When I bought my Kymco, I knew I would have to get a motorcycle license since it has a 125cc engine. In Pennsylvania, where I reside, anyone operating a motorcycle 50cc or above is required to have a motorcycle license. When I used to ride the Yamaha Zuma, I never had to worry about the test because it was only 49cc. A Pennsylvania motorcycle permit is obtained by taken a knowledge test on the computer at the local DMV. Once you get at least 16/20 questions correct, you are issued a permit that allows you to ride a motorcycle. Permit restrictions include no night time riding, no passengers and a helmet requirement.
In mid April, I took the permit test and have used that whenever riding the scooter around. However, I wanted to follow through and get the full motorcycle license. Today, I did just that. I arrived at the DMV around 3:45 PM. As luck would have it, the temperatures were the hottest they have been all year. The air temperature was over 90 degrees on the black top of the testing area.
The tester met with me and checked all of my paperwork including the registration, proof of insurance (original copy), and learner’s permit. I also had to verify the vehicle identification number on the scooter as proof I had the correct cycle and insurance. On a Kymco Agility, the VIN is located behind a panel near the floorboard. I had trouble removing the panel and ended up having to get a screwdriver out of the kit under the seat in order to pop it off. After that, it was on to the test itself.
In order to get the motorcycle license, I had to do the following:
1. Demostrate use of all of the signals and controls without looking down at the buttons.
2. Navigate through a serpentine course of four cones in a straight line. After weaving between each of them, I had to make a u-turn and return to the start.
3. Finally, I had to do three consecutive figure 8’s within a lined box area.
Fortunately, everything went as planned and I passed without any problems. In general, if you put your feet on the ground during any part of the test, you do not pass.
After signing several forms and having the “M” class added to my license, I was on my way home by about 4:30. It is a good feeling to know I passed and I no longer have restrictions to ride, not that I really do any night scooting anyhow.
If you live in Pennsylvania, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. You need to read the Motorcycle Manual Booklet before taking the knowledge test. You don’t want to just wing it, beside it does provide good information, especially in the areas of safety and proper riding.
2. PA, like many other states, gives you the option of taking the test at the DMV like I did, or you can take a state-sponsored motorcycle safety course. The safety course is generally four sessions with classroom instruction and practice on the course. In my state, the course is free and 250cc motorcycles are available for all participants to use. Upon successful completion of the course, an “M” license is issued. Although I didn’t take this route to get my license, I still plan on taking a safety course. Many insurance companies also offer a discount for successful completion of a motorcycle course.
3. The motorcycle test at the DMV is adjusted based on the size bike you use for the test. For example, since I ride a 125cc, the cones on the serpentine course were placed closer together. Also, for the figure 8’s I was given a smaller box to ride in since I have a smaller cycle.
4. Don’t be nervous. It’s easier said than done, but like most other things, if you are relaxed, you will have better success with the skills test.
Hopefully this post provided good information about the motorcycle skills test. I was stunned when I looked online prior to today and didn’t see much information of value about this test. Most forum postings just said, “Figure 8’s and right/left turns”.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. As always: Ride safe. Wear a helmet.