What Are the Requirements for a Motorcycle License in Ohio?

by NPHM | June 22nd, 2020

From the thrill of experiencing the open road on two wheels, to zipping around town on a highly fuel-efficient and easily parked vehicle, there are many perks to riding a motorcycle. The biggest drawback, of course, is the risks that riders face every time they ride. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in accidents than people in cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Because of those risks, and because of the complexities and steep learning curve of riding a motorcycle, all riders in Ohio must be properly licensed to ride on public roads, highways, and interstates. Having a standard driver’s license isn’t enough—riders must obtain specific motorcycle licenses or endorsements to legally operate a motorized two-wheel vehicle.

Want a Motorcycle License? Complete These Steps First.

Riding a motorcycle safely means being a master of defensive and anticipatory driving. It also requires being knowledgeable about the limitations of motorcycles, as well as their differences compared to other passenger vehicles. People who obtain motorcycle licenses and endorsements are tested on these differences to prove their competence before they’re allowed to go for a spin on their own.

If you’re interested in obtaining a motorcycle license in Ohio, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Determine whether you’ll ride a motorcycle or a “trike”—Ohio has separate licenses for two-wheeled motorcycles and scooters and three-wheeled motorcycles and scooters. If you obtain a license for a two-wheeled vehicle, you can also use it to ride a three-wheeled vehicle. But if your license is for a three-wheeled vehicle, you can’t use it to ride a two-wheeled vehicle.
  • Obtain a Motor Scooter Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC)—If you’re at least 15.5 years old, you can apply for a TIPIC. To obtain this permit, you must pass a knowledge test covering basics of riding a motorcycle or scooter. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles recommends studying the Ohio Motorcycle Operator’s Manual and section four of the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws. When taking the test, you must also pass a vision screening. If you pass both tests, you can purchase a TIPIC within 60 days at your local license agency. Applicants under age 18 must receive written permission from parents. TIPICs are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  • Learn the ropes using your TIPIC—As with learning to drive a car, learning to ride a motorcycle safely requires experience and knowledge. The best way to gain both is hands-on time on your bike. However, because novice riders are a greater risk to themselves and others than experienced riders, they face certain restrictions. If you have a valid TIPIC, you must abide by the following rules:
    • Ride during daylight hours only.
    • No passengers are allowed on your bike or scooter.
    • Riding on interstates and congested roads is prohibited.
    • Helmets and protective gear are required at all times.
  • Pass a skills test—The final step towards getting a motorcycle license or endorsement is passing the official skills test. Riders 18 and older must present a valid TIPIC at the time of testing and wear a helmet and protective eyewear during their skills test. They also must ride street-legal motorcycles that are in safe working condition.Riders under age 18 must complete additional requirements in addition to the skills test, which include:
    • Complete any probationary driver’s license requirements
    • Hold a valid TIPIC for at least six months before applying for a skills test
    • Complete at least 24 hours of classroom or online instruction and eight hours of driving time at an approved driving school
    • Log at least 50 hours of riding time
    • Complete a motorcycle safety course

Note that riders of any age with valid TIPICs who complete a Motorcycle Ohio course within 60 days of applying for their motorcycle license of endorsement are exempt from taking the skills test.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) offers a Basic Rider Skills (BRS) course for new riders, which when completed, can take the place of the official skills test. Ohio encourages all riders to take this 16-hour course, and it requires only a valid TIPIC or motorcycle endorsement on your license. No experience is necessary, and a motorcycle is provided for all participants to use while taking the course. However, you must bring your own helmet due to the risks of COVID-19 during the 2020 training session.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we strongly believe in the importance of motorcycle safety. Part of that requires building a strong skillset and knowledge foundation for new riders. Our very own Firm Administrator, Frank Strack, isn’t just a passionate motorcyclist himself—he’s also an instructor for the BRS course. In addition to ensuring our attorneys are equipped to help injured motorcyclists, he also devotes his free time to helping prevent motorcycle accidents on Ohio’s roadways via instruction and education.

How to Schedule a Riding Skills Test

You can’t simply show up to your local BMV and take a motorcycle riding skills test. The exam must be scheduled in advance. You can do so in three different ways:

  • Scheduling the test online using the Ohio BMV website.
  • Contacting your local Ohio driver exam station. A list of these locations can be found on the Ohio BMV website.
  • Calling the Ohio BMV at (614) 752-7600.

Test are conducted at driver exam stations throughout Ohio, while licenses are issued to applicants who pass their tests at deputy registrar license agencies throughout the state.

From the Day You Get Your License, We’ve Got Your Back

Obtaining a motorcycle license is an exciting accomplishment. After you earn your license, it’s up to you to continue to put into practice all the safety lessons and defensive driving maneuvers you learned while studying and practicing. But even the safest riders face risks when drivers don’t look out for them or give them the space and respect, they deserve on highways and interstates.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help after crashes and injuries. We know that insurance companies are often reluctant to give riders like you the money they deserve, and their bias can even result in dismissed injury claims. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 216-621-2300.