Motorcycle Licenses in PA & How to Obtain Them

Driving a motorcycle in Pennsylvania requires a current and valid Class M motorcycle license. The process for obtaining this type of license involves three separate steps and proof of the required knowledge and skills for safe riding.

Anyone considering pursuing a motorcycle license should be prepared to pass a written and skills test administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The following steps will lead you to successfully earning the Class M motorcycle license.

Obtain the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Operator’s Manual and Application for a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit (DL-5)

The manual includes the basic information you will need to demonstrate knowledge on the permit test. Be sure to study the information in the manual prior to attempting the take the test so you are prepared and successful in achieving a passing grade.

Apply for the Motorcycle Learner’s Permit

The cost of the permit application is $10 and must be accompanied by the DL-5 form. You will be given the knowledge test prior to the permit being issued. If you successfully pass the permit knowledge test, you will be given a Class M learner’s permit that will allow you to ride your motorcycle between sunrise and sunset, but while under the supervision of a licensed motorcyclist. Your permit will be valid for a period of one year.

Permit holders under the age of 18 are required to wait at least six months before taking the skills test to obtain a motorcycle license. These riders also must log at least 65 hours of supervised riding practice. The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Rider Course is required for riders under the age of 18 and counts as 15 hours toward the required riding practice time requirement. The program is free and is also available to older riders, but is not a requirement for those riders.

Some guidelines for riding during the permit period include the following.

  • riding after dark is prohibited.
  • riding with passengers that are not licensed instructors is also prohibited.
  • and, motorcycle helmets are required at all times while riding.


You are eligible to reapply for the motorcycle learner’s permit a maximum of three more times during the next five years. This option allows riders time to meet all riding practice requirements and complete the skills test.

Take Your Skills Test

If you are over the age of 18, you can opt to take the safety program to fulfill this requirement or you also have the option of scheduling a skills test at a Driver’s License Center that offers this type of test.

If you take the safety program, a skills test is given at the end of the program and you will not need to visit a Driver’s License Center for another test. Your permanent motorcycle license will be administered after successful proof of your riding skills.

The process detailed above is an important part of safe motorcycle riding. Gaining the knowledge and riding skills required to obtain a permanent Class M license ensures that you are well prepared to safely operate a motorcycle on public roads in Northeast Philadelphia or elsewhere in the state.

Your Legal Options if You’re in a Motorcycle Accident

Even a safe rider with a proper motorcycle license can be involved in a motorcycle accident. The consequences of these types of accidents can include serious injuries, large medical bills and lost wages or future earnings.

If you need help recovering damages in a motorcycle tort claim in the Northeast Philadelphia area, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC for help recovering damages. Call us today at 215-642-2335 or use our online contact form to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.