Motorcycle licensing requirements vary considerably from state to state. At Karney Law Firm, a motorcycle accident lawyer, we understand that it can be rather confusing for new bikers or bikers who just moved to the area to recognize the license requirements in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Below is an outline of the requirements for both states, so you know what you need and don’t waste your time standing in line at the license bureau without the proper documentation.
North Carolina Motorcycle License Requirements
If you have a valid NC driver’s license, you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. You don’t need a separate license and riders between age 16 and 18 need their parent’s signature to apply.
No matter what your age, you’ll need to pass both a written motorcycle knowledge test and a motorcycle driving skills test on your bike in addition to the vision and signs test you take for any driver's license. If you’re not prepared to take the driving skills test when you apply for the motorcycle endorsement, you can buy a learner’s permit, which will give you time to develop your motorcycle driving skills. The DMV offers a North Carolina Motorcyclist’s Handbook to download for free online.
The motorcycle endorsement fee is $2.30 per year and the learner’s permit is $20.00.
South Carolina Motorcycle License Requirements
In South Carolina, motorcycle riders need to obtain a separate license (Class M). The state also requires all riders under age 21 must wear a helmet and eye protection while driving a motorcycle; those 21 and and older are encouraged to do so. Applicants for a motorcycle license must be at least 15 years of age. If under age 18, they must successfully complete a driver’s training course before applying for a license. Applicant’s under age 18 must also have a parent’s signature when applying.
If you have not previously held a driver's license and have driving experience, you must first have a motorcycle beginner's permit in order to get a motorcycle (Class M) driver's license. When you apply for a beginner’s permit, you must pass the vision and knowledge tests, and you must bring documents such as your original birth certificate, social security card, and two proofs of your current, physical address. The SCDMV will also accept a Motorcycle Safety Foundation skills test certificate if you were tested by an SCDMV approved and contracted third party tester within 30 days of application
Riders age 18 and older who already have a valid driver’s license in a different class may attempt to pass the knowledge test and skills test in the same day if you don’t want to get a permit first. Bring the following documentation to the license bureau to obtain a motorcycle license: certified birth certificate (the original or a copy with the raised seal), Social Security card, proof of residency and proof of insurance.
If you have a three-wheel motorcycle (commonly referred to as a trike), you are not required to have a motorcycle (Class M) driver's license. You may drive a trike with any license except a moped license.
South Carolina motorcycle license fee is $25.00. A beginner's permit is $2.50.
Licensing can keep you legal, but not always safe on your bike. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, call Bob Karney, a motorcycle accident lawyer at 877-376-7982 or by filling out the contact form. You don’t want to rely on the other party’s insurance company to tell you what’s right; you need someone to fight for your interests. Karney Law Firm knows how to handle motorcycle injury cases; representing bikers since 1975.