You must obtain a license in order to legally ride a motorcycle in Kentucky. The law defines a motorcycle as any motor-driven, two wheeled vehicle with a saddle or seat used by a rider.

Applying for Your Motorcycle Permit

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a Kentucky motorcycle permit. You can also apply for a permit if you have a valid Kentucky driver’s license. The minimum age for applying for a Kentucky driver’s license is 16 years old. If you are younger than 18 years old, you must obtain consent from your parent or guardian when applying for a motorcycle permit. All applicants must complete the following tests offered by the Kentucky State Police to obtain a permit:

  • The written test. To pass this test you will need to master the Kentucky Motorcycle Manual and Driver’s Manual.
  • A vision test.

You will need to schedule an appointment to take these tests. Your local clerk’s office will administer these tests.

Applying for Your Motorcycle License

To apply for a Kentucky motorcycle license, you must hold a valid motor vehicle operator’s license. Please inquire about the motorcycle license fees from your local circuit clerk’s office. These are two options that you can take when you are ready to apply for a motorcycle license:

  • You may schedule an appointment to take your on-cycle skills test. If you pass this test and pay the required fee, you will obtain the motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. Or
  • You may choose to enroll in a Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet rider training course.

If you successfully complete any rider training course, your motorcycle skill test will be waived. If you have a certificate of competition of any approved rider training course, you can schedule an appointment with your local licensing officers and present it to them. You will need to pay the applicable fee to obtain the endorsement.

Safety Education Programs

You can also take rider training courses offered by the Motorcycle Safety Education Program. These courses are designed to develop motorcycle riding and handling skills, including confidence, knowledge and habits. These courses are open to residents who hold a valid motorcycle instruction permit or a valid Kentucky driver’s license.

Kentucky Motorcycle Program (KMP)

The Kentucky Motorcycle Program (KMP) administers motorcycle training courses designed by the MSF. These courses are approved by the state and taught by MSF instructors. These courses are categorized into two:

  • The Basic Rider Course: It teaches basic motorcycle operating skills. Half of the curriculum is practical instruction and half is class work.
  • The Experienced Rider Course: This course is designed for experienced riders.

For more information on how to enroll, check the MSF website.

Operator Requirements

As a motorcycle operator, you must have:

  • A valid Kentucky instruction permit or driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement to legally operate a motorcycle in Kentucky.
  • Proof of a minimum motorcycle liability insurance.
  • Current motorcycle registration.
  • Eye protection and helmet approved by the Transportation Cabinet.

Vehicle and Equipment Requirements

  • Rearview mirror.
  • Taillight.
  • One headlight.
  • Horn.
  • Tailpipe.
  • Muffler.
  • Brake light.
  • Front and rear brakes.
  • Tires with legal tread depth.
  • Turn signals.

In Kentucky, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a footrest or seat permanently attached. A passenger must also have his or her own footrests and seat.