If you dream of feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise down Florida’s highways on your motorcycle, you’re not alone. There are nearly 600,000 licensed motorcyclists in the Sunshine State, and you could be one of them. Florida license laws require residents to hold a valid motorcycle license or endorsement to ride, and getting one is probably easier than you think.
Motorcycle License vs. Endorsement in Florida
First, you’ll need to decide which type of credential is right for you. In Florida, you need official credentials to operate any motorcycle with an engine over 50 ccs, whether it has two or three wheels. A motorcycle endorsement is for drivers who already have a Florida driver’s license. A motorcycle-only license is for anyone who does not have a driver’s license and plans only to operate a motorcycle.
Once you decide which credential is right for you, follow the steps below to get licensed and ready for the road.
4 Easy Steps to Get a Florida Motorcycle Endorsement
1. Check to Make Sure Your Current Driver’s License Is Valid
If you are licensed to drive in Florida already, you’ll need a current Class E driver’s license. This is the standard, non-commercial license in the state. You may also hold a current Class A, B, or C commercial license.
2. Take an Approved Motorcycle Skills Course
Florida law requires anyone seeking a motorcycle license or endorsement to take a motorcycle safety course with a curriculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). You must take either the MSF Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu). Both courses consist of 15 hours of training aimed at helping beginners learn to handle whatever might pop up on the road.
If you’re already a competent rider, these courses will still be valuable to you because insurers love them.
"Successful completion of a motorcycle safety course will also provide a discount from most carriers," says Greg Martin, Account Executive at Think Safe Insurance in Brandon, Florida. "The two main companies that we write with take any state-approved motorcycle safety course for the discount."
3. Gather Your Paperwork
Once you’ve completed your training course, you’re almost ready to go. For your trip to get your endorsement, you’ll need to have the following with you:
BRC or BRCu course completion card dated within the last calendar year
Your current driver’s license for proper ID
Cash or check for licensing fees, including the endorsement fee of $7.00 and a license renewal fee of $48.00
4. Head to Your Nearest Driver’s License Office
In Florida, you can get your motorcycle endorsement at any driver’s license office. Some tax collector’s offices also provide licenses. Due to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to check with your preferred location ahead of time to see if you need an appointment.
Bring your materials with you, and you’ll have your endorsement on the spot. A motorcycle endorsement lasts for a lifetime, so you’ll automatically be renewed each time you renew your standard driver’s license.
How to Get a Motorcycle-Only License
If you do not have a standard driver’s license, you’ll need to take some extra steps to get a motorcycle-only license. In general, these are the same steps you would take to get a Class E license as a new driver, since the state is invested in making sure all of its drivers are well-versed in traffic and safety laws.
To start the process, you have to be at least age 15, and you won’t be able to get your official motorcycle-only license until age 16.
Here’s what you need to do first:
If you are under 18, have your parents sign and notarize a parental consent form.
Complete the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course.
Pass the Class E Knowledge Exam.
Gather and present approved documents to prove your identity, verify your Social Security number, and show your current address.
Pass an eye and ear exam at the licensing site.
Once you’ve secured your learner’s license by following the steps above, you’re ready to complete the process for motorcycle licensure. These are the same as the steps required for a motorcycle endorsement:
Take an approved motorcycle skills course.
Gather your paperwork, including identification and fees.
Head to your nearest driver’s license office.
You can review the details of these final steps in the section above about motorcycle endorsements.
Once you have your Florida motorcycle license or endorsement, you’re ready to hit the open road! Florida is an excellent place to enjoy motorcycling year-round, so getting this license is always a great idea.