Request a Free Consultation

Are There Different Types of Motorcycle Licenses in Pennsylvania?

Posted on November 30, 2023

Pennsylvania offers two distinct motorcycle license classifications to accommodate various skill levels.

Class M: The Standard Motorcycle License

The Class M license is the standard motorcycle license in Pennsylvania. It authorizes individuals to operate motorcycles on public roads. To obtain a Class M license, riders typically need to pass written and skills tests or complete a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP) Basic Rider Course (BRC).

Class M Learner’s Permit

Before obtaining a full Class M license, aspiring motorcyclists can apply for a Class M1 learner’s permit. This permit allows individuals to practice riding under certain restrictions, such as daylight-only riding and a prohibition on carrying passengers. Riders with a Class M1 permit must complete the PAMSP BRC within 180 days to upgrade to a Class M license.

Pennsylvania Motorcycle License Process

Here is an overview of the motorcycle license process in Pennsylvania:

Class M Learner’s Permit

Before obtaining a full motorcycle license, aspiring riders can apply for a learner’s permit. To qualify, you must:

  • Be a Pennsylvania resident
  • At least 16 years old
  • Pass a vision screening and knowledge test related to motorcycle rules and safety.
  • Pay the applicable fee.

Learner’s permits are valid for one year. However, riders can reapply three times within a five-year period. Riders under 18 must hold a permit for at least six months and have at least 65 hours of supervised riding before they can take the skills test and obtain a license. In addition, applicants under 18 must have parental consent to apply and begin the process.

After successfully completing the BRC or passing the skills test, riders can upgrade their learner’s permit to a Class M license. The upgrade involves the following:

Class M License

The following are required to apply for a class M license:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Possess a Class M learner’s permit
  • Provide proof of identity and residency
  • Schedule and pass the on-cycle skills test at a DMV that offers motorcycle skills testing
  • Alternatively, you can schedule training through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program then take a skills test.
  • Pay license fee

You have three chances to pass the skills test. If you fail, you must reapply for a motorcycle learner’s permit.

Renewal and Continuing Education

Motorcycle licenses in Pennsylvania are typically valid for four years. Riders are encouraged to renew their licenses before expiration and consider participating in advanced training courses, such as the Experienced Rider Course (ERC), to enhance their skills. Safety courses are also offered by the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). These courses, including the BRC, 3WBRC, and ERC, provide valuable training for riders of all experience levels.

The Consequences of Riding A Motorcycle Without A License

The Consequences of Riding a Motorcycle Without a License

Riding a motorcycle without a license in Pennsylvania can have serious consequences, both legal and practical. If caught riding without a valid motorcycle license, individuals may face fines, penalties, and even potential imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

Furthermore, riding without a license means that the rider may not have the necessary training and testing to ensure they possess the skills and knowledge essential for safe motorcycle operation. This lack of preparation significantly increases the risk of accidents and poses a danger not only to the rider but also to other road users. Additionally, insurance coverage may be jeopardized, making it challenging to obtain compensation in the event of an accident.

If you need help in this situation, it might be best to get in contact with an experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney from Rosenbaum & Associates today.