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Frequently asked questions about motorcycle licenses

If you want to be licensed to ride a motorcycle in New York, the following frequently asked questions may be helpful:

-- Which agency is in charge of the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program? It is administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

-- What benefits are there to taking the course? Learning how to be a responsible and safe motorcyclist is the primary reason, but you will also receive a road test waiver from the DMV. It is also possible that you will now be eligible for insurance discounts.

-- How can I sign up for this course? Call the site nearest you to schedule their next available class. At some locations, online enrollment is allowed.

-- How long does this course last? Courses total about 15 hours and takes place over several sessions, comprising 10 hours of riding practice and 5 hours of instruction. All students have to be able to ride a bike.

-- Is prior riding experience necessary? No, but you must know how to stabilize and balance a regular bike.

-- What about a motorcycle learner permit? Do I need one? Yes. A valid Motorcycle Learner Permit is necessary to enroll in a course.

-- How much does it cost to enroll? At sites in and around New York City, the cost is approximately $350.

-- What if I fail the knowledge portion of the test or the skill evaluation? If you fail either one, you are allowed a retake within the same season of training. Otherwise it will be necessary to retake the whole course.

After you are licensed, you can enjoy newfound freedom riding your motorcycle. If you are ever injured in a motorcycle wreck caused by another driver, you may be eligible for compensation from their insurance company or other entities.

Source: New York State Motorcycle Safety Program, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed July 31, 2015

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