How To Get A Motorcycle License In Tennessee

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Riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling experience, but it is important to remember that it’s also a serious responsibility.

In the state of Tennessee, it is required by law to have a motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle on public roads. This is why your first step should be to obtain a motorcycle license.

This article is perfect if you want to learn how to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee. This is easier said than done.

For starters, you need to provide an array of documents to your DMV and begin training for a series of tests. This is on top of paying many fees and back and forth of going to the office.

Overall, the process is very simple, and once you finish reading this article, you should easily figure out the entire process. This is why you should stick around till the end.

Motorcycle License Requirements In Tennessee

What is needed to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee? Read my guide to find out

The requirement for providing a set of documents is essential for public safety.

The state can verify that the applicant meets the minimum requirements to operate a motorcycle safely by providing the necessary documents.

This is why you need to know the set of documents you must submit and the age category that you fit in.

Knowing Your Age

Age plays an important role when dealing with getting a motorcycle license.

First, you must ensure you are the correct age when applying for a license. You might not be old enough or too old for a specific license. Additionally, you need a different array of documents depending on your age.

Here are the age categories that you need to be aware of in the state of Tennessee.

Age 15 And Below

If you are under 16, you will not be eligible for a standard license. This means that you will have to provide this set of documents to get started with your version of a license:

  1. Valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  2. Proof of identity. Proof of residency in Tennessee.
  3. Social Security card or proof of Social Security number.
  4. Completion of a Basic Rider Course.
  5. School Documents/card.

Age 16 And Above

Once you reach the age of 16, you are liable for the standard license. Here are all of the documents you will need to provide in that regard:

  1. Valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  2. Proof of identity and residency proof in Tennessee.
  3. Completion of a Basic Rider Course.
  4. Social Security number.
  5. School Documents/card.
  6. Document of legal status.

Types Of Motorcycle Licenses

Tennessee offers various types of motorcycle licenses depending on the applicant’s age and the type of vehicle they wish to operate.

Here are all the types of motorcycle licenses that you need to be able to legally drive on public roads in Tennessee.

Type 1: Motorcycle Only License

Motorcycle Only License (Class M) permits individuals aged 16 or older to operate a motorcycle. The engine capacity should be 126 cc or more.

Type 2: Secondary Motorcycle License (Class M)

This license is added to a valid driver’s license and permits the individual to operate a motorcycle in addition to other vehicles. The holder must also be 16 years or older to obtain this license.

Type 3: Class M Limited/Motor Driven Cycle License

This license allows individuals aged 15 or above to drive a two or three-wheeled vehicle. The engine capacity of the vehicle should range between 51 & 125 cc.

Type 4: Class P M Or Motorcycle Learner Permit

This is a special permit allowing minors who are 15 years old to drive a motorcycle. The maximum cylinder size of the motorcycle should be 650 cc.

The permit is valid for one year and includes restrictions such as not carrying passengers and operating only during daylight hours.

The driver must stay within a 20-mile radius of their home. Once the driver turns 16, they can work towards a proper motorcycle license.

How To Apply For Your Tennessee Motorcycle License

You can begin your application process now that you have all the proper information.

In this section of the article, I will talk about all the steps you need to fulfill that allow you to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee.

Step 1: Get A Driver’s License

Before you can opt for a motorcycle license, having a driver’s license is a must. Here are all the requirements you need to satisfy once you opt for a driver’s license:

1. Be at least 16 years old.
2. Obtain a learner’s permit.
3. Hold the learner’s permit for 30 or 180 days, depending on age.
4. Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice
5. Complete a driver education course.
6. Pass a road skills test at the DMV.
7. Provide the necessary documentation.
8. Pay the appropriate fees.

Step 2: Testing For Your Motorcycle License

Now that you can present your driver’s license, you need to ensure that you pass the next few batches of tests to be eligible for your motorcycle license.

1. Vision Test

The vision screening test is performed using a standard eye chart. The applicant is required to read the smallest line of letters possible.

To pass, applicants must have at least 20/40 vision in one or both eyes. If the applicant fails, they can give additional tests in the future.

2. Motorcycle Written Test

The written test consists of a series of multiple-choice questions. These questions are mostly about motorcycle operation, safety, and traffic laws.

You need to score 80% on the test to pass. If you fail the test, you can retake it after at least one day. If you fail the test greatly, you must wait at least 30 days before retaking it.

3. Motorcycle Road Test

The road test tests your ability to operate a motorcycle safely and effectively. The test will usually occur on a public road or in a course.

During the test, you must demonstrate various motorcycle handling skills. These include turning, stopping& accelerating. You will also be evaluated on your ability to obey traffic laws.

Step 3: Collecting Your Paperwork

After completing all the tests, you will receive various paperwork. This can be on the spot or in the mail. Ensure that all information is correct. Keep your paperwork in a safe and secure place.

Step 4: Go To Your Local Driver’s License Office

Provide all the necessary paperwork and payment for the license fee at the driver’s office.

Here you can register yourself for the various tests mentioned above as well. Make sure to schedule an appointment ahead of time to avoid long queues.

Ways To Get A Motorcycle Endorsement In TN

While you may be able to utilize multiple ways to get a motorcycle license, you will have only one way to get an endorsement in Tennessee. To get a motorcycle endorsement, you must go to the DMV first.

  1. There, you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement.
  2. Fill out the necessary paperwork and documentation.
  3. You will then have to carry out a series of tests that you need to pass.
  4. Upon doing so, you should be eligible for your motorcycle endorsement, which you can get within 1 to 2 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How Long Will It Take To Get A Motorcycle License In Tennessee?

The time it takes you to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee depends on several factors.

If you quickly complete the required steps and schedule your tests, you should be able to get it within 2 to 3 weeks.

If you have to get your driver’s license first and opt for a course, it can easily take you more than a month.

Q2: How Much Will It Cost To Get A Motorcycle License In Tennessee?

Since you have 4 different licenses to choose from, it can be difficult to discuss them all and provide an exact number. The lowest total cost you will have to pay for a motorcycle in Tennessee will be around $5.

As you go up and do the tests, the maximum you will have to pay is $55. This does not include the cost of a basic course. On average, most people pay around $30 for the entire process.

Q3: Should I Have A License To Ride A Motorcycle In Tennessee?

Yes, having a motorcycle license in Tennessee before riding a motorcycle is important. Not having a license can have serious consequences.

A motorcycle license means you have demonstrated the necessary knowledge and skills to operate a motorcycle.

Not having a license means you have not been properly trained and tested on these skills. This can lead to accidents and damage to property.

You may also be interested in my article: Tennessee Motorcycle Helmet Laws


To conclude, it is essential to have a motorcycle license when operating a motorcycle in Tennessee.

Not only is it required by law, but it also ensures the safety of the rider and other road users.

By obtaining a license, riders demonstrate their understanding of traffic laws, safety regulations, and basic riding skills.

This is what allows them to drive on public roads in the state. Therefore, brushing up on how to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee is highly recommended.

This way, you can work towards your license as quickly as possible without issues.

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