Between the sunny skies and smooth roads, who wouldn’t want to get a motorcycle license in Arizona? If you’re looking to acquire your motorcycle instruction permit, or if you’re ready to officially add a motorcycle license endorsement to your current driver’s license, you’ve come to the right place.
Today we’ll walk you through each stage of applying for an Arizona motorcycle license. From passing your knowledge and skills exams to undergoing the medical and vision exams, and finally paying the licensing fees. We’ve got you covered on everything you need to add a class M endorsement to your driver’s license. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice just learning the roads, this is how to get a motorcycle license in AZ.
First Time Drivers: Applying for a Motorcycle License in AZ
By age 15 and a half, all Arizona residents can apply for a motor vehicle license. This includes a motorcycle license. To apply, you must complete a Driver License and Identification Card application, pass all qualifying skills tests, and pay the licensing fees. Though your license won’t expire until age 65, you must update your photo and eye test every 12 years.
Motorcycle Instruction Permits
The minimum age to apply for an Arizona instruction permit is 15 years and 6 months old. If you are under the age of 18, you must hold a motorcycle instruction permit for a minimum of six months before legally acquiring your motorcycle license. A learner’s permit allows you to operate your motorcycle between sunrise and sunset, though you cannot ride after dark when visibility is less than 500 feet ahead, or on freeways and interstate highways. A motorcycle instruction permit also forbids you from carrying passengers.
First-time drivers must pass both a Motorcycle Operator and Driver License written test to qualify for an instruction permit. If you already have a learner’s permit or license, you may only need to take the Motorcycle Operator test to receive your permit.
Existing Drivers: Class of License and Motorcycle Endorsements
Arizona issues licenses by “class.” In other words, there is a separate class of licenses for each type of vehicle you can drive. If you have an existing driver's license, you need to add a class M endorsement to your current license. A motorcycle endorsement signifies you have passed the appropriate tests to legally operate a motorcycle.
Arizona offers a variety of endorsements and classes to note which type of vehicle you’re authorized to operate. You must have a Class M license or a motorcycle endorsement to legally operate a motorcycle.
Class M License (Motorcycle)
A class M or motorcycle license is required to operate motorcycles and other motor-driven cycles, such as mopeds. You must be a minimum age of 16 to apply for your motorcycle license. If you’re under 18, you must hold an active Arizona motorcycle instruction permit for at least six months before applying. If you’re over 18 and applying for your first license or instruction permit, you must pass a Motorcycle Operator test and a Driver License written test.
Regardless of age, all motorcycle license applicants must complete a Motor Vehicle Department-approved motorcycle driver education program. Likewise, all applicants must complete a skills test and a motorcycle training course, so be sure to get in your riding practice.
Class G License (Graduated) with a Motorcycle Endorsement
A class G or graduated license is given to minors between 16 and 18 years of age. It gives drivers the authorization to operate any passenger vehicle, such as a car or a small truck. To receive a motorcycle endorsement on a graduated license, you must hold both an active Arizona driver permit and an active Arizona motorcycle instruction permit for a minimum of six months at the time of your application.
To apply for a graduated license with a motorcycle endorsement, you must complete a skills test and a motorcycle safety course. Additionally, you must complete a Motor Vehicle Department-approved motorcycle driver education program To forego the education program, a parent or guardian must certify you’ve completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle training and driving practice.
Class D License (Operator) with a Motorcycle Endorsement
Chances are you’re more familiar with the term “driver’s license” than you are “class D license” or “Operator license,” but they’re all the same thing. A class D license is the standard license required to operate all non-commercial vehicles, like passenger cars and SUVs. However, your class D license must have a motorcycle endorsement to allow you to legally operate a motorcycle. You must be at least 18 years of age as well as complete a motorcycle test to apply for an operator license with a motorcycle endorsement.
Class A, B, or C License (CDL) with a Motorcycle Endorsement
A commercial driver’s license (CDL)allows you to operate commercial vehicles, like heavyweight vehicles, tractor-trailers, flatbeds, box trucks, and buses. Adding a motorcycle endorsement onto it gives you the legal ability to drive motorcycles. Commercial driver licenses are separated into three classes:
- Class A: Authorizes the driver to drive a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
- Class B: Authorizes the driver to drive a single vehicle that has an attached cab and cargo area with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds.
- Class C: Authorizes the driver to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle that transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
You must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply for a commercial license with a motorcycle endorsement, though applicants between 18 and 21 may apply for an intrastate CDL. This grants them the ability to drive commercial vehicles but only within Arizona.
Written Test for Motorcycle Rules and Regulations
All first-time motorcycle license applicants must pass both a Motorcycle Operator written test and a Driver License written test. If you are renewing your motorcycle license, the Department of Motor Vehicles may require you to retake one or both of these tests. Luckily, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) provides a Motorcycle Operator Manual and a Driver License Manual. The manuals are based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) regulations.
Both written tests rely heavily on the material in the manuals. Therefore, it’s recommended you diligently review the two before testing. You must pay an application fee to take the Motorcycle Operator and Driver License tests. However, one application fee grants you three tries at passing the tests in a 12-month period.
Arizona Written Tests Fee
All motorcycle license applicants must pay a fee to take the Motorcycle Operator and Driver License written tests. Licensing fees are based on your age:
- Ages 16 to 39: $25
- Ages 40 to 44: $20
- Ages 45 to 49: $15
- Ages 50 and older: $10
Once you pass the written tests, you must pay the Arizona MVD a $7 fee. This $7 fee is to add a class M endorsement to your license or to receive your motorcycle instruction permit.
Skills Test for Motorcycle Safety
In addition to the written tests, all motorcycle license applicants must pass a physical motorcycle skills test. The test is relatively straight-forward and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. It’s done on an off-street, basic rider course, and its purpose is to demonstrate riding ability. Motorcycle rider skills test instructions are available through your local DMV. Be sure to study so you can become familiar with the maneuvers you’ll be expected to perform.
Medical Screening for a Motorcycle License
Working alongside the Arizona Medical Advisory Board, ADOT has established medical standards to safely operate a motor vehicle. Certain conditions, such as sleep apnea or dementia, can impair your ability to ride and increase your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident. As such, driver’s license and motorcycle license applications both include questions regarding any present medical conditions.
Any medical condition that develops or worsens should also be reported to the Medical Review Program at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of ADOT.
Vision Screening for a Motorcycle License
To get a motorcycle license in AZ, you must also pass a vision screening test. The vision test examines your visual field, especially measuring your peripherals. It’s trying to determine how far you can see to the side while keeping your eyes straight ahead.
To obtain an unrestricted motorcycle license, you must have uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better in at least one eye. In other words, if your vision test reveals you cannot see at 20/40 or better without corrective lenses, you will receive a restricted license.
What is a Restricted Motorcycle Permit or License?
A license restriction indicates that you must comply with specific conditions to legally drive. For example, in Arizona, a Restriction B means you must always wear corrective lenses while driving. If you get pulled over without your typical eyewear, you can receive a ticket.
Likewise, a Restriction J means you completed your motorcycle skills test with a small-engine motor-driven cycle, like a moped or scooter. You must complete your skills test with a large-engine motorcycle above 100 ccs to obtain an unrestricted license.
Do You Need Your License for Motorcycle Insurance?
Arizona requires every driver to be equipped with liability insurance, including motorcyclists.
Though you may be able to get motorcycle insurance without a license, most insurance companies will not insure an unlicensed motorcyclist. Additionally, most insurance policies require your license number for completion. While it’s not definite, you should err on the side of caution and apply for your license before seeking motorcycle insurance.
Are You Getting a Motorcycle License in AZ?
There’s nothing more exhilarating than finally getting out on the open road with your bike. But before you do that, you’ll need to get your hands on an Arizona motorcycle license. Geared with these tips for acquiring the proper permits and knowledge tests, you’ll be legally cruising in no time.