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Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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July law of the month

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Motorcycle riders are required to have a motorcycle license

As motorcycles continue to grow in popularity among men and women of all ages, there also is a growing need to prevent motorcycle crashes. Last year, 83 motorcyclists died in Wisconsin traffic crashes and nearly 2,000 were injured.

To help prevent deaths and injuries, the Wisconsin State Patrol urges riders to get trained and get licensed. About 35 percent of motorcyclists’ fatalities from 2003 to 2012 involved riders who had not completed the safety training or skills test required to obtain a motorcycle license.

A regular Class D driver’s 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.

“Too many people continue to ride without a motorcycle license,” says Wisconsin 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.

  • Basic Rider Course for Motorcycles
  • Basic Rider Course for Scooters
  • Basic Rider Course for Three-Wheel Motorcycles (trikes)
  • Basic Rider Course 2 (for intermediate or advanced level riders)

More information about rider training courses is available online at:

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Steve L. Olson,
Last modified: July 1, 2014

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