that to TDOT when applying for a Class M license. However, if you do not already have a driver’s license, you will need to complete the written Texas Driver’s Education assessment.
When applying for a Class M license in Texas, you will need to provide some paperwork (regardless of whether you have a regular driver’s license or not). You will need:
● Social Security Number
● Motorcycle registration
● Motorcycle insurance
Essentially, if you do not have a regular driver’s license, you will still need to take all the steps someone would take if they were acquiring a regular driver’s license to get a Class M license. This includes:
● Impact Texas Driver course for all applicants who do not currently hold a valid driver’s license and are under the age of 25
● A six-hour adult Driver Education course for any applicants 18-24 years old
Do I Need a Motorcycle License in Texas?
If you want to legally ride a motorcycle on public roads, you will need a valid motorcycle license in any state. You will need to get your motorcycle insured and registered with the state you are planning to reside in and get your license in.
So, yes. You need a motorcycle license to ride a motorcycle in Texas. However, you do not need a motorcycle license to buy a motorcycle.
Do Dirt Bikes and/or Scooters Require a Motorcycle License?
If your scooter, dirt bike, or moped has an engine that is under 50cc, it does not require a Class M motorcycle license. If you want to ride a street legal scooter, dirt bike, or moped on public roads in Texas, you will need a regular Class C driver’s license.
Do Dirt Bikes or Scooters Need to be Registered in Texas?
Texas moped/scooter laws state that they are required to be registered in Texas. The annual registration fee for them is $30.30. Registration and a title are required to obtain insurance.
Additionally, when you file the title application, you must pay the motor vehicle sales tax, which is 6.25 percent of the purchase price.You must also provide proof of liability insurance when you title and/or register your vehicle.
The moped/scooter must pass an inspection each year. Scooter helmets are required for all riders unless you take a safety course and prove you have health insurance coverage.
Is an In-Person Course Required to Get a Motorcycle License?
Yes. In Texas, all applicants need to attend an approved motorcycle safety course and bring the certificate of completion with them to the driver license office. If an individual has a valid motorcycle license from another state, the Department of Public Safety will waive the motorcycle safety course requirement.
Additionally, all applicants under the age of 18 are 100% required to take an in-person driving test. There are some circumstances when you do not need to take the driving test for a Class M license. If you are:
● 18 years of age or older, has completed a motorcycle safety course, and holds a valid, unrestricted Texas Class A, B, or C license
● 18 years of age or older and is transferring a valid, unrestricted motorcycle license from another state or province of Canada
● Applying for a motorcycle learner license
What Course Do I Need to Take to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas?
There are four motorcycle courses approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety. You will need to take at least the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) to receive a Class M license. You can take these courses at certified training facilities in the state of Texas such as GO Motorcycle Training.
If you are looking for some online guidance for motorcycle beginners, you can take a look at our article on How to Ride a Motorcycle for the First Time for some straightforward steps and pro tips for first-timers.
Basic RiderCourse (BRC)
This course provides the opportunity to learn the physical and mental skills important for operating a motorcycle. The classroom portion includes ways to minimize risk and handle special riding situations. The riding portion covers the physical skills of basic control that include clutch/throttle control, straight line riding, stopping, turning, and shifting, and then moves on to more advanced skills in stopping quickly, cornering, and swerving. Note: motorcycles, helmets and gloves provided; no prior experience necessary.
Basic RiderCourse2 (BRC2)
This course is designed to develop maneuvering skills, learn how your motorcycle responds to your inputs and to develop ‘street smarts’. Note: you must provide your own motorcycle, helmet and gloves; motorcycle license required. Passengers allowed.
Advanced RiderCourse (ARC)
This course provides rider development in the areas of risk management, decision-making, riding strategies and rider behavior and choices through classroom activities and riding exercises. Note: you must provide your own motorcycle, helmet and gloves; motorcycle license required.
Ultimate Bike Bonding RiderCourse (UBBRC)
This course provides practice in basic maneuvering skills on your personal motorcycle. It is patterned after police training courses. The overall aim is to help riders develop smooth and precise control as they manipulate the primary controls and practice low-speed riding techniques. The UBBRC allows participants to refine skills via low-speed, limited-space exercises. By the end of the course, participants should be able to handle their motorcycle in a more precise and smooth manner.
Important Note: The Motorcycle Safety Course completion certificate is only valid for 24 months from issuance.
Are There Different Types of Motorcycle Licenses?
No, in Texas there is only one type of motorcycle license, a Class M license or an addendum to a regular driver’s license that qualifies it as a Class M license as well.
However, there are various restrictions the Texas DPS can apply to your Class M license. Both of the restrictions apply to minors who successfully obtain a Class M license in Texas.
J Restriction – Motorcycle Learner License
A motorcycle learner license allows an individual to practice riding a motorcycle if a licensed motorcycle operator who is 21 years of age or older is “in sight” and watching.
To apply for a motorcycle learner license, an individual must meet all of the requirements necessary to obtain a learner license, plus complete a motorcycle safety course. Minors are required to take a motorcycle riding test to remove the “J” restriction.
I Restriction – 15 Year-Old Drivers
Individuals may apply for a Class M at 15 years of age, but will have an “I” restriction placed on their license. This restriction only allows an individual to ride a motorcycle with 250 cubic centimeter piston displacement or less.
At 16 years of age, an individual may apply at any driver license office to have the “I” restriction removed. If the restriction is removed, the individual may then ride any type of motorcycle.
How Do I Get My Motorcycle License in Texas?
Getting a motorcycle license in Texas is fairly straightforward, though you will need to be prepared and proactive to obtain a Class M. Here are the basic steps:
- Obtain a regular driver’s license (you can do this at the same time as applying for a motorcycle license or after you get a regular license)
- Make sure you have all the required documentation
- Social Security Number
- Motorcycle registration
- Motorcycle insurance
- Attend and pass a Basic RiderCourse
- If an individual has a valid motorcycle license from another state, DPS will waive the motorcycle safety course requirement
- Note: The Motorcycle Safety Course completion certificate is only valid for 24 months from issuance
- Schedule an appointment with the Texas DPS
- Walk in appointments are available on a limited basis
- Complete an in-person driving test
- The applicant will need to provide the motorcycle and a car and driver to follow the applicant during the driving test for a motorcycle license
If you are still trying to find the right fit for your first motorcycle, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to the Best Beginner Motorcycles.
How Long Will it Take Me to Get My Motorcycle License in Texas?
This is a tricky question because there are a few different steps required to obtain a Class M License in Texas. You will need to get your driver’s license first (or at the same time), which depending on your age, requires a few online and in-person training courses. If you already have a regular driver’s license and want to get a Class M added, you will likely need to complete a Basic RiderCourse, which is usually about 15 hours of in-person training.
After gathering all the required documentation and completing the required coursework, then you will need to physically go to the Texas DPS or schedule an appointment. The actual test will only take about 30 minutes and, if successful, you will get your Class M license immediately.
If you are applying for a Class M in Texas but you currently live out of state, you can mail in your application and required documentation and, if successful, will receive a license in the mail within 45 days.
Can I Purchase a Motorcycle Without a Motorcycle License?
Yes, you can legally purchase a motorcycle in Texas without having a Class M license. In other words, you do not need a Class M license to purchase a motorcycle, but you DO need a Class M license to drive the motorcycle on public roads.
How Much Does a Motorcycle License Cost in Texas?
To start, a regular driver’s license costs between $16 and $33 in Texas, depending on whether it is new or renewal and the applicant’s age.
Regular Driver’s License Fees
|Under 18 New||$16, expires on your 18th birthday|
|Age 18-84 New||$33, expires after eight years on your birthday|
|Age 18-83 Renewal||$33, expires after eight years|
Class M Driver’s License Fees
|Adding Class M to an existing driver’s license||$16, same expiration as already noted on license|
|New regular driver’s license and adding a Class M||$48, expires when driver’s license expires|
|Renewing a driver’s license with a Class M||$44, expires after eight years|
Check out more helpful motorcycle guides and articles:
Getting your motorcycle driver’s license is step one on your journey to becoming an official motorcyclist. If you are considering purchasing a new or used motorcycle, finding great riding paths, cleaning and maintaining your motorcycle, or just perusing existing motorcycles on the market, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of our other articles on motorcycles:
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