Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary Dunlap announces new requirements for motorcycle licensing

AUGUSTA ? Mainers who are seeking to earn a motorcycle endorsement on their driver?s license will now be required to complete a hands-on rider education course, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced today.

On Friday, April 15, Gov. Paul LePage signed into law LD 1483, a bill that includes a provision to require all Maine residents who are seeking to earn a motorcycle endorsement on their license to complete the Basic RiderCourse. This new law, which was enacted as emergency legislation, goes into effect immediately.

The law change was proposed by the Department of the Secretary of State in an effort to increase rider safety. The riding season of 2015 was the deadliest since 1991, with 32 motorcycle fatalities on Maine roads.

?This legislation represents a life-saving improvement in our approach to motorcycle licensing and we?d like to thank the Legislature and Gov. LePage for their support,? said Secretary Dunlap.

Prior to the law enactment, prospective motorcyclists could choose to take either the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Maine Motorcycle Safety Education Course (MMSEC), which was an 8-hour classroom-only course that allowed participants to earn their permit and later take a road test to get their motorcycle endorsement.

Now, only the Basic RiderCourse will be recognized by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for motorcycle licensing. This 15-hour course combines classroom instruction with hands-on training from trained RiderCoaches, using the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum approved by the BMV. Rider education schools are located throughout the state to offer this course.

?By increasing the education requirements for a motorcycle endorsement, we hope to see a significant decline in motorcyclist fatalities on Maine roads,? said Secretary Dunlap. ?Eight hours of classroom instruction alone is not enough to give new riders the skills they need to safely operate on the open road.?

A written test and a motorcycle skills test are administered at the completion of the Basic RiderCourse. Those who pass the written test are eligible to receive their motorcycle permit and complete a road test administered by the BMV at a later date. Those who pass the skills test and hold a valid driver's license are also eligible for a road test waiver.

The Maine BMV has found growing interest in the Basic RiderCourse: Before the course was first offered about 10 years ago, the bureau conducted an average of more than 3,000 motorcycle road tests each year. Last year, that figure stood at 744.

?Today, most customers calling in are asking for information relative to the BRC program and where they can take it,? said Patty Morneault, deputy secretary of state for the BMV. 

Although the law change goes into effect immediately, those who complete the classroom-only MMSEC course by May 15, 2016 will be grandfathered and can complete their road test to earn their endorsement during their permit period. Permit renewals will no longer be issued, so if the permit expires and the rider has not successfully completed the road test, s/he will have to complete the Basic RiderCourse.

For more information on obtaining a motorcycle endorsement, visit the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website:

Maine residents who already have a motorcycle endorsement on their license will not be required to take the course, but are encouraged to consider the Experienced Rider Course (ERC), which is also offered at many rider education sites across the state. The ERC is also an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, and is tailored for those who want to improve their maneuvering and crash avoidance skills.