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How to Get a Motorcycle License in Tennessee

A Tennessee motorcycle drivers license is required if you wish to drive a motorcycle vehicle. You can apply for a motorcycle endorsement on your regular license or you can obtain a full bike license. Applying for motorcycle license credentials can be done at any full-service Tennessee Department of Safety office. To obtain a TN motorcycle license, you will want to study the regular drivers handbook and motorcycle handbook. Motorcycle license requirements vary depending on age. Learning about where to get motorcycle license credentials is the first step toward getting your motorcycle license in Tennessee.

Types of Tennessee Motorcycle Licenses

Before you can apply for a motorcycle license in Tennessee, it is important to learn which types are available and which types you are eligible for. Motorbike driving license credentials are available with the following driving privileges:

  • Motorcycle Only License (Class M): Allows you to only operate motorcycles with an engine of 126 cc or more. You may obtain this license if you do not wish to operate passenger vehicles.
  • Motorcycle-Secondary License: Adds a motorcycle endorsement to your regular license and allows you to operate a motorbike in addition to regular passenger vehicle.
  • Motor-Driven Scooter License (Class M Limited): Allows you to operate a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with an engine size of 51 to 125 cc.
  • Temporary Motorcycle License (Class XM): Available if you are in the U.S. temporarily and can prove your legal presence with the appropriate documentation.
  • Motorcycle Learner Permit (Class P-M): Allows you to practice driving a motorcycle starting at 15 years of age.

You are not required to get motorcycle license credentials of any kind in Tennessee if you wish to operate a motor-driven cycle with an engine size under 50cc. Rather than getting a Tennessee motorcycle license or endorsement, anyone with a regular driving license can operate a motorized bicycle.

How can I get a motorcycle license in Tennessee?

You may obtain a license for motorcycle driving in Tennessee starting at 16 years of age. A permit for motorcycle driving may be obtained starting at 15 years of age by completing additional steps. Before you can apply for a full TN motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement, you must complete 50 hours of driving practice. Additionally, you will need to pass a vision, knowledge and skills test if you do not already hold a regular drivers license.

All motorbike license applicants are encouraged to take Tennessee’s Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) before applying for a license. This program issues a certificate that allows you to waive the tests for your motorcycle license if you already hold a regular license when you take the course. The MREP course covers safe riding techniques, laws and safety equipment requirements, such as laws relating to motorcycle helmets.

You may apply for a Tennessee motorcycle license at a Department of Safety office once you have gained enough practice and have completed your MREP course. Applying for motorcycle license credentials requires that you submit the following:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your citizenship or legal presence in the U.S.
  • Two documents showing proof of your residency
  • A completed motorcycle license application
  • A certification form showing that you have completed 50 hours of riding practice

To get a motorcycle license in Tennessee, you must also submit a payment. The motorcycle license cost varies depending on which type of license you are applying for.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Requirements for Teens

The motorbike license requirements in Tennessee are slightly different if you are younger than 18 years of age. You may obtain a motorcycle learners permit if you are between 15 and 16 years of age. With a permit, you are not allowed to drive a motorcycle with an engine larger than 650 cc, operate your motorcycle at night, carry passengers or drive more than 20 miles from your home. When applying for a motorcycle permit, you are required to take a written test, vision test and skills demonstration test. These tests may be waived by older applicants, but you are required to take them if you are under 16 years of age when you apply.

At 16 years of age, you may get motorcycle license credentials in Tennessee without restrictions. Your motorcycle learners license is valid for one year, after which the permit will be exchanged for a DMV motorcycle license that you may use without restrictions.

When applying for motorcycle license credentials as a minor in Tennessee, you must also submit a Minor/Teenage Affidavit of Cancellation which verifies your parents or guardians will accept financial responsibility for you in the event of a collision. A TN motorcycle license application may also require that you submit a Proof of School Attendance/Progress form.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Tests

You are required to pass Tennessee motorbike driving license tests if you are younger than 16 years of age, do not currently hold a state driver’s license of any kind or have not completed the MREP course. You can study for your motorcycle license online by reading the Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual and taking practice exams. Before going to the Department of Safety for your tests, make sure you bring a motorcycle helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation. The examiner will need to inspect your helmet before your test begins. If you already hold a regular license, then your tests will include a vision screening, knowledge test, motorcycle pre-trip inspection and a motorcycle operating test. If you do not have a license before applying for a full motorcycle license, then you must also complete a regular driver license knowledge test in addition to a motorcycle knowledge test.


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