If you purchase a motorcycle in Pennsylvania, you will be required by the law to obtain a motorcycle license (Class M). A motorcycle license shows proof that you are a safe and responsible motorcycle rider. Before applying for a motorcycle license, you will need to first apply for a motorcycle permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). To successfully apply for a permit, you will need to master the Motorcycle Operator Manual. This manual can be downloaded in form of PDF and is available in both English and Spanish. The manual will also help you pass both the written test, which is needed when applying for a license.

Applying for a Permit

If you are confident about taking tests, you will need to visit the Pennsylvania Driver License Center to apply for a learner’s permit. There, you will be required to submit your application along with $10 application fee. You will then be given a motorcycle knowledge test and a vision screening test. You can take these tests at the time of submitting your application. Appointment is not needed. If you pass these tests, you will be issued with a motorcycle learner’s permit at the same time.

Once You Have a Permit

Once you have a motorcycle learner’s permit, you will be able to operate a motorcycle for one year. If you feel that you are not confident for a road test exam, you can renew your motorcycle permit up to 3 times within a period of 5 years. A motorcycle permit comes with some restrictions such as:

  • No riding after dark.
  • No carrying of passenger.
  • No riding without a helmet.

Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP) is a program for the holders of a motorcycle permit who intend to practice for a road skill test. It is free to enroll in this program. You can learn safety instructions and get free helmets. Another advantage of completing this program is that you automatically upgrade the status of a motorcycle permit to a regular motorcycle license (Class M) without taking the road skill test. For more information about PAMSP, contact their customer representative at (800) 845-9533.

The Skills Test

You can opt for a PennDOT skill test instead of going through the PAMSP. This can be done online or through their phone (800) 932-4600. When you visit their testing centers, you have to take with you:

  • A regular driver's license.
  • Your motorcycle learner's permit.
  • A motorcycle inspection sticker
  • Valid registration.
  • Proof of insurance.

The road skill test exam consist of a pre-ride inspection and other tests that measures your motorcycle riding skills.