Pennsylvania law requires that all motorcycle drivers have a Class M learner’s permit or license issued by Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The state defines a motorcycle as “a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.” Pennsylvania residents may obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit at 16. However, they must practice on a learner’s permit for at least six months and complete 50 hours of driving time before they turn 18 to receive a Class M license. Applicants should study Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Operator’s Manual.
Motorcycle License Requirements
- Proof of residence
- Vision test
- Written knowledge test
- On-cycle skills text
- Fees (Permit: $10; License: $5)
A Pennsylvania motorcycle permit is valid for one year, but operators must drive under certain restrictions. They are only authorized to drive during daylight hours, and they may not carry any passenger other than a licensed motorcycle instructor. If operators do not hold another class of license, then they may only operate a motorcycle under the supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator.
After receiving a permit, holders may schedule a skills test at a local licensing center or schedule training through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). If you decide to take the beginner Basic Riding Course offered by PAMSP and pass the skills evaluation at the end of the course, you are not required to take the skills test at a licensing center. PAMSP classes are offered free of charge.
All drivers in Pennsylvania, including motorcyclists, are required to have liability insurance, which reimburses others for damages when you are legally liable. The minimum requirements for liability coverage in Pennsylvania are $15,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in an accident; $30,000 for bodily injuries to or deaths of two or more people in an accident; and $5,000 to cover damages to others’ property. Drivers must also have personal injury protection coverage for $5,000. This covers medical bills for you and others who are covered by your policy, regardless of fault.
Pennsylvania law requires that drivers carry insurance, and a lapse in coverage may result in the suspension of your vehicle registration for three months. You could also faces fines and the suspension of your license.
When it comes to buying motorcycle insurance, shop around. You will need to determine the forms of coverage you want, the minimum amount of liability you require, and the deductible you desire. 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.
Insurance discounts may be available if you have completed a motorcycle safety course. Ask your insurance agent if your provider offers discounts to rider education course graduates.
In accordance with Pennsylvania law, motorcycle drivers must follow the traffic laws listed below. Failure to follow these motorcycle-specific laws may result in speeding tickets, higher insurance premiums, and the suspension or loss of your motorcycle permit or license. According to Pennsylvania law:
- Drivers must carry proof of insurance.
- Safety helmets are optional for operators 21 or older who have operated a motorcycle for at least two full calendar years. Drivers older than 21 who have completed a motorcycle rider safety course that is approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are also exempt. Passengers are also exempt if they are 21 or older.
- Eye protection is required.
- Daytime use of headlights is required for motorcycles built after 1986.
- A passenger’s seat and footrest are required if the motorcycle is carrying passengers.
- Periodic safety inspections are required by law.
- A muffler is required, and modifications to increase the sound level are prohibited.
- The maximum A-weighted sound levels, measured at 50 feet, should be no more than 84 dBA at 35 mph or less and 88 dBA above 35 mph.
- Two motorcycles may ride abreast in the same lane, but lane splitting is prohibited.