Motorcycle licensing is typically done by adding the motorcycle endorsement (M) on your regular driver’s license. The process is similar to the other Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles driver licensing procedures:
- Pass written test.
- Eye screening exam.
- Temporary learner's permit issued.
- Road test.
How long you spend going through the process is up to you; however, the DMV does require you to wait 10 days after receiving your motorcycle permit before you can show up for a road test.
Qualifying for a Motorcycle Endorsement
To qualify for a motorcycle endorsement, you have to already carry a Delaware driver’s license so you can add the motorcycle endorsement. Teens who want to add the motorcycle endorsement are required to take the Motorcycle Rider Course. Your application must be signed by you and a parent or guardian because Delaware believes keeping the parents involved makes for safer drivers.
Motorcycle Rider Course
Delaware recognizes the influence that training can have on motorcycle safety. For this reason, drivers seeking a motorcycle endorsement are encouraged to go through the Motorcycle Rider Course. When you take the course you receive training on operating your motorcycle, rules of the road, and special topics on how to stay safe while sharing the road with other vehicles. During the course you will take the written test and the road test. You don’t have to retake the written or road tests because you passed them during the Motorcycle Rider Course. With such an excellent program available to Delaware drivers, it is hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.
Three DMV offices are capable of taking your motorcycle endorsement application:
- Georgetown DMV.
- Dover DMV.
- Wilmington DMV.
You cannot download the application, so you will have to visit the DMV office to complete the form. Even though you must already have a license to apply for the endorsement, you should take identification documentation with you. If you are ready and the licensing official has time, you can also sit for the written test.
The written test will test your knowledge of road safety and specific topics having to do with motorcycle driving. For example, what is the helmet law for motorcycle drivers? The Motorcycle Operator Manual includes some sample questions for you to test your knowledge. You must pass the written test before proceeding to the eye screening exam or road test.
Eye Screening Exam
If you fail the eye screening exam you will have to bring back a Vision Evaluation Form, available online using the free Adobe Reader, along with corrective lenses. Retake the test; when you pass, you are ready to advance to the road sign test.
Road Test ― Signs
The road test is broken into two phases. The first phase is an examination of your ability to read and understand road signs. In Delaware, as a motorcycle driver you will want to be sure you follow all road signs. When sharing the road with car and truck drivers, diligently following the road signs will help to keep you safe. Once you’ve passed the road signs test you will pay the fee for the endorsement. But you won’t get your motorcycle endorsement yet. Similar to all Delaware licensing sequences, you will get a learner’s permit first.
Temporary Motorcycle License
The temporary motorcycle license is a learner’s permit for motorcycle driving. The DMV wants you to use this time to practice within the safe boundaries of learner restrictions:
- Wearing protective gears such as helmet.
- No passengers.
- No driving at night.
- No riding on interstate highways.
Road Test ― Maneuvers
The actual road test is given at all the same DMV offices that offer the motorcycle endorsement. However, the DMV expects you to return to the same office that issued you the temporary motorcycle license. Even the most experienced rider will be a little nervous when performing before a DMV licensing official. Take your time, be prepared, and focus on the task at hand. The DMV is most interested in your safety skills and driver attitude. If you are not able to handle the equipment ― your motorcycle ― then you will have a chance to retake the test after you have practiced more. The Motorcycle Operator Manual will be a good resource for you when preparing for the road test. In the manual, the skills test is explained along with some of the maneuvers you should practice:
- Following distances.
Once you complete all tests, you’ll be issued a new driver’s license indicating your motorcycle endorsement. You’ll renew this endorsement at the same time you renew your driver’s license.
Driving a motorcycle is different than operating a car or pickup truck. Everything from road conditions to flying objects create dangerous situations that you will have to be prepared for. As a motorcycle driver, defensive driving must become second nature. In fact, you may want to review the manual every spring before you take out your bike to refresh your skills and understanding.