Motorcycle Permit / License

Motorcycle Instruction Permit

Old Kentucky Motorcycle Permit
New Kentucky Motorcycle Permit

Motorcycle License
Kentucky does not issue separate cards for Driver License and Motorcycle Licenses, instead those people who are qualified by Kentucky to operate a Motorcycle in Kentucky will have a "M" endorsement on their license. The "M" will not replace the "D" but will be added along side of the "D".

Old Kentucky License
New Kentucky License

*** The following is taken from the Kentucky Drivers Manual. ***

Operator / Passenger Requirements

    The driver / operator must have:
  • A valid motor vehicle operator’s license with a valid motorcycle operator’s endorsement thereon, a motorcycle license, or an instruction permit to operate a motorcycle, before operating a motorcycle upon any public roadway in Kentucky.
  • A motorcycle operator authorized to drive a motorcycle on an instruction permit shall not be authorized to carry passengers.
  • The operator must use an approved eye-protection device, in the manner prescribed by the Transportation Cabinet, and both operator and passenger must wear approved protective headgear anytime the vehicle is in motion.
  • A person may operate without a helmet if he is over 21 and has held a motorcycle license for one year or more. Passengers must be 21 or over to ride without a helmet. Persons under 21, or those who have held their licenses for less than one year, must still wear protective headgear.

Vehicle Requirements

  • It is unlawful to operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle which does not have a seat or footrest permanently attached, both being specifically designed to carry passengers in a safe manner.
  • Equipment Required: Rear view mirror, one headlight (high and low beam), taillight, horn, muffler, tailpipe, brake light, front and rear brakes, proof of liability insurance, good tires, and registration. Turn signals are now required, if they were part of the factory equipment for that model.

Hazards to Motorcyclists
Children and animals may dart in the path of motorcycles. Be especially careful in school and residential areas.

Usually it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. Turning to take tracks head-on (at a 90 angle) can be more dangerous - your path may carry you into another lane of traffic. For track and road seams that run parallel to your course, move far enough away from tracks, ruts, or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45. Then, make a deliberate turn. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance.


The cause of most motorcycle/motor-vehicle collisions is due to the cyclist not being seen by the other driver. For this reason, cyclists must always keep out of a driver’s blind spot. To be seen on the open road, turn your headlight on.

When following a vehicle, ride near the left third of the lane. Never follow too closely, as this reduces the ability to stop safely and to see road and traffic conditions ahead.

The cyclist must always scan ahead for possible dangers, such as drivers and passengers stepping out of or from between parked vehicles into the lane of traffic. This is one reason to drive in the left third of the lane.

When rounding a corner or turn, lean into the turn. On wet or slippery surfaces, lean as little as possible and reduce speed.

Under normal stopping conditions, use both front and rear brakes. Avoid using the front brake only, because this causes the motorcycle to dip and may cause the cycle to skid, especially if the surface is slippery because of moisture, gravel, or sand. Keep both brakes properly adjusted. If you are riding an unfamiliar motorcycle, test the brakes before starting.

A motorcyclist must follow other vehicles at a safe distance. Heavier cycles require a longer stopping distance than lighter cycles. Stopping distance is also increased when the pavement is wet or slippery. It is very important to keep a safe margin when following another vehicle. A safe distance can be determined by using a four second count. A three-second count is explained earlier under “Keeping A Space Cushion.” It is safer for a motorcyclist to use a four-second distance than the three-second distance for other vehicles, because a motorcycle requires a longer stopping distance.

When approaching a traffic light or intersection where other traffic has stopped, stop behind the vehicle ahead. “Never go in between cars.” When in doubt as to who has the right-of-way at an intersection, yield to the other driver. Always prepare to stop when approaching an intersection.

A frequent cause of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents is inattention to road conditions. When approaching a surface of loose gravel, sand, or dirt, use extreme caution and avoid sudden or rapid movements. When riding on wet pavement, reduce speed and avoid sudden braking or acceleration. Be especially careful of the center “strip” of each traffic lane, as it usually has a film of oil covering it and is very slippery when wet. The center painted lines on the roadway, when wet, are also hazardous to cyclists.

Never pass to the right of another vehicle on a two-lane road. A cycle may be smaller than other vehicles, but all rules and regulations still pertain to it as though it were an automobile.

Many accidents with other vehicles occur simply because the cyclist was not seen by other drivers. Using your motorcycle headlights and wearing proper clothing that include bright colors, will make you more visible and therefore somewhat safer. As a result of not being seen, most accidents involving a motorcycle happen at intersections.

Gusty winds are usually a hazard to the cyclist. These winds can be a product of nature or semi-trailer trucks. The sudden and often unexpected intensity of a gust of wind may cause loss of control.

A motorcycle becomes less maneuverable as more weight is added to it. With increased weight, it is more difficult to keep upright and properly balanced. A heavy load also increases stopping distance and makes it harder to start at intersections. Avoid carrying heavy bundles or passengers, if possible. If it is unavoidable, take these precautions to make it safer: Carry parcels in a luggage carrier or in a saddlebag; instruct the passenger to lean with the rider, keep feet on the footrests, and to place hands on the rider’s hips. Passengers or bundles should never be carried in front of the cyclist.

    The best lane position for seeing and being seen is the left third of the lane.
  • 1. On a two-lane roadway, ride on the left portion of your lane.
  • 2. On a four-lane roadway, when alone, ride on the left half of the right lane, or on the right half of the inside lane.
  • 3. When riding in a group, you should ride in a staggered position, and never side by side.

Even though the right-of-way is yours, it may be necessary to yield. The cyclist nearly always loses in a collision with a larger vehicle. Remember, others may not see you.

Passengers and operators alike should wear protective clothing in addition to the required safety equipment. Since approximately 60 percent of all cycle fatalities are from head injuries, it is important that cyclists wear a protective helmet with a chinstrap. Clothing made from heavy material, such as leather, gives more protection in a motorcycle mishap. Good common sense demands that cyclists wear shoes at all times. In fact, heavy leather shoes or boots should be preferred over tennis shoes.

  • Always wear a U.S. Department of Transportation approved helmet and proper clothing.
  • When traveling with several motorcyclist, ride in a staggered position, and never two abreast.
  • Be careful with brakes — apply both brakes at the same time.
  • Watch for slick or loose surface, and reduce speed before you get to these areas.
  • Check nearby traffic before passing or changing lanes.
  • Be alert at intersections. This is where most motorcycle accidents occur.
  • Never make a U-turn without first coming to a full stop.
  • Always wear clothing that can be seen readily by other drivers.
  • Stay off the interstate highways unless your motorcycle is capable of cruising at interstate speed. The motor size should be a 250 cc or larger for interstate speeds.
  • Do not carry passengers unless your motorcycle is designed for more than one person.
  • Turn your lights on, even in daylight hours, so other drivers can see you.
  • Remember that your stopping distance is increased if you are carrying a passenger or heavy bundle.
  • Do not loan your motorcycle to anyone who is not experienced in riding your type motorcycle.
  • The best lane position for seeing and being seen is on the left third of the right lane.
  • Guard against overconfidence.
  • Remember that your stopping distance is greater than that of a passenger car.
  • Avoid congested traffic areas and high speed when learning to ride.
  • Handlebars should be set not more than 15 inches above the seat level for maximum control and comfort.
  • Children and animals may dart in the path of motorcycles. Be especially careful in school and residential areas.

The handling characteristics of a motorcycle are different from those of four-wheeled vehicles. For example, motorcycles are particularly vulnerable to weather and road-surface conditions. Like bicycles, motorcycles are not very stable. They can easily be spilled (tipped over).

Motorcycle operators lack protection. They have little protection against bad weather and even less protection against injuries that might be caused by falls or by collisions with other vehicles or objects.

Compared to trucks and cars, motorcycles are quite small. For this reason, they are often not noticed by other drivers. Some drivers may not spot or even think to look for motorcyclists traveling in their blind spots.



During the motorcycle performance test, the applicant will be required to maneuver through the cones as illustrated in the following diagrams.

*** This information is from the Kentucky Drivers Manual. ***