An Iowa motorcycle instructional permit (C) may be obtained by passing the written knowledge examination and paying an $8 fee for each year the license is valid for four years. Drivers with a motorcycle instruction permit who are age 14 through 17 may drive with a licensed parent or guardian if their guardian has a motorcycle endorsement; an immediate family member who is at least 21 years of age; or a licensed adult who is at least 25 years of age with a valid motorcycle endorsement and written permission from the parent or guardian (if 18 years old, parent/guardian permission is not required). Three-wheel vehicles require a separate test and endorsement. This includes motorcycles with sidecars. A motorcycle license (L) requires a minimum driver’s age of 16. Iowa recognizes mopeds that can travel faster than 30 mph and scooters with step-through frames as types of motorcycles.
Motorcycle License Requirements
- Application fee ($2 with a license, $14 without)
- Application form
- Motorcycle operator’s examination
- Instruction permit
Iowa requires a minimum liability insurance policy with $20,000 of bodily injury liability for one person, $40,000 of bodily injury liability for more than one person, and $15,000 of property damage liability. License and registration can be suspended if you cannot show proof of insurance or other forms of financial responsibility (The Iowa Financial & Safety Responsibility Act). Other forms of financial responsibility and options to waive liability fees include:
- Money — Cash or cashier’s check, certified check, bank draft or postal money order payable to the Office of Driver Services for accident expenses.
- Release from parties — Official releases from all parties involved in the accident.
- Installment plan — Agree to pay the injured parties or owners of damaged property on an installment plan.
- Confession — Eliminate your right to defend against charges with a warrant for confession of judgment with a payment schedule for damages.
- Bonds — File a surety bond, cash, or securities of $55,000.
Criteria for determining insurance rates generally include age and sex, marital status, driver record, type of car and use, place of residence, policy limits, deductibles, driver training, claims history, and credit scores. Males and unmarried couples have higher insurance rates than females and married couples, and vehicle cost correlates to the cost of insurance. A history of traffic fines and accidents will raise the cost of insurance, and may even warrant searching for alternative means of proving financial responsibility, such as state treasurer or trust fund deposits.
Speeding tickets, higher motorcycle insurance premiums, and license revocation may result from improper motorcycle maintenance or failure to abide by state law. Motorcycle laws vary by state, and drivers must follow the laws of the state the driver is in, not where the motorcycle is registered. These are the motorcycle state laws for Iowa:
- Passenger seats and footrests are required if carrying a passenger; there is no age restriction on the passenger.
- A mirror is required.
- Motorcycles may operate two abreast in the same lane, but lane splitting is prohibited.