New York State Motorcycle Laws

by Joshua on June 06, 2014

What Is needed to get a Motorcycle license In New York?

Firstly, one must obtain an M Class or Class MJ License or Learner’s Permit, though; an individual must get a learner’s permit before they can get a motorcycle license . Obtaining a learner’s permit consists of passing a written test, which can be taken at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles testing center. Passing a road test is necessary to get the actual license.

It is important to remember that once an individual has passed the learner’s permit test , they under the supervision, at all times, by someone 21 years of age or older with a valid license to operate a motorcycle and the supervisor must be in sight and less than a quarter of a mile from the person with the learner’s permit.

To apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit, just follow these simple steps:

  • Study the online New York State Motorcycle Operator’s Manual to prepare for the motorcycle written test, which will enable you to get your learner’s permit. Contact any New York State DMV to receive a written copy of the manual.

a. The Motorcycle Operator’s Manual can be found here
b. To find a DMV location for a printed copy of the Motorcycle Operator’s Manual, click “here”:

  • Complete an Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card
  • Bring proofs of identity and age

a. A list of accepted forms of identity can be found here

  • If you already have a learner’s permit or driver’s license, bring it.
  • Bring payment of $10.00 for the application fee and motorcycle license fee

Road Test

When going to take the road test, a licensed motorcyclist, age 18 or over, must accompany the person taking the test. They must also bring a car or truck for the test examiner to use to monitor test taker. It is important to note that if, for some reason, your test is taken on a three-wheeled motorcycle, then your license can only be used for three-wheeled motorcycles.

The road test can be bypassed by completing an educational training course given by a certified instructor.

New York State Roadway Motorcycle Laws

  • A Motorcycle helmet, which meets the standards of the US Department of Transportation, must be used at all times.
  • All riders must use eyewear which meets the standards of the American National Standard Institute.
  • Headlights must be used at all times, even in daylight, however, headlight modulators are allowed.
  • Speakers in the helmet are allowed, but with no more than one earphone.
  • Required additional equipment:

A. Lights, including headlights, taillights, stop lamps and license plate lamps
B. One reflector in the rear at minimum, which must be red
C. Brakes (if manufactured after 1971 they must be on both wheels)
D. If manufactured after 1985, the vehicle must contain directional signals
E. If manufactured after 1985, the vehicle must contain turn signals
F. A warning device such as a horn
G. A minimum of one rearview mirror
H. Mufflers are required; “cutouts” or mufflers that have removable baffles are prohibited

I.Handlebars or grips cannot be more than 15 inches above the seat of the driver.

  • No more than two motorcycles can be in a single driving lane at a time
  • “Lane Splitting”, or the act of moving between vehicle lanes going in the same direction, is prohibited. This includes passing slower or stopped vehicles by moving in and out and between lanes.
  • Maximum Sound Level:

A. Weighted Sound Levels at 35 MPH or less is 82 dB
B. Weighted Sound Levels at over 35 MPH is 86 dB
C. Sound measurements are measured at, or adjusted to, fifty feet from the center of the lane in which the motorcycle is traveling

  • Passenger footrests are required if carrying a passenger
  • Passenger seats are required when carrying a passenger
  • Periodic safety inspections are required
  • Compulsory liability insurance required.
  • Out-of-state are permitted to operate a motorcycle in New York
  • If an individual becomes a resident of the state of New York , they must exchange their out-of-state motorcycle license for a New York State motorcycle license. Requirements for the exchange can be found at the DMV Site.

New York State Off-Road Motorcycle Laws

  • A headlight is required after sunset only
  • There is no maximum sound level
  • Eye protection is not required
  • Minimum operator age is 17 or older, but persons under 17 years of age can operate a motorcycle off road is they are under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older.
  • A muffler is required
  • Operator must carry liability insurance
  • Vehicle registration is required
  • A helmet is required
  • A spark arrestor, which prevents the emission of flammable debris, is required.
  • Taillights are required after sunset

If you do not meet the requirement to exchange the license, you must apply for a new, original New York State license.

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