How to Get a Motorcycle License in Tennessee?

What is a Class M Motorcycle Operator License

In general, a class M motorcycle license allows all people over 16 years old to drive a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle over 50cc. However, the person who wants to operate a motorcycle needs to get a motorcycle Class M license. All two or three-wheel vehicles are categorized primarily by cylinder capacity. However, many other specific features influence categorization.

You can apply only for a Class M license, or you can ask for some other class as well. Motorists who want to obtain a Class M license need to read the Motorcycle Operator Manual. They can find it at any driver’s license service. If the person who wants to operate a motorcycle is 15 years old, the process for obtaining a motorcycle license in Tennessee is different. More precisely, that person needs to get a special permit that will allow him/her to drive. However, there would be some restrictions because of the person’s age.

Types of Motorcycle Licenses

MOTORCYCLE ONLY (Class-M) (126cc or more)

This category includes all two and a three-wheel vehicle that has more than 126 cubic centimeters. If you are wondering how to get a motorcycle license in Tennessee, you should know that an examination is required. In other words, a driver needs to pass the knowledge test, see an ophthalmologist and pass the ability skill test. If the driver does not have a valid driver’s license for a passenger vehicle, it is necessary to pass the knowledge test for Class D as well.


A secondary type of Tennessee motorcycle license refers to valid privilege for people older than 16 years old to operate a motorcycle. However, there are some requirements for getting a motorcycle license. Those include a vision screening, written test, and an on-cycle ability skills test. The license will expire when the primary type of license expires. If the person wants to have both a motorcycle license and a Class D vehicle license, it is necessary to apply for a Class DM license.

MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE (SCOOTER) (Class M-Limited) (from 51-125cc)

This category includes all two and three-wheel vehicles that have no more than 125 cubic centimeters. If the person who applies for obtaining this license is 15 years old, he needs to know that he can drive a motorcycle only between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Also, he can drive it only within a seven (7) mile radius of his home. The applicant must take a written test, vision test, and demonstrate the ability to operate the motorized bicycle.


Adolescents younger than 16 can drive a motorcycle if they follow some required restrictions. First, the maximum cylinder size needs to be limited to 650 cubic centimeters (650cc). He is not allowed to drive passengers. Also, he can not drive the motorcycle where it is not marked and he can drive it only during the day. One more requirement is that a person’s driving needs to be limited to a 20-mile radius of his home. When the person turns 16, he can go to a Driver Service Center and exchange the permit for the learner to a valid privilege to operate a motorcycle. In that situation, tests and examinations are not required.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in TN?

If you want to obtain a motorcycle license, you can do it In-Person by visiting any Driver Service Center. If you want to apply for taking a motorcycle knowledge test or road skill test, you can do it through this site.

Generally, the necessary documentation and examination will depend on the current possession of a valid Tennessee operator license. That means, if you have a valid license, you should bring an additional certificate of completion Tennessee Certified Motorcycle Rider Education Program and you will not have to take a motorcycle knowledge and road test. This certificate is valid for one year from the issuance date. In the other case, if you do not hold a valid driver’s license, you will first need to take a knowledge test for s Class D. This test is based on the Tennessee Driver Study Guide. You should know that you can present a certificate of a completed Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course if you own it. This applies to the certificates from other states, as well. In that way, you will avoid taking the road test. However, the course needs to be taken within three years of the application date. So, you must take a knowledge test, but you can be released from taking a road test.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Requirements

  • The requirements for getting a motorcycle license in the state of Tennessee are following:

You should complete a vision screening, written knowledge test and after that, a road skill test. Read a Driver Study Guide to prepare yourself for completing the test.

You can be released from taking both knowledge and road/skill tests, in case you have a valid Tennessee license, and you can provide a certificate of completion from a Tennessee Certified Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP).

  • The required document you need to provide are the following:

Proof of citizenship or legal U.S. residency, identity, Tennessee residency, and a Social Security number

  • If you are under the age of 18, you need to provide the following, as well:

proof of school attendance and a minor/teenage affidavit signed by a parent, guardian, or authorized grandparent.

Deliver the required to the Driver Center service.

What Documents Will You Need to Get a License?

For obtaining a motorcycle license, you need to prepare required documents that include proof of U.S citizenship or legal presence, proof of any name changes, two proofs of Tennessee Residency (with name and resident address). and proof of Social Security Number. Keep in mind that all documents need to be original or certified. The service will not accept photocopies.

If the person who applies for a motor vehicle license is under 18 years old and does not have a Class D or PD license, it is necessary to provide two more documents: Teenage Affidavit/Financial Responsibility as well as Proof of school attendance/progress. However, if the person wants to get a Class D or PD license with a regular license, the only requirement is to present the Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (SF-1256).

Motorcycle Operator Manual

There is an option to find a Motorcycle Operator Manual online. Despite that, you can go In-Person by visiting the Driver Services Center.

In the Comprehensive Driver License Manual, drivers can find all the necessary information such as different types of available licenses, the requirements, and documents for license application, details for drivers under the age of 18, and the description of the test they need to take. More precisely, by reading this guide, you will be ready for taking the knowledge tests for a Class D Tennessee driver’s license.

Requirements for Teens

If you are under 18 years old, the procedure for obtaining a license is a little different compared to the regular one.

If you are between 15 and 16 years old, you can get a motorcycle learner permit. With that permit, you can not drive a motorcycle that has an engine larger than 650cc. Also, you are not allowed to operate at night or to have passengers. Despite this, you can not drive more than 20 miles away from your home. For obtaining a license, you will need to take a written knowledge test, vision examination, and skill test.

If you are 16 years old, you can obtain a motorcycle license without the restrictions listed above. In this case, a motorcycle learner permit is valid for one year. After that, it will be changed for the DMV motorcycle license.

Additionally, as a minor, you need to submit a Minor/Teenage Affidavit of Cancellation. In other words, this is a verification that your parents/guardians accept financial responsibility for you. Despite this, you will need to submit a Proof of School Attendance/Progress form in order to operate a motorcycle.

Where Do You Go to Get Your License?

For getting your license, you should go to any full-service Department of Safety office location.

After you submit all the necessary information and documents, such as proof of identity and residency, Motorcycle Safety Foundation course certificate of completion, written proof of passing both knowledge and road skill tests, and paying a proper fee, you will receive your Tennessee motorcycle license!

You should know that a motorcycle-only Class M license is valid for 8 years, and a motorcycle-secondary license is going to expire with the expiration of your  Class A, B, C, or D license. Remember, if you didn’t pass a written knowledge test for a Class D license, you will need to pass that test as well.  After that, you can be an operator of the motorcycle!

Tennessee Motorcycle License Tests

If you are younger than 16 years old without a driver’s license and completed MREP course, you need to conduct the following procedure. To get the Tennessee motorcycle permit, you must pass driving tests. A great way to increase your chances of passing the test is to take motorcycle permit practice tests you can find online. You should read and study the Tennessee Motorcycle Driver’s Manual before answering the questions on the exam.

If you want to get a motorcycle license, you need to pass both knowledge and skill/road tests. More precisely, you should visit Driver Services Center throughout the state. Despite that, you can schedule a knowledge or road skill test appointment online. Do not forget to bring a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation. Also, you will need to go on a visual examination. In case, you do not have any license before applying for a motorcycle one, you will need to pass a regular driver license knowledge test before the motorcycle knowledge test.

Helmet Laws

Tennessee is the state that has a special law that is referred to helmet wearing. More precisely, all drivers, as well as passengers need to wear an approved helmet. Also, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long your driving experience is; this law deserves a lot of your attention!. If the person does not wear a helmet, he/she can have a partial fault if the accident occurs even when that person is not guilty at all.

Other Safety Requirements

When it comes to other safety requirements worth mentioning, you will find them in the following text. The motorcycle needs to have all the necessary lights: headlights, brake lights, tail lights, turn signals as well as the front and rear brakes, two mirrors, and a horn. Despite that, a motorcycle needs to have a windshield, and a biker needs to wear goggles, a face shield, and safety glasses. One more safety requirement is that passengers have a separate seat installed.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

All drivers need to have a valid insurance policy for their motorcycle. Some of the minimum requirements in the state of Tennessee include:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per incident
  • $15,000 property damage coverage per incident

However, you can choose a higher coverage than these, and it is even recommended to do that. Studies show that motorcycle accidents usually include very serious injuries. For that reason, it is very important to be careful and to wear safety protection. Also, you need to protect your assets.

Despite the coverage we listed above, these ones are also available for consideration:

  • Collison and compensation coverage will repair costs if you are responsible for the accident, or your motorcycle is vandalized or damaged in a non-collision accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage is made to protect motorists if the accident is caused by someone who does not have insurance.
  • Medical payments coverage provides health insurance for you and the passenger that you drove.
  • Enhanced injury protection provides an income if you can not work after the accident.

Additionally, if you complete an approved motorcycle safety course application, you will have an opportunity to increase insurance discounts.

Protecting Yourself After an Accident

After the accident, it is necessary to settle the fair agreement. The negotiating part can last long and be very complex. Usually, all the insurance companies delay paying. For that reason, the best option will be to find someone who will protect your rights.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Fees

  • The fee for Class PM motorcycle learner permit: $6.50.
  • The fee for Class M motorcycle license(motorcycle only): $29
  • The fee for Class D with Class M motorcycle-secondary license: $55