Getting Your Motorcycle License in North Carolina

Whether you are a long-time motorcycle rider or you are considering getting your motorcycle license, it is important to understand North Carolina motorcycle laws. To operate a motorcycle in North Carolina, you must have a motorcycle learner permit or a motorcycle endorsement on your regular, professional, or commercial driver's license. If you are looking to begin riding a motorcycle, you will need to obtain your motorcycle license. In North Carolina, there is not a separate motorcycle license from your regular driver's license.

Instead, you will need to get a motorcycle endorsement. Many people are surprised to learn that a riding section is required when obtaining your North Carolina motorcycle endorsement. We will discuss the requirements of getting a motorcycle endorsement to know what to expect before you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your city.

Who Can Apply for a Motorcycle Learner Permit or Motorcycle Endorsement?

You must possess a driver's license to obtain a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle learner's permit. You will be able to obtain one of these if you possess one or more of the:

  • A full provisional (level 3) license
  • A regular license
  • Or a commercial driver’s license
What Steps are Involved in Getting a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit?

The steps to apply for a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle learner's permit are somewhat the same as applying for a driver's license. However, you will need to undergo additional requirements, fees, and tests. For example, if you are between 16 and 18 and would like to apply for a motorcycle learner's permit, you will not need to possess a full provisional driver's license issued by the DMV. 

Additionally, those between 16 and 18 need to have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course offered by the North Carolina Motorcycle Safety Education Program or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. You will also need a parent or guardian's signature. If you are 18 or older, you will need to possess a license that the DMV has issued. Motorcycle learning permits are issued for 12 months and can only be renewed one time for a period of six months.

What Steps are Involved in Getting a Motorcycle Endorsement?

If you are applying for a motorcycle endorsement, you still need to possess a full provisional license, whether regular or commercial. You will also need to pass a motorcycle knowledge test, vision tests, and road sign identification. You will need to pass an off-street motorcycle skills test. As weather permits, these motorcycle road tests are by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Your endorsement will be issued for a period of five to eight years, depending on your age. It is 18 through 53 will receive an endorsement for eight years. Ages 54 and older will be issued a permit for five years. The cost of your license in any endorsements, including motorcycle endorsements, will be computed based on the yearly charge.

Motorcycle License Fees

To obtain a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle learner's permit, you must pay the fees. The fee for a learner permit for a motorcycle is $21.50. If you obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license, you will need to pay a fee of $2.55 per year. Payment of this fee is required for operating a motorcycle on public roadways.


You do not need a driver's license to operate a moped in North Carolina. However, moped operators need to be at least 16 years old to operate on North Carolina highways or public areas. If you are operating in a private area, you do not need to be 16 years old. Additionally, under North Carolina law, moped operators need to wear a motorcycle safety helmet when using a moped. You will also need to register your moped and motorcycle. The registration fee for a motorcycle is currently $25.50.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle License Attorney Today

Motorcycles are fun and allow riders to enjoy a sense of freedom and enjoy the beauty around them. However, motorcycle accidents caused by writers who have not received enough training or are acting negligently can be devastating. If a motorcycle accident has seriously injured you or your loved one, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced motorcycle attorney.

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