What you need to know to get a motorcycle endorsement in New York State

So you decided to geat your Motorcycle license. Great! Here you'll read exactly what to expect from the whole process. In order to drive any motorcycle legally on New York State roads you have to have a Class M endorsement on your driver's license. The only exception is mopeds under 50cc's which do not require a license, registration, or insurance.  The class M endorsement can be done at the same time as you do your class D license if you are getting that for the first time. 


What do you need to do?

There are 2 steps to getting your motorcycle license: 

1. Pass the written test to obtain your Class M learner's permit

2. Pass the Skills (riding) test to obtain your new class DM license.


Passing the written test


There are 25 questions on the written test and you need to get 4 or less wrong. If you are doing both the Class D and Class M permits together then you will need to study the content of both the DMV's Driver and Motorcycle Manuals. If you already have the Class D license then you will only be responsible for the content of the Motorcycle manual. However, you'll still have to answer questions about roadsighns which will definitely appear on the test.  


Here is a sample DMV road test that is very indicative of the kinds of questions that you'll see.

Motorcycle Permit Written Sample Exams

Motorcycle Permit Written Sample Exam
Motorcycle Permit Written Sample Exam(55322)
Motorcycle Permit Written Sample Exam(55323)
Motorcycle Permit Written Sample Exam(55324)

You have to bring your current license to the DMV to take the written test. They will also take your picture if it's old and doesn't look like you anymore. It's a good idea to call the DMV ahead of time to make sure that your chosen location administers the motorcycle permit written exam.

You will need to fill out form MV-44 and give it to the DMV. The paperwork to get your permit will cost about $25. It will take two weeks in the mail.

Download form MV-44 from the DMV here:


Time for the Skills Test

Once youve passed the written test at the DMV you'll get your permit in the mail in about 2 weeks. At this point, you have 2 options:


Schedule your road test

You can schedule the road test at the DMV website. You will need to bring a car, your bike, and another driver WITH a Class M endorsement on their license to the site. Here is the link to where you can sign up for the road test:



Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course

You complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Class to obtain a waiver on the road test. This is really the better route as you will get a much better backround in riding safety and you will learn under the close instruction of professionals. This course is valuable for both experienced and inexperienced alike. The downside is the cost which comes in at $350 and 15 hours of your time. The course can be taken over 3 days or 2 and is scheduled to provide 5 hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours on the range learning practical skills. The motorcycles and equipment are provided and included in the price. Once you finish the course you are given a waiver to take to the DMV and they will issue you a Class DM license (takes about 2 weeks in the mail). You also get a discount on your insurance when you provide proof to them that you passed the course.


The process really seems more complicated and involved then it is. With a reasonably small time commitment you can get on the road in no time at all.


Good luck and Happy Riding!