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Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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March law of the month

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Motorcycle riders are required to have a motorcycle license

Many motorcyclists are eagerly anticipating the start of the riding season this spring. As they prepare their motorcycles and equipment, riders also need to get trained and get licensed.

A regular Class D driver license for operating automobiles and light trucks is not sufficient for motorcycle operation.  Motorcycle riders must also have a Class M motorcycle license. Riders who do not have a valid motorcycle license may receive a citation costing $200 per violation.

About 35 percent of motorcyclists’ fatalities from 2003 to 2013 involved riders who had not completed the safety training or skills test required to obtain a motorcycle license.

“Too many people continue to ride without a motorcycle license,” says State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald. “It’s a serious problem especially for those who have not ridden a motorcycle for several years and are beginning to ride again. Riding a motorcycle requires more physical skill and mental concentration than driving a car, so riders need to get trained and get licensed for their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

Obtaining a motorcycle license is not complicated. Motorcyclists must pass a written test and a road test at a DMV service center. Motorcyclists who successfully complete one of the following Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program courses do not have to take the road test at the DMV to get their license.

  • (BRC) Basic Rider Course for Motorcycles
  • (SBRC) Basic Rider Course for Scooters
  • (3WBRC) Basic Rider Course for Three-Wheel Motorcycles (trikes)
  • (BRC2) Basic Rider Course 2 (for intermediate or advanced level riders)
  • (ARC) Advanced Rider Course (for experienced and seasoned riders in mid-2015)


More information about rider training courses is available online at:

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Steve L. Olson,
Last modified: March 2, 2015

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