Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in Ocala, FL
Operating a motorcycle is difficult. Motorcycles are inherently unstable. As you ride, you must keep your balance as you maneuver, or you will tip over.
Motorcycles also have a higher power-to-weight ratio than most passenger cars. This means that you must use your balance and strength to control the power of your motorcycle rather than relying on its weight. Novice riders can easily let the motorcycle overpower them.
For these reasons, Florida licenses motorcycle operators separately from vehicle drivers. Here is some information about motorcycle licensing requirements in Ocala, FL.
Motorcycle Safety in Florida
Florida has one of the worst records for motorcycle accidents in the U.S. In 2019, Florida had the seventh-highest rate of motorcycle fatalities at ten fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles. This means that one out of every thousand motorcyclists in Florida died in a motorcycle accident in 2019.
Riding a motorcycle comes with inherent risks. According to the auto insurance industry, motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than automobile drivers.
Florida has an inconsistent approach to motorcycle safety. The state does not require motorcycle riders or passengers over 21 with health insurance to wear a helmet. Research indicates that this one law increased the number of motorcyclist fatalities by over 20%.
But Florida also has fairly rigorous motorcycle licensing requirements. Florida uses these licensing requirements to ensure that motorcyclists demonstrate they have the knowledge and skill to ride a motorcycle before they receive a motorcycle license.
Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in Ocala, FL
Applicants for motorcycle licenses in Florida fall into three categories. These include:
Applicants with a Florida Driver’s License
You must take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or an equivalent beginning motorcycle safety class. In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) must approve course providers.
This class covers thirteen topics and includes a skills test. The topics cover safe riding and maneuvering skills such as:
- Motorcycle parts and controls
- Use of the clutch to control the motorcycle
- Starting and stopping safely
- Shifting gears
- Maneuvering at low speeds
- Navigating curves
- Emergency stops and tight turns
- Estimating stopping distance
- Maneuvering in limited spaces
- Stopping while turning
- Judging curves
- Negotiating curves and changing lanes
- Crossing over road obstacles and swerving safely
After you pass the BRC, you have one year to apply for a motorcycle endorsement to your driver’s license. You must apply in person at your local DHSMV office and meet the following requirements:
- Be over the age of 16
- Have a valid Florida Class E driver’s license
- Pay the motorcycle endorsement fee
You passed a written test and a road test when you got your Florida Class E driver’s license. You do not need to retake the written or road test to get your motorcycle endorsement because the BRC tests include your motorcycle knowledge and skills.
If you meet all of the requirements, you can leave the DHSMV office with a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
Applicants Without a Driver’s License
If you do not currently have a driver’s license, you can still get a motorcycle-only driver’s license. You must meet one of two age requirements:
- Be between the ages 16 and 18 with a valid learner’s permit for at least one year
- Be over the age of 18
You must take and pass the BRC or its equivalent. Next, you must apply in person at your local DHSMV.
You would not have taken the knowledge test since you do not have a Class E driver’s license. For this reason, you must take and pass Florida’s knowledge test to get your motorcycle-only license.
The DHSMV will issue your motorcycle-only license upon:
- Presenting valid identification
- Passing the BRC
- Passing the written test
- Passing a vision test
- Paying the endorsement fee
Your license will state on its face that it only applies to motorcycles. If you get stopped by a law enforcement officer while driving a car, the officer can issue a citation for driving without a license.
Applicants with an Out-of-State Motorcycle License
If you moved to Florida after obtaining a motorcycle endorsement in your prior state of residence, Florida will honor your motorcycle endorsement with one exception.
Alabama does not require applicants to take the BRC or its equivalent to get a motorcycle license. As a result, people with an Alabama motorcycle endorsement will need to prove they took and passed the BRC before applying for a Florida motorcycle endorsement.
For the other states, Florida waives the requirement to take the BRC. With this requirement waived, you will receive a motorcycle endorsement when you apply to transfer your out-of-state license if you:
- Have a valid out-of-state driver’s license and a valid motorcycle endorsement
- Pay the endorsement fee
- Pass a vision test
- Present identification
- Present proof of Social Security number
- Present proof of address
Suppose you have a valid motorcycle endorsement from any state except Alabama. In that case, you do not need to retake the BRC, pass the written test, or pass the road test to obtain a Florida driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.
Using Your Motorcycle Endorsement
After you receive your motorcycle endorsement, you can legally operate a motorcycle in the state of Florida.
The state defines a motorcycle as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with an engine larger than 50 cubic centimeters (cc). Motor scooters with engines over 50 cc qualify as motorcycles and require a motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle-only license.
Motor scooters with engines smaller than 50 cc and mopeds qualify as vehicles but not motorcycles. To drive these vehicles, you must be over the age of 16 and hold a valid driver’s license. However, you do not need to have a motorcycle endorsement.
The definitions of both motorcycle and vehicle exclude motorized scooters (scooters you stand on) and eBikes. You can operate these vehicles without a driver’s license or a motorcycle endorsement. However, local ordinances might limit when and where you can use these devices.
Despite the care that Florida takes to ensure motorcycle riders have the skills and knowledge to ride safely, motorcycle accidents still happen.
You can minimize your risk of getting seriously injured in a motorcycle accident by wearing a helmet, watching your speed, and riding sober.If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, the consequences could be serious. To discuss your injuries after a motorcycle accident, contact Allen Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation. We’ll explore your case’s facts and help you determine whether to pursue legal action.