How To Get A Motorcycle License In New Jersey

If you want to drive a motorcycle in the state of New Jersey without getting in trouble with the law, you have to have a motorcycle license. The process of getting a motorcycle license varies from state to state and is more complex than a regular driver's license. So how can you get your own motorcycle license in New Jersey? We examined NJ government resources to compile a list of steps for you here in this post.

To get a motorcycle license in the state of New Jersey, these are the steps you need to follow: 

  1. Meet the requirements and get a motorcycle examination permit.
  2. Complete three to six months of practice rides.
  3. Attend the Basic Rider Course.
  4. Take the NJ motorcycle road test. 
  5. Attain and keep your probationary motorcycle license for one year before earning your unrestricted motorcycle license (after your 18th birthday). 

Following those steps will allow you to hit the road with your motorcycle, but there are more details to each step that you need to know. Continue reading to find out more about the cost of the license and associated activities, the length of time it will take to get the license, and what might happen to you if you drive your bike without a license.

A young man on the motorbike is showing driving license and motorcycle keys, How To Get A Motorcycle License In New Jersey


Getting a Motorcycle License in New Jersey

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission,  it is necessary to have a motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle of any kind within the state. This license can either come in the form of a motorcycle-only license that's not good for regular vehicles or as an endorsement on a standard driver's license.

Female student with helmet taking motorcycle lessons and practicing ride

The types of motorcycles these certifications apply to include any two or three-wheel vehicle with an attached motor. Note that if you have a three-wheeled bike, you are eligible to get a three-wheel-only endorsement meaning you can't drive regular motorcycles. 

The only exception to the motorcycle license law in New Jersey is for significantly less powerful motorbikes. You don't need a motorcycle license to operate bikes that go less than 35 miles per hour, have an engine smaller than 50 cubic centimeters, or a 1.5 brake horsepower motor. You do, however, need a regular driver's license to operate these types of motorbikes. 

The final rule for owning and operating a motorcycle in New Jersey is that all motorcycles, trikes, and low-speed motorbikes must be registered with the state, titled to someone, and insured. If you have all of these things, all you're missing is the motorcycle license. Here is the process to get one in New Jersey: 

Step 1: Meet the Requirements & Get the Motorcycle Examination Permit

The requirements to get a full motorcycle license in NJ largely depend on your age. You have to be at least 17 years old to obtain your motorcycle permit, and you need parental permission unless you are already 18. To get your permit, you'll have to pass a knowledge test along with a vision test. Additionally, you'll have to bring multiple forms of ID to the appointment. This examination permit will allow you to operate motorcycles under supervision during your practice rides and beginners courses.

Step 2: Complete Six Months of Practice Rides

Practice rides give you the experience necessary to enter the road as a full-fledged motorcyclist. If you are younger than 21 years of age, you must complete six months of practice riding. If you are older than that, you'll only need three months. 

Step 3: Attend a Basic Rider Course

This step is probably the most important in this process, where you learn to ride the motorcycle. You can complete this step at any point during your three to six months of practice riding time. The courses are put on by approved motorcycle schools that exist all over the state.

The class is a mixture of lecture time and time on a practice course. When you finish the course, you get a card that will allow you to apply for the actual motorcycle license at the end of your practice ride months. 

Step 4: Take the NJ Motorcycle Road Test

The NJ motorcycle road test will be similar to the courses you did during the Basic Rider Course. After completing this test, you will be granted your state of New Jersey Probationary Motorcycle License. You are required to bring your own motorcycle for this test. With the probationary motorcycle license, you can legally operate a motorcycle on the road, but with some restrictions. 

Step 5: Upgrade your Probationary License to an Unrestricted License

After step four, you are officially a licensed motorcyclist in the state of NJ, but not all the way. We included step five to let you know that you become eligible to upgrade it to an unrestricted license after one year of holding the probationary version of the license. The only other requirement to get the full version is to be above the age of 18. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Motorcycle License in NJ?

The entire process to get a motorcycle license in New Jersey is a little longer than in other states due to their practice month rules. In the best-case scenario, you are an applicant who is above 21 years old. In this case, you can go from unlicensed to licensed in three months of practice drives plus a week or so to handle the rest of the application process with a Basic Rider Course somewhere in the middle.

On the longer end, if you are only 17, you will have to hold the permit for a year before getting your first motorcycle license. The good news is you can complete all of your test drives and other requirements during that time frame. 

How Much Does a Motorcycle License Cost in NJ?

One requirement that is uniform no matter what age you apply for the motorcycle license is the fees. According to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission fees page, the fee for getting a motorcycle license is $24. Further, the price for a motorcycle permit is $5. 

How Much is a Motorcycle Safety Course in NJ?

You can find the state of New Jersey-approved motorcycle schools all over the state. The two-day Basic Rider Courses that these schools offer cost between $349 and $375. This price is pretty even across the board no matter where you look in the state. 

How to Get the Motorcycle Endorsement in NJ

If you are already a licensed driver in New Jersey, the process to able to drive a motorcycle legally will be more straightforward. All you need is a motorcycle endorsement on your current license. The simplified process to get a motorcycle endorsement is as simple as completing the Basic Rider Course and obtaining a completion card and a waiver for the practice driving months. All other fees and requirements are the same. 

You can even get a motorcycle endorsement without doing the Basic Rider Course. In this case, you should follow these steps:

  1. Get a motorcycle examination permit. 
  2. Conduct 20 days of practice riding. 
  3. Take the same motorcycle road test that the full license applicants take. 
  4. Complete the registration process and collect your endorsement. 

What Happens if You Get Pulled Over Without a Motorcycle License in NJ?

This is a good time to reiterate that it's not only necessary to have a license to operate a motorcycle in New Jersey; it's totally illegal to do so without one. If you are pulled over on a motorcycle in NJ without the proper license, you could face punishment. This punishment would either be in the form of a hefty fine of $500 or some time in jail. 

Can You Buy a Motorcycle Without a License in NJ?

Like many other states, it is entirely legal to buy a motorcycle in New Jersey without a motorcycle license. This is perfect if you found a great deal on a motorcycle from someone who can deliver it to you or hold onto it until you get your license. The issue is that you can't ride the motorcycle that you just purchased without the license. So unless you're in one of those two special situations, it's best to get the license before making your motorcycle purchase. 

In Closing

The process of getting a motorcycle license in New Jersey isn't too difficult if you understand the steps. There are two ways you can become a licensed driver in NJ; either by getting a brand new motorcycle license or by adding an endorsement to your regular license. Either way, the process ensures your safety and the safety of the others on the road. Going through will also save you some fines and potential jail time by allowing you to drive your motorcycle freely in New Jersey. 

If you found the information in this post useful, please check out a few of our others:

15 Of The Best Commuter Motorcycles To Consider

What’s The Average Cost For Motorcycle Gear?

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