It is possible and permissible to buy a motorcycle without a motorcycle license. It is not mandated that motorcycle dealerships and private sellers require prospective buyers to show a valid motorcycle license or motorcycle permit before purchase, and most of them don’t.
There is a good reason for this lack of regulation. A good many people buy motorcycles as gifts for people who ride. The motorcycle industry would take a serious hit if licensed motorcyclists were the only ones allowed to buy their machines.
If you want to buy a motorcycle for yourself, you will need to have a license before you operate it. If you have a motorcycle learner license, it will come with certain conditions and restrictions and will last for a limited amount of time.
Eventually, you will have to take and pass the tests for a valid license and pass them if you want to ride.
Buying a Motorcycle Without a Motorcycle License
The operation of motorcycles is one of the most heavily regulated areas of traffic law. However, the purchasing of such vehicles is rather relaxed. If you purchase your motorcycle at a dealership, they will ask you for photo identification.
This can be a regular driver’s license, a passport, or a government-issued ID. This is done to verify the buyer who will become the owner. Motorcycle dealerships and private sellers are under no legal obligation to confirm whether you intend to operate the motorcycle yourself and have a license to do so.
If, however, you do operate a motorcycle without a license, you will be in breach of the law, and this can lead to a hefty fine. Having a regular motor vehicle driver’s license does not permit you to operate a motorcycle. To ride a motorcycle, you must obtain a motorcycle license.
How to Get a Motorcycle License
Safety is everything in the world of motorcycling. Serious and responsible riders know this. If you have friends or family members who ride, they will advise you to take a motorcycle safety course. Riders who take safety classes are less likely to be in an accident, as 90% of motorcycle riders involved in a crash had no formal training.
A Basic Rider Course involves classroom and hands-on training. You will learn about the motorcycle laws in your state, rules of the road, proper riding gear, and motorcycle safety checks. In some states, going through a motorcycle safety course will exempt you from taking a road test and make you eligible for a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
Once you have taken the safety course, the process of obtaining a license is as follows:
1. Obtain a learner’s permit
As with getting a license to drive a motor vehicle, you will have to first obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit. You do so by passing a written test and eye exam at your local motor vehicle office. In most instances, you will need to get 70% of the questions right to pass the written exam. You can improve your chances of attaining this mark by taking an online practice test. Your permit will last from 6 to 18 months.
2. Take a road skills test
When your permit has expired, or you think you are ready for it, you will need to take a road skills test. You will need to use your own motorcycle to take this test. It must have a valid license plate, registration, and insurance.
3. Pay a fee
If you have passed all the necessary tests, all you need do is pay a fee, and you will receive your license. If you fail any of the above tests, it is possible to retake them after a set amount of time.
Buying a Motorcycle with a Loan
If you want to buy a motorcycle with a bank loan and you do not have a license, you should not have a problem getting the money (assuming there are no problems with your credit). Banks, like motorcycle dealers, do not require a motorcycle license to loan you money for the purchase of a bike.
However, you must be at least 18 years of age to receive such a loan, and the bank will require photo identification.
The bank will also require you to have motorcycle insurance before they lend you the money. From the bank’s point of view, the bike is an asset, and they want to protect it. The same goes if you intend to get financing through the dealership.
They will not insist on a license, but they will want to see proof that you have purchased motorcycle insurance from a reputable insurance company.
How to Buy a Motorcycle Without a License
You will need to develop a plan if you want to do this the right way. If you are buying your bike from a dealership, you should talk to them about their delivery services. Most dealerships have them and will deliver the motorcycle to your home for a fee.
It is also possible to trailer the motorcycle back to your house. This can be done with a tow dolly, a motorcycle carrier, or a traditional trailer.
If you have a friend who already has a motorcycle license, you can ask them for help. Although all motorcycles function according to certain principles, you should make sure that your friend is comfortable with riding the bike you have purchased and is familiar with how to operate it.
You should also contact the company that has insured the motorcycle to let them know you have it and are taking it home. Remember that it is the motorcycle that is insured, not you. If there is an accident or there are any mishaps that damage the bike on the way from the dealership to your house, you want to make sure that it is covered.
Is It Best to Get a License Before Buying a Motorcycle?
Assuming that you are not buying the motorcycle for someone else, it is better to obtain a motorcycle license before buying a motorcycle. The obvious question that springs to mind are: how am I supposed to learn how to ride a motorcycle and take my tests if I don’t have a bike of my own?
This is a perfectly reasonable question. There are two options. Either you can purchase a really cheap motorcycle that you can practice on and use for your various driver tests, or you can use the motorcycle of a close friend or relative—under their close supervision, of course.
In either case, you should get to know and take advice, tips, and instruction from an experienced rider. If you have no friends or family members who ride, you can still meet motorcyclists when you take the Basic Rider Course.
The point here is that buying an expensive motorcycle to learn the basics of riding is a risky move. It is better to wait until you have learned how to operate a bike safely and proficiently.
There is also another practical aspect to buying a motorcycle after you have obtained a license. As mentioned above, you will need to have the bike insured if you want a loan to purchase it.
The terms and overall cost of your insurance will be much less if you have a motorcycle license and have gone through a certified basic rider course.