North Carolina law requires all motorcycle drivers to have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license or possess a motorcycle learner’s permit to operate a motorcycle. To obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit or endorsement, applicants must already have a driver’s license. Motorcycle permit applicants must be at least 16 years old; those between the ages of 16 and 18 will need the consent of a parent or guardian.
Motorcycle License Requirements
- Proof of residence
- Vision test
- Written knowledge test
- On-cycle skill test
- Fees ($15 for learner’s permit; $1.75/year for motorcycle endorsement)
Motorcycle learner’s permits are issued for 12 months, and may be renewed once for six months. Before taking the knowledge test, study North Carolina’s Motorcyclists’ Handbook. Drivers under the age of 18 will also need to pass a course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or the North Carolina Motorcycle Education Safety Program.
Motorcyclists in North Carolina must purchase a liability policy for their vehicles that meets the state’s minimum insurance coverage requirements. Drivers must have at least $30,000 for bodily injuries or death to one person in an accident; $60,000 for bodily injuries or deaths to two or more people in an accident; and $25,000 for property damage occurring in a single accident. This pays for vehicles or property damage for which you are legally liable. North Carolina law also requires that motorcycle operators carry proof of insurance while driving at all times.
If you’re shopping for motorcycle insurance, check with multiple insurance providers before you make a final decision because various carriers offer different rates. These motorcycle insurance rates are based on each individual’s unique circumstances. They depend largely on factors such as the motorcycle’s make, model, and age; how often you ride the motorcycle; your personal driving record and the driving records of all other riders; and the year the motorcycle was registered. You may want to ask about the cost of insurance even before you buy a motorcycle because buying a high performance motorcycle or having a poor driving record may make the cost of insurance unaffordable.
Most insurance carriers offer a discount to motorcyclists who complete a certified motorcycle training course. Ask your insurance agent if your provider offers discounts to rider education course graduates.
Motorcycle drivers must follow the North Carolina’s traffic and safety laws. Failure to follow these laws may result in speeding tickets, higher insurance premiums, and suspension or loss of your motorcycle license. In accordance with North Carolina law:
- Drivers must carry proof of insurance.
- Motorcyclists must wear a safety helmet. However, eye protection is not required.
- Motorcyclists must use headlights during the day.
- A passenger seat and footrest is required if motorcycle is carrying a passenger.
- Periodic safety inspectionsare required.
- A muffler is required, and cutouts are prohibited.
- A-weighted sound levels must be 82 dB(A) at 35 mph or less and 86 dB(A) at more than 35 mph.
- Handle bars or grips cannot be more than the height of the operator’s shoulders.
- Motorcycles may ride abreast in the same lane, but a staggered formation is preferred.