When you are first starting out and learning to ride a motorcycle, you won’t have your license yet, this can be a problem if you want to practice and get ready for an upcoming test. In this post I’m going to share with you everything that you need to know to hopefully help you avoid any trouble.
So, can you practice riding a motorcycle without a licence? You can only ride a motorcycle without a license on private property with the owner’s permission, or if you are part of a licensed motorcycles training program, the type of program where you are given your license after you have successfully passed the course.
That should give you a general idea, but there is actually more to it. To learn all about it, read on.
Can I Practice Riding A Motorcycle Without A License?
The good news is yes you can practice riding a motorcycle without a license. The bad news is, you are going to need to find a good place to do it which can be a bit difficult. Many property owners don’t want the hassle or liability involved with allowing unlicensed drivers to use their property.
Before you can do any of this, you are going to want to go and get your learner’s permit. I’m not going to go into detail about this, depending on where you are you will have different hoops to jump through. Usually it will require you to get a driver’s handbook of some sort, study it and take a written test at your local DMV. Once you pass this, you will be given a learner’s permit.
This is not a license, it just says you are learning to ride and can use a motorcycle under certain conditions. What these conditions are exactly will be different based on your location.
It’s important to get your learner’s permit for a few reasons. When you show this permit to property owners or managers, it’s going to go a long way towards convincing them to allow you to use their property. It shows you are responsible and serious about learning and not just looking for a place to mess around on a motorcycle. It will also help to convince any cops that might bother you that you are not just some hooligan, but some guy/girl looking to practice and learn to legally ride a motorcycle.
Once you have your permit, you are going to need to find a suitable place to practice. Somewhere you have explicit permission, from the owner or manager of the property, to use it for this purpose.
Don’t just skip this step and use any empty parking lot you find. You need to actually track down the manager or owner and ask them, better yet if you can get their permission in writing. Some owners might make you sign a waiver or some sort of legal document absolving them of any liability, it’s up to you if you want to sign it or not (I would). If you don’t, you are going to have to keep looking.
It’s good to have this piece of paper just in case some nosey neighbor, bored cop or random jerk decides to give you a hard time. Just pull it out and tell them to beat it. Trust me, there is always a chance someone will take it upon themselves to challenge or check that you have permission to use this parking lot. Many times it’s just because they don’t like motorcycles.
After you have found a place and have your written permission, you are going to need to find a way to get your motorcycle to and from the practice area. You might think your learner’s permit will allow you to do this but it probably won’t.
You have a few options, you can get a buddy with a license to ride the motorcycle for you and follow him in a car or ride as a pillion. Or you can load the motorcycle on a trailer or in the back of a pickup truck. If your practice area is not too far, you could just walk the motorcycle to and from there, but be ready for fellow motorcyclists or motorists to stop and ask you if you need some gas or help fixing your motorcycle.
This might be a bit of a hassle, but fight the urge to ride your motorcycle to and from the practice area. As fun as it might seem, you’re opening yourself up for all kinds of trouble and hassle. Everything from nosey or bored cops, fines, an impounded motorcycle to lawsuits should you happen to be involved in an accident.
IMHO it’s just not worth it. Trust me, when I was learning I made that mistake. It ended up costing me a bunch of money and a huge headache. All because I thought it would be ok to take my motorcycle for a short ride before I had my endorsement and some bored cop decided to pull me over.
Where can I practice riding a motorcycle without a license?
As mentioned in the intro, you are going to need to find some private property and get permission from the owner or operator.
Private parking lots are your best bet. Check out malls, big box stores and school/park parking lots. I know school and park parking lots are not technically private property, but cops will usually give you a pass if they see you practising there.
If you know a spot where your local MSF course is run, you can try to use this space when they are not running classes, chances are the owners are cool with it being used and cops probably won’t give a second glance to a motorcycle practising there.
Whatever space you decide on, try to use it when it is not busy during off hours. Sunday mornings are usually good for this, but it will depend on the location and area.
If you do find a suitable spot, try to set yourself up off to one side and away from any entrances, or pedestrian crossings. This is usually going to be a far corner away from the main business entrance. This will help limit the amount of people or cars that will bother you.
If some idiot does decide to park where you are practising. Don’t let it get to you, just tell them you are trying to practice and ask them to park somewhere else. If they don’t, you are just going to have work around them.
You might think this won’t happen, but trust me it does. The amount of times I’ve been practising in a parking lot and some moron decides to park right in the middle of my practice area is amazing. The rest of the parking lot could be half empty and they will still do it.
Another option is checking your local dealership, many of them offer courses to help new riders learn to ride a motorcycle. Honda and Harley Davidson both offer these types of course, but you are going to have to see what is offered in your area.
What is the penalty for riding a motorcycle without an endorsement?
Honestly it all depends on the cop and the situation. If a cop stops you for any reason, this could be for a busted light, improper lane change, noisy exhaust, speeding or maybe they are just bored and don’t like the motorcycle you are riding. There are tons of reasons and motorcycles are like a magnet for cops.
When they do stop you the first thing they are going to do is ask for your driver’s license and registration. If you cannot produce both of these, you are probably going to get a ticket and may even get your bike impounded.
If you’re lucky they might just make you walk your motorcycle home or make you call your buddy to pick you and your motorcycle up. One thing that isn’t happening is you riding your motorcycle home.
Also, don’t think you can just tell the cop you are walking it home, then when you are around the corner you are going to jump on your motorcycle and ride it home. They will be waiting for you to do that. That’s what happened to me and ended up with me getting a few fines and my motorcycle impounded.
On top of that, if you are in an accident or your motorcycle is stolen, there is a good chance your insurance is not going to cover it. This means if you injure someone or damage their car during an accident, you are going to be liable for all damages and costs. Nothing says “your life is ruined” like a multi million dollar lawsuit and no insurance to cover your butt.
That’s all there is, I hope you learned something. Until next time happy riding!