Obtaining a Motorcycle License (Endorsement)
Motorcycling in Maine
Any resident with a valid motorcycle permit or license can operate a motorcycle in Maine.
Non-residents with a motorcycle license from their state or country of residence, as well as those who are at least 16 years old and hold a permit from another state or country, are welcome on Maine roads.
If you are moving to Maine from another state and already have your motorcycle license/endorsement, you must transfer your credentials into a Maine license within 30 days of becoming a resident, per Maine law. (Please note: The only state from which we do not accept a motorcycle license waiver is the State of Alabama.)
Per Maine law, you must successfully complete a hands-on rider education program to earn your motorcycle permit and pursue your license. The motorcycle licensing process requires the same provisions as other motor vehicle licenses, such as a vision test. If you are less than 18 years of age, but at least 16 years of age, you must complete a basic driver education course before enrolling in a motorcycle safety course.
Depending on what you plan to ride, you may not need a motorcycle endorsement on your license. Check out this listing of vehicles to see if an endorsement is required for the vehicle you plan to operate.
The motorcycle safety course is offered at motorcycle rider education schools throughout the state in partnership with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
- The Basic Rider Course is required for all new riders. This 15-hour course combines classroom instruction with hands-on training, using the school's motorcycles on a controlled range. Trained RiderCoaches lead the course, using the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum approved by the BMV. Students will learn about motorcycles and their controls, safety considerations before and during riding, and techniques to have the best control of the vehicle. Traffic strategies, braking maneuvers, protective apparel selection, maintenance and more are covered in this course. Average cost for this course is about $325.
A written test and a motorcycle skills test are administered at the completion of this course. Those who pass the written test are eligible to receive their motorcycle permit. Those who pass the skills test are also eligible for a road test waiver. If you are eligible for a road test waiver, the motorcycle endorsement will be added to your Maine license or if you do not hold a Maine license, a motorcycle only license will be issued. If the road test is waived, the operator cannot carry a passenger for a period of 60 days after the motorcycle endorsement/license is issued.
NOTICE: If you currently hold a valid motorcycle permit, you must pass a motorcycle road test prior to its expiration or you will have to complete the Basic RiderCourse.
Permit Period/Road Test
Those who complete the Basic RiderCourse but do not qualify for a road test waiver will be issued a permit from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles upon showing a course completion certificate. Applicants must fill out the permit application and pay a $35 fee. The motorcycle permit is valid for two years. Permit-holders will be supplied with a postcard to send in to schedule their road test. If the applicant does not pass the first road test, a fee of $35 is required for subsequent tests. If the road test and licensing process is not completed within two years, the applicant must re-take the Basic RiderCourse.
During the permit period, riders must wear a helmet whenever operating the motorcycle and are prohibited from carrying passengers. If you plan to ride out of state or in another country during your permit period, you will need to check with their principle law enforcement agency, such as the State Police or Highway Patrol, to see if your permit is valid for operation there.
The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides the Motorcycle Operator Manual as a study guide for the road test.
For the road test, the examiner will observe and evaluate your ability to operate and control the motorcycle with sufficient skill and knowledge to be a competent driver on the highways of the State of Maine. Skills such as maintaining proper lane position and making turns will be evaluated, as will your reactions to pedestrians, other vehicles, traffic signs, signals and road conditions. Examiners typically use two-way radios to conduct the examination.
The use of helmets, eye protection and other protective riding gear is strongly encouraged. Riders who fall into these categories are required by law to wear a helmet:
- Persons under the age of 18 who operate a motorcycle or ride as a passenger
- Persons operating on a learner's permit
- Persons operating a motorcycle for one year following successful completion of the driving test
- The passenger of an operator who is required to wear headgear
Experienced motorcyclists can improve their level of safety by taking an Experienced Rider Course through any of the motorcycle rider education schools that offer the course in partnership with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. In the Experienced Rider Course, motorcyclists take their own bikes on the range and learn from trained Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoaches who instruct them on how to improve their cornering and braking techniques, among other skills that aid in crash avoidance. Average cost for this course is about $70-100. Note: Some insurance companies offer discounts on their premiums for those who complete safety training courses.