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Do I Need A Motorcycle License in New Jersey?

Posted on: June 26, 2022

In some ways, riding a motorcycle is much like any other vehicle on the road in that if you ride any motor vehicle, you run the risk of getting into an accident. When motor vehicle accidents across the country are calculated, motorcycle accidents count. Motorcycles are also several times more dangerous than most car accidents. 

Motorcyclists and their passengers are exposed: there is nothing to protect them outside the gear they are wearing: a helmet, and, in some cases, leather outerwear. Motorcyclists usually suffer worse injuries than their car-riding counterparts, and even the most common injuries are usually not minor and can range from brain injuries to spinal cord injuries.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 14 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2020 were from motorcycle accidents. It is for that reason that New Jersey demands that you know how to safely ride a motorcycle and that the motorcycle meets all required safety standards.  

All New Jersey residents must obtain a license or endorsement for their motorcycle. That includes motor bikes, bicycles, and tricycles with motors attached to them, although these licenses are explicit and do not allow for the riding of a motorcycle. All motorcycles must also have a title, and they must be registered and insured. 

What Is a Motorcycle Endorsement?

A motorcycle endorsement is an amendment to your driver’s license that enables you to legally operate a motorcycle. If you do not possess a driver’s license, you must obtain a motorcycle license by going through the steps provided by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC).

How Do You Obtain an Endorsement?

There are only two ways that you can obtain an endorsement, the first of which is to enroll in the Basic Rider course, a training course that is provided by different sources in various locations. Any person under the age of 18 must enroll in the course.

No permit is required to enroll in the course. Your trainer will provide you with a stamped waiver form and a completion card. After completing the course, you must obtain a motorcycle endorsement and add it to your driver’s license.

Next you must bring your course completion documents along with six points of ID verification to a driver testing center and apply for a motorcycle permit. Then you have to pass a vision test. After you pay the required fees, you have your endorsement.

If you do not wish to take the Basic Rider course, you must first obtain a motorcycle examination permit. The next step is to bring the required six points of ID verification to a motor vehicle agency and apply for a permit. Then you must pass the knowledge and vision test. Note that if you take the course, you do not have to take the knowledge test.

Afterward, because you did not complete the Basic Rider course, you must practice ride for a minimum of 20 days. Remember that at this point, you only have a permit. There are restrictions, such as staying off the road between sunset and sunrise. You also cannot carry any passengers, and you cannot ride on any state toll road or limit-access highway.

Once your practice days are up, you take the motorcycle road test. Your motorcycle must be registered and insured before you take the test. You also must wear a helmet and eye protection. After passing the road test, you pay the required fees and obtain a motorcycle endorsement.  

How Do You Obtain a Motorcycle License?

If you do not already have a driver’s license, you must obtain a motorcycle license. Again, the two ways to do this are to take the Basic Rider course or apply without taking it. Those under 18 years of age must take the course.

Whether or not you take the course, you must first obtain a permit. Do not forget to bring your six points of ID verification to a motor vehicle agency. You then must pass the knowledge and vision tests.

Once you complete the above tasks, you can either enroll or not enroll in the course. Regardless of your decision to take the Basic Rider course, you must practice riding. Those under the age of 21 must accrue practice time of at least six months. Over 21 must accrue a minimum of three months. During this time, you cannot have any suspensions or postponements. Afterward, you must pass the motorcycle road test. You must bring a helmet and eye protection. Your motorcycle must also be registered and insured.

If you took the Basic Riding Course, you will be provided with a completion card before you take the road test.

After paying your fees, you will obtain a probationary motorcycle (Class E) license. You then will have a minimum probationary period of one year. There will be restrictions. Afterward, you will obtain your unrestricted motorcycle license. For this you must be 18 years old and have completed the one-year probationary period.

What Are Common Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycle accidents occur from both the negligence of motorcyclists and other drivers. In regards to cars causing motorcycle accidents, it is important to understand that motorcycles are more difficult to spot on the road. Thus, a car making left turns or switching lanes could turn out disastrous for a motorcyclist. A motorcyclist must anticipate other vehicles to remain safe.

Motorcyclists too often drive recklessly. Splitting lanes is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. This is when a motorcycle occupies the same lane as another vehicle. Swerving in and out of traffic is also a big mistake when driving a motorcycle. Losing control of your motorcycle is a common result; you can never adequately predict what other drivers will do.

The biggest danger for motorcyclists is speeding. Speeding can cause you to lose control of a motorcycle for the smallest of reasons from hitting an object in the road, to shortening your reaction time to the traffic around you. The result of getting into a motorcycle accident when traveling at a high speed is more dangerous than speeding car accidents. Driving a motorcycle requires extra caution and safety measures, so measure up and stay safe.

What Is the Minimum Amount of Insurance You Need for a Motorcycle?

In New Jersey, you must have a minimum of 15,000 dollars of liability insurance. Although many motorcyclists buy the minimum, it is advisable to get coverage beyond the minimum. You never know if you are going to get into an accident with a motorist who is either uninsured or underinsured.

Because of the lack of auto-body protecting its passenger, riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than riding a car. Getting into an accident when driving a motorcycle rarely turns out well, so getting more coverage is wise.

Is New Jersey a No-Fault State?

New Jersey is one of ten states that offer no-fault insurance. This means that your insurance company will cover your costs no matter who is at fault. This type of coverage is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

The first part of PIP is automatic. It covers all medical costs, including treatment, surgery, rehabilitative services, and medication. The second part of PIP coverage is optional but recommended. This covers for lost wages and other various costs.

Can You Sue a Negligent Driver?

The short answer is “yes.” With PIP insurance, New Jersey gives you the right to sue a negligent driver under limited conditions. The accident victim must have suffered a loss of body part, a displaced fracture, disfigurement, severe scarring, severe or permanent injury, a loss of fetus, or death. In other words, you or a loved one must have suffered a critical injury or death. 

Once you sue, however, the modified comparative fault rule comes into play. This means that if you win your suit, you will receive the full amount awarded minus the percentage amount that you are found to be at fault. In other words, if you are 15 percent at fault, you will receive only 85 percent of the amount awarded. It is important to note that if you are 51 percent at fault, you receive nothing.

New Jersey Motorcycle Traffic Ticket Attorneys at Ellis Law, P.C. Represent Those Injured in a Motorcycle Accident.

If you were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, or if you lost a loved in a motorcycle accident, call our experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident attorneys at Ellis Law, P.C. We will fight hard to bring you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Freehold, East Brunswick, Jersey City, Middletown, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, New Jersey, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.