Motorcycle Manual Table of Contents:
MOTORCYCLE LICENSES, OWNERSHIP, SPECIAL RULES | PREPARING TO RIDE | RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES |
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE | EARNING YOUR LICENSE | MOTORCYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM  |  DMV Home

 

Motorcycle Licenses, Ownership, Special Rules

LICENSES

To operate a motorcycle in New York State, you must have a motorcycle operator's license (Class M) or a motorcycle junior operator's license (Class MJ).  You may drive a motorcycle in New York if you are a resident of another state or country and have a valid motorcycle license from there.  If you are less than 18 years old, you must obey the license restrictions for both the out-of-state jurisdiction and New York State.

The instructions to apply for a driver license, including a motorcycle license, are provided in Chapter One of the NYS Driver's Manual.  You should study that manual in addition to this one, even if you already have a license.  Your motorcycle license written test will be based on information from both manuals.  The Driver's Manual also contains the junior operator and learner permit restrictions, information on license suspension and revocation and vehicle registration, title and insurance.

In addition to the information in the Driver's Manual, motorcycle operators must be aware that:

If you take the test on a three-wheeler, your motorcycle license will be restricted to driving three-wheelers.

REGISTRATION, INSPECTION, INSURANCE

Unlike most other motor vehicles, motorcycles are registered for one year rather than two, and all motorcycle registrations expire on April 30.

Motorcycles must be inspected at least once every 12 months at a station licensed by the DMV to perform motorcycle safety inspections.  The station will display a yellow and black sign reading "Official NYS Motorcycle Inspection Station." Dealerships must inspect motorcycles prior to delivery.  If purchased in a private sale, you will be given 10 days from the date of registration to have the motorcycle inspected.

Unlike other motor vehicles, liability insurance may be terminated on a motorcycle without first turning the plate in at a DMV office.  This makes it easier to put the motorcycle back on the road after winter storage.  However, under no circumstances may a motorcycle be operated on public highways without liability coverage in effect.  This also applies to motorcycles registered out-of-state.

SPECIAL RULES AND REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

All motorcycle operators and passengers must wear approved motorcycle helmets as defined by USDOT federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS 218).  To improve the motorcyclist's visibility, we recommend that helmets have at least four square inches of reflective material on both sides.

All motorcycle operators must wear approved eye protection even if the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.  Any windshield must also be of an approved type.  Prescription or made-to-order safety glasses may be used if the user can present written certification that they meet DMV standards.  The eye protection must be manufactured in conformity with the regulations established by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI Z87.1).   However, the DMV recommends approved goggles or a face-shield for full protection.

The headlight and taillight of the motorcycle must be on at all times when operating on the road.

Motorcyclists have the right to the use of a full lane and may ride no more than two abreast in a single lane.  You may not ride abreast of another vehicle in the same lane, between lanes or between traffic and parked cars.  Motorcyclists are subject to all applicable rules of the road, including signaling all turns and lane changes and passing only when and where permitted for other vehicles.

A MOTORCYCLE MUST HAVE ALL OF THE FOLLOWING EQUIPMENT IN GOOD WORKING ORDER:

NOTE:  The remainder of this manual is based on the model Motorcycle Operator Manual developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).  The material is copyrighted by MSF and is used with permission.

Motorcycle Manual Table of Contents:
MOTORCYCLE LICENSES, OWNERSHIP, SPECIAL RULES | PREPARING TO RIDE | RIDE WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES |
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE | EARNING YOUR LICENSE | MOTORCYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM  |  DMV Home