How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas – [Complete Guide]

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas – [Complete Guide]

In Texas, riders must have a valid class M motorcycle license when operating a bike on a public highway. But the motorcycle license application requires you to meet some requirements. Also, you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement and add to an existing driver license.

Today, I created a simple step-by-step procedure on how to get a motorcycle license in Texas. You will also learn the process of getting a motorcycle license in Texas as a minor, including all the license requirements.

I have been riding my 2003 Harley-Davidson on state roads for the past seven years. I can walk you through the process of obtaining a Texas motorcycle license.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas: Quick Steps

You must take a DPS-approved motorcycle MSC (Motorcycle Safety Course) to get a class M motorcycle license. The course is designed to give you proper and clear motorcycle instructions. You will receive a certificate of completion when you’re done with the course. Use this certificate to apply for the license at a local Department of Public Safety office. Applicants will also take a motorcycle vision, knowledge, and road test.

If you have a Class A, B, or C vehicle license, you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement to add to your driver license.

Getting a Motorcycle License in Texas: Steps to Take

Riding a motorcycle without a license in Texas is illegal and may result in a fine. However, you must complete a few requirements to get a valid motorcycle license. Here are the steps of what you should do to obtain your license.

Step 1: Enroll in a DPS-Approved Motorcycle Safety Course

According to the Texas DPS, individuals must complete an approved motorcycle safety course to get a Class M license. The course must be undertaken by anyone who has applied for the license, regardless of age.  

The class covers basic skill controls such as how to brake safely, corner, and swerve. Once you finish the course, you will receive a certificate of completion (MSB-8 or MSB-8R) which lasts 24 months. You will have to provide this for your motorcycle license application.

The DPS can, however, waive this safety course requirement for applicants with valid licenses from other states.

Step 2: Present the Required Documents

The State of Texas requires applicants over 18 years to bring proof of citizenship and identity. Additionally, you must provide the following:

  • Proof of residency
  • Social security Number
  • Motorcycle Insurance
  • Motorcycle Registration
  • Certificate of completion for Adult Drivers Education in case you do not have a Texas motorcycle license
  • Certificate of completion of approved Basic Rider Course

The applicants who are not Texas residents do not have to show proof of course completion.

Step 3: Take the Vision and Knowledge Test

The vision test is a simple screening done on riders with or without glasses. It ensures they can see well enough to ride.

Vision Test for bike riding

The knowledge test evaluates applicants on basic motorcycle information. You learn most of the tests you will take here during the safety course.

You can also provide a certificate proving you have completed a motorcycle safety course. The knowledge test will be waived for applicants with documents confirming the completion of a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) or Texas Department of Public Safety approved course.

Step 4: Do the Motorcycle Road Test

To take the test in Texas, you will have to bring a motorcycle, a motor vehicle, and a licensed driver. During the test, your driver will follow up with your supervisor in the car.

The test will cover basic road skills, and practicing may help you pass. The scores depend on your ability to;

  • Observe and merge with traffic
  • Drive in your lane
  • Staying under the speed limit
  • Control the motorcycle
  • Use turn signals

Learner’s performance may also be graded on:

  • Intersection observance
  • Traffic signals 
  • Traffic signs
  • Turns

The road test is waived for applicants who are 18 years or older if they have the following:

Step 5: Getting a Motorcycle Endorsement

Applicants with a Class A, B, or C license must provide the following:

  • Pay the required fee.
  • Course completion card that meets the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum standards; or
  • Military personnel must provide a copy of a military ID.
  • MSB-8 completion certificate.

The DPS will mail a Class AM, BM, or CM license to applicants within 45 days.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas as a Minor

The process of obtaining a motorcycle license as a minor living in Texas is quite different. This is why it is crucial to know the steps to make the process much less stressful, easier, and faster.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Texas as a Minor

Prerequisites before applying for a license

The requirements for applicants between 15 and 17 years are pretty demanding. Minors must provide either of these documents before enrolling in the safety course.

  • Hold a provisional or unrestricted driver license, or
  • Show a completion certificate of the classroom phase of driver’s ed.
  • Have a Class C learner license with a 32-hour classroom phase of driver education course, or

Documents Needed

Minors must complete a set of requirements to qualify for a Class M license. They have to:

  • Bring a high school attendance and verification enrollment form. These documents should have a valid stamp or a signature from a school official.
  • Present a Basic Rider Course completion certificate.
  • Apply and finish the requirements in person at a Texas Driver License office.
  • Minors also have to present the following:
  • DE-964 and a class C learner license indicating completion of a 32-hour driver education course.

Or

  • Completion certificate or a Driver Education form indicating completion of 32 classroom hours.
  • Parent Taught Driver Education form (PTDE-964) for applicants taught by parents.
  • Provisional license (Class C).

Note: Minors must come with a guardian or a parent, who have to provide a signature authorizing the test. Also, the driver education requirement applies to all applicants from Out-of-State. This is irrespective of whether they have a motorcycle license from another state.

Step-by-step process

Step 1: Enroll in a DPS-Approved Motorcycle Safety Course

Before applying for a motorcycle license, minors must have a safety course completion document. The class covers basic skill controls such as how to brake safely, corner, and swerve. Once you finish the course, you will be issued a certificate of completion, which lasts 24 months.

Motorcycle Safety Training Course

For the course, minors must pass a driver education course and get an unrestricted Class C license or a Class C learner license. Additionally, learners must present the MSB-8 for their motorcycle license application.

Step 2: Present the Required Documents

Minors between 15 and 17 years will need proof of citizenship and identity. Bring with you your:

In Texas, you will also have to prove you are attending high school and passing the classes. You can obtain the Texas Verification of Enrollment Form from your GED or high school. Also, you must have a certificate of completion of the motorcycle safety course and DPS.

Step 3: Apply for Texas Driver License or ID

Minors have to finish the whole driver education course. From the course, they will obtain an unrestricted Class C license or a Class C learner license.

Also, you will need a learner permit or a provisional license, as well as form DE-964. This shows that you completed 32 hours of classwork in driver’s ed.

If you have a motorcycle license from another state, you must complete driver’s ed in Texas before you can get a Texas license.

For the application process:

  • You must come with a parent to sign the authorization.
  • Have the required application fees.
  • Fill out the application form.

Step 4: Take the Vision and Knowledge Test

The vision test is a simple screening done on riders with or without glasses. It ensures they can see well enough to ride.

The knowledge test evaluates applicants on basic motorcycle information. You learn most of the tests you will take here during the safety course. For the written knowledge test, you can download a state motorcycle operator’s manual online or get a copy from the driver’s license office.

Step 5: Take Motorcycle Road Test

You can schedule an appointment online or at a testing office and take the test. Minors are, however, not permitted to obtain a waiver for skill tests.

For the road test, you have to bring a motorcycle to ride, a motor vehicle, and a licensed driver. The supervisor will be following you closely in the motor vehicle.

The test will test your ability to;

  • Observe and merge with traffic
  • Drive in your lane
  • Staying under the speed limit
  • Control the motorcycle
  • Use turn signals

Learner’s performance may also be graded on:

  • Intersection observance
  • Traffic signals 
  • Traffic signs
  • Turns

If you fail the test, you can reschedule and retake it. Once you pass, you will get your motorcycle license.

With the class M license, minors have the following restrictions within the first year:

“J” restriction (This is for applicants who are 16 and 17 years old)

  • Learners can only ride under the supervision of a motorcycle operator who is 21 years or above and licensed.
  • The supervisor must stay in your range at all times.
  • To remove the “J” restriction, minors must take a motorcycle riding test.

“I” restriction (This is only for applicants who are 15 years old)

The “I” restriction can be removed once you turn 16. Learners can submit an application at any driver license office for its removal. After this, you can ride any type of motorcycle.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Motorcycle License in Texas?

After completing the application process, you will receive a permanent license in your mail after 45 days. As you wait for the license, you will use your temporary license before the 45 days are over.

However, before having a temporary license, you will take a BRC for about two days. There is also a driver education course with a 32-hour classroom phase. After this, there are other processes that may take time, including the written test and road test.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Ride a Motorcycle Without a License in Texas?

No, you must own a Class M license to ride your motorcycle in Texas, or you can add an endorsement to your driver’s license. Riding without a license means risking getting arrested, and your motorcycle may be impounded. You must be at least 16 years old to obtain a motorcycle license in Texas.

How Long Is the Motorcycle Safety Course in Texas?

The Motorcycle Safety Course takes approximately 16 hours. It comprises 3-4 hours of online classes before undertaking the physical training. The safety course is a requirement for all applicants, regardless of driving experience or age. Learners must complete the basic rider course within 30 days before starting the in-person course.

Can I Buy a Motorcycle Without a License in Texas?

Yes, you can purchase a motorcycle without a license in Texas. You are not required to show your license to dealerships or private motorcycle sellers to buy a motorcycle. However, you cannot ride your motorcycle without a valid motorcycle license.

Final Thoughts

Although applying for a motorcycle license in Texas may seem lengthy, you’ll realise that once you have the license, you can begin to ride legally on state roads alongside other vehicles. As you can see, you must have a valid driver’s license and be 18 years or older to get your motorcycle license. Applicants below the age of 18 can still apply for a motorcycle license. But the application process for minors is quite different. In Texas, the age definition for minors is 15 – 17.

Pro Tip: During the application process, minors must come personally to a Texas Driver’s License office to fill out the application form. Those 18 years and above can fill out the application forms online

David Okwacha

David Okwacha has a background in computer science and is a motorbike enthusiast. Since he was 16 years old, he has been riding motorcycles and performing simple repairs. He has four years of experience writing informative, intelligible articles about motorcycles, technology, and outdoor activities. David enjoys traveling the country on his dirt bike when he's not writing. He had some thrilling experiences, including dirt biking through the Kenyan savanna.

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