How to Get a Motorcycle License

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Wondering what it takes to become the proud owner of a new motorcycle in Wisconsin? It’s as simple as earning your Wisconsin motorcycle permit, which you will then use to apply for your Class M motorcycle license. In the guide below from Appleton Harley-Davidson, we’ll go over how to get a motorcycle license step-by-step, and tell you what you need to know about taking a Wisconsin motorcycle license class to prepare for your skill test.


Do You Need a Motorcycle License?

If you own a motorcycle, you need a motorcycle license to operate it legally. This is a license obtained specifically for your motorcycle, so you can’t use a driver’s license to ride a motorcycle. What type of motor vehicle requires a motorcycle driver’s license? In Wisconsin, your vehicle is considered a motorcycle if it:

  • Was originally manufactured with motive power.
  • Has a seat or saddle requiring the rider to sit astride.
  • Has no more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
  • Has steering controlled by handlebars.
  • Has acceleration and braking controls via handlebars and foot pedals.
  • Is capable of speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour.

What Are the Motorcycle License Requirements?

​A Class M motorcycle license or motorcycle inst​ruction permit is required to operate a motorcycle. You may also apply for a Wisconsin motorcycle license if you hold a valid license from another state. To obtain a Wisconsin motorcycle permit, you must:

  • Pass the motorcycle knowledge test.
  • Pass the signs test.
  • Pass a vision screening.

During the 6-month period that you hold the motorcycle instruction permit, you must:

  • Wear eye protection.
  • Wear an approved helmet.
  • Be accompanied when riding after dark by a person at least 25 years old with two years licensed driving experience and a Class M motorcycle license.

Motorcycle License Skill Test & Requirements

A Wisconsin motorcycle permit is valid for a period of 6 months, and can be renewed for another six months if it expires before you complete the motorcycle license skill test. If the permit is renewed twice, you will be required to present proof of enrollment in an approved Basic Motorcycle RiderCours​e (BRC) or the 3-Wheel Basic RiderCourse before your motorcycle license can be renewed.

Three types of motorcycle skills test waiver courses are available to Oshkosh riders:

  • Basic Motorcycle RiderCourse (BRC)​
  • 3-Wheel Basic RiderCourse (3WBRC)
  • Basic RiderCourse 2

Wondering where to find an approved Wisconsin motorcycle license class near Neenah? Start with us! You can earn a Class M motorcycle license after successful completion of the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course, which includes a riding skills test (“Road Test”).


Do You Need a Motorcycle License to Drive a Scooter?

Low-power scooters such as mopeds are not categorized as motorcycles, and thus do not require a motorcycle license to operate. However, you will need to hold a driver’s license to legally drive one of these motor vehicles in Wisconsin.


Learn More from Our Team at Appleton Harley-Davidson

Questions about how to get your motorcycle license or enrolling in a Wisconsin motorcycle license class at Appleton Harley-Davidson? We’re here to help. Contact our team today, or stop by our dealership in Appleton — just a short ride from Green Bay — to learn more about skill requirements and obtaining a Class M motorcycle license. While you’re here, be sure to check out our extensive inventory of pre-owned and new Harley-Davidson bikes!


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