General Licensing Information
Operating a motorcycle can be safe and fun when you act as a responsible rider. It also requires special skills and a heightened sense of awareness about other road users, traffic, and environmental conditions and a personal strategy to manage potential problems.
Studying this manual will not only help you pass your licensing tests, but it will also help prepare you to become a responsible and safe motorcyclist.
Take your time learning how to operate your motorcycle and get plenty of riding experience and training. You’ll need to be fully prepared for handling today’s traffic environment and reducing the potential for a crash.
1.1 – How to Obtain Your Class M Motorcycle License
You may obtain a Class M Motorcycle License if you:
- Are at least 17 years of age.
- Under age 18, a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult to sign the Form for Driver’s License/ID/Permit and complete the Responsible Adult Affidavit.
- Under age 18, a Certificate of School Enrollment (Form DS-1) must be presented.
- Pass required Motorcycle License tests, which include special road signs test, a special road rules test and an actual riding test on a motorcycle. (NOTE: The Motorcycle License test is waived if a 90-day test waiver is submitted for successfully completing the Basic Rider Course or Basic Rider Course 2.)
- Pass a vision test. If the vision test was administered and passed during the year in conjunction with another license issuance, the vision test may be waived.
- If the applicant meets the established requirements for a Class M License and also possesses a Class C or combination of other classes of permits, that license must be surrendered and a license containing the Class M will be issued. The applicant will not be given a refund for their remaining period of validity of the other license.
Class MP – Instructional Permit
An Instructional (Learner’s) Permit is issued for the purpose of learning how to operate a motorcycle on public roads or highways. An Instructional Permit is not a Motorcycle License.
All Instructional Permit applicants must pass a vision test and an examination of motorcycle Knowledge. A Class M Instructional Permit (MP) is valid for 6 months. It is not mandatory for a Class M License applicant to obtain a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) before taking the Class M examination, although road test reservations are available only to those applicants who hold a Class M Instructional Permit (MP). Requirements for a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) are as follows:
- Must be at least 16 years of age.
- Applicants 16 years of age must comply with Joshua’s Law by successfully completing a DDS certified Georgia Driver Training/Driver Education Course consisting of at least 30 hours of theoretical instruction (classroom or virtual) and 6 hours of practical behind-the-wheel instruction (instructor or parent taught).
A list of certified courses can be found online at https://online.dds.ga.gov/ddsgeorgiagov/locations/certified-driver-training-schools.aspx.
- Pass Vision Exam.
- Pass Motorcycle Knowledge Exam.
- If applicant is under 18 years of age, then a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult is required to sign the Form for Driver’s License/ID/Permit and complete the Responsible Adult Affidavit. The participating signatories also have the authority to request revocation of the permit at any time before the minor’s 18th birthday.
- Under age 18, a Certificate of School Enrollment (Form DS-1) must be presented.
MP Restrictions are:
- Motorcycle operation in daylight hours only.
- No passengers allowed.
- No limited access roadways.
- Safety equipment as prescribed by law.
Secure ID License Documentation Requirements
On July 1, 2012, DDS implemented additional procedures that enhanced the integrity and security of your Driver’s License (DL) and Identification Card (ID) resulting from the Federal requirements of the Real ID Act. These procedures require that you bring additional documentation with you when you visit one of our Customer Service Centers (CSC). If you currently hold a valid Georgia DL or ID, a Secure ID DL/ID will be issued at the time of your next renewal or reinstatement. If you do not hold a valid Georgia DL or ID, you will be issued a Secure ID DL/ID at the time of your application.
These documents will include the following:
- At least one (1) original or certified document to prove your Primary Identity; and
- At least one (1) document to prove your Social Security Number; and
- At least two (2) documents to prove your Residential Address; and
- Appropriate Name Change documents, if needed.
Important Name Change Information: If you are a US Citizen and your name is different from the name shown on the Primary Identification document which you plan to provide as proof of identity (ex. Birth Certificate, Passport, etc.), then you must be prepared to present additional supporting documents (ex. Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Adoption Decree, etc.).
- Customers who hold a valid GA Driver’s License or ID Card are to present the original or certified copy document which supports the most recent name change.
- Customers who are new to Georgia must provide the complete trail of original or certified copy documents which support ALL name changes.
To assist with collecting your documents, DDS has created a Checklist Wizard that will allow you to print a custom Checklist or the full list of acceptable documents. Please follow the links on the DDS website (dds.georgia.gov) to create the Checklist of your choice.
Different Types of Vehicles
When looking at different types of motorcycles or motor-driven cycles, you will see the term “cc” along with a number: 250cc, 500cc, 750cc. The “cc” is an abbreviation for cubic centimeter, the volume of fuel mixed with air that powers motorcycles. Road-legal motorcycles, scooters, and even mopeds can have engines ranging from 50cc to more than 2,000cc. A motorcycle with a higher cc will weigh more and therefore have more power and be able to move more weight at faster speeds.
Every motor vehicle having a saddle for the use of the rider, is controlled by handlebars, and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor and moped (with engine size not exceeding 50cc), is defined as a motorcycle. Georgia law places all types of motorcycles (including scooters, motorbikes and mini-bikes with engine size 51cc or greater) into one classification. All are considered motor-driven cycles. A Class M License or a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) is required to legally operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle in Georgia.
A moped is defined as any motor driven cycle with an engine not exceeding 50cc (3.05 cubic inches). Mopeds are exempt from the provisions relating to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles.
Rules to operate mopeds on Georgia roads and highways:
- Must be at least 15 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license, instructional permit or limited permit.
- Must wear protective headgear (U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant motorcycle helmet).
- No tag is required.
- Must obey the same traffic laws governing drivers of motor vehicles.
- May not use limited access highways or other roadways where the minimum speed limit is above 35 mph.
1.2 – Required Motorcycle License Tests
Safe riding requires Knowledge and skill. Licensing tests are the best measurement of the basic skills necessary to operate safely in traffic. Assessing your own skills is not enough. People often over-estimate their own abilities. It’s even harder for friends and relatives to be totally honest about your skills. Licensing exams are designed to be scored more objectively.
There are two ways to earn a motorcycle license. You can take a Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Course where you will receive professional training in motorcycle handling (motorcycles are provided) as well as earn a License Test Waiver (if you successfully complete the course).
The License Test Waiver will allow you to bypass the Knowledge test and the on-cycle skills test at a DDS Customer Service Center. See the section on the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program in this manual.
The other method is to apply directly at a DDS Customer Service Center. To earn your license, you must pass a Knowledge test and an on-cycle skills test (on your own motorcycle). You must also pass a vision test. If the vision test was administered and passed during the year in conjunction with another license issuance, this vision test may be waived.
Knowledge Test – you will need to take and successfully pass the Knowledge test. Knowledge test questions are based on information, practices and ideas from this manual. They require that you know and understand road rules and safe riding practices. NOTE: This requirement is waived for applicants who have successfully completed a Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program License Test Waiver rider education course.
Rider Skills Test – you will need to take and successfully pass an on-cycle skills test, which consists of a series of exercises designed to demonstrate your basic skills in operating a motorcycle. NOTE: This requirement is waived for applicants who have successfully completed a Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program 90-Day License Test Waiver rider education course.
You must furnish a motorcycle for the test and pass a safety inspection of the motorcycle by the DDS license examiner before the on-cycle skills test is given.
Basic vehicle control and crash-avoidance skills are included to determine your ability to handle normal and hazardous traffic situations.
The on-cycle skills test is designed for single-track vehicles (motorcycles) and multi-track vehicles (motorcycles with sidecars, and three-wheeled vehicles). Motorcycles with sidecars and three-wheeled vehicles maneuver differently than a two-wheeled single-track motorcycle. Vehicles outside of test standards may be required to use a car test route. Please be mindful on-cycle testing cannot be completed in an autocycle (i.e. three-wheel car-like vehicles).
1.3 – The Rider Skills Test
Safe motorcycle riding depends largely on your Knowledge and skills. The skills for motorcycling require a lot of practice. If you have just learned to handle a motorcycle and have very little riding experience, then the most important part of learning to ride is still ahead.
You may wish to take a Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program rider education course that offers a License Test Waiver. For more information about locations and schedules, visit dds.georgia.gov.
The Rider Skills Test (RST) is used for both two-wheeled (RST-2W) and three-wheeled vehicles (RST-3W). The following pages highlight the testing patterns for both the two-wheel and three-wheel test.
Both tests consist of four riding evaluations that measure your control of the motorcycle and your hazard-response skills. The final two exercises involve speeds of about 15-20 miles per hour.
You will be scored on time/distance standards as well as path violations. The test may be ended early for point accumulation, committing an unsafe act, or failure to understand or follow instructions.
When you report for your test:
- You must have a DOT compliant helmet, eye protection and closed toe footwear.
- For safety, it is suggested that you wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves.
- You must furnish a street-legal motor-driven cycle for the test and pass a safety inspection of the motorcycle by the DDS license examiner before the riding test is given.
Please note: You have the right to cancel the test at any time. Inform the DDS license examiner that you do not wish to continue the test. The examiner will explain the conditions for rescheduling the test.
The DDS license examiner also has the right to stop the test if you (a) fail to demonstrate basic control skills, (b) accumulate more than the maximum number of penalty points allowed, (c) commit any unsafe act (d) fail to understand or follow directions, or (e) fall from or drop the motorcycle.
Finally, all testing may be suspended due to inclement weather, equipment failure or other circumstances beyond the control of you or the examiner.
Motorcycle Safety Courses
All riders are also encouraged to attend a rider education course which provides Knowledge and hands-on-training before receiving a motorcycle operator’s license.
You may earn a License Test Waiver for your Class M Motorcycle License in the Basic Riders Course and Basic Riders Course 2. A 90-day license test waiver is furnished to successful graduates.
Check out the rider education courses at The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program at http://dds.georgia.gov/motorcycle-safety-program.