New York State Motorcycle Laws and Licensing
According to the NYS DMV Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 501
To drive a motorcycle in NYS, you must have a Class M or MJ Operator's License or Learner's Permit. To get a learner's permit, you must pass a written exam at a DMV testing center. When a learner is practicing, he/she must be supervised by a driver with a valid motorcycle license. The supervising driver must be within sight and no more than one-quarter mile from the learner at all times. A minimum of 30 hours of practice is recommended.
On the day of the test, you must be accompanied by a driver at least 18 years old who is licensed to drive the motorcycle as well as a car or truck to be used to transport the license examiner.
If you have a valid driver's license and a motorcycle operator's permit, you may receive a waiver of the road test by completing an educational training course given by an instructor certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Note: If you take your road test on a three-wheeled motorcycle, then your license will be limited to three-wheeled motorcycles.
Laws for riding on NYS roadways:
- Motorcycle helmet use is required for all riders. Motorcycle helmets must meet US DOT federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS 218).
- Eye protection is required for all riders. Eyewear must, at a minimum, conform to standards established by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI – Z87.1).
- Daytime headlight use is required. Headlight modulators are permitted.
- A passenger seat and footrest are required if carrying a passenger.
- Motorcycle helmet speakers may only have one earphone.
- Additional equipment required:
- Lights including headlight, taillight, stop lamp and license plate lamp
- At least one red rear reflector
- Brakes (on both wheels if manufactured after 1971)
- Directional signals (if manufactured after 1985)
- Turn signals (if manufactured after 1985)
- A horn or other warning device
- At least one rearview mirror, although one on each handlebar is recommended
- A muffler is required; "cutouts' or mufflers with removable baffles are not allowed
- Handlebars or grips must be less than 15 inches above than the driver's seat
- Only two motorcycles may operate side by side in a single lane.