Unlike other states, you cannot get a motorcycle license without a driving license in Louisiana. Instead, you must obtain a motorcycle endorsement that will be added to your driving license. To get this endorsement, you can attend rider safety programs or take a written and road exam at your local Office of Motor Vehicles.
Obtaining a Motorcycle Endorsement
Some states offer a separate license that permits motorcyclists to only drive their bikes. They need an additional license if they decide they want to be able to drive an automobile. By contrast, in Louisiana, the first step is a driving license, and then the motorcycle endorsement is added to it. This allows you to operate both vehicles using one license.
According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, to receive a motorcycle endorsement, you must have:
- Valid driver’s license
- Proof of residency
- Proof of insurance
- $18 for endorsement fee
You can then go to the Office of Motor Vehicles to turn in your application and go through the exam. There are three parts to your endorsement exam:
- Vision test
- Written knowledge test
- Road skills test
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What if You Were Already Licensed in Another State?
If you were already licensed in another state and have motorcycle experience, these steps should be fairly easy to pass, but you can take online practice tests to sharpen your skills. For the road test, you will need:
- A motorcycle
- Current license plate
- Current inspection sticker
- Eye protection or windshield
The road skills test will cover control of the motorcycle and defensive driving techniques to avoid a collision. Much like any other driving or motorcycle test, this is to ensure you can maneuver effectively, make good decisions on the road, and adjust your behavior to suit a given situation. Once you have passed all of the tests, the endorsement will be added to your license.
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Can You Receive an Endorsement Without Taking the OMV Tests?
You do not have to go through the process of taking the OMV tests if you decide to take the Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operator Training Program through the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (LSP). They offer courses that allow graduates to waive the testing portion of the endorsement.
The “Basic Rider Course” is a little over 15 hours long and ideal for beginners or riders who need to revisit the basics. An extra fee is charged if you do not have your own bike and need to use one of their motorcycles.
Once you graduate, you can present your proof of course completion at the OMV when turning in your application for an endorsement. You will just have to provide proof of licensing and insurance, pass the vision test, and pay your fees.
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Why an Endorsement Is Required for a Motorcycle License
Any kind of separate motorcycle course, whether to receive an endorsement or a motorcycle license, is important to cut down on accidents on the road. These help riders recognize risks, avoid hazards, and be aware of how to interact with other cars.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal motorcycle accidents involving riders 50 and older have increased 22 percent since 2008, with one reason being that those riders returned to motorcycles at a later age, “possibly forgoing refresher training.” Motorcycle licenses and endorsements require knowledge and road skills tests for a reason — they help save lives.
Deadlines to Keep in Mind
Safety is also why you should stay on top of your license renewals and be aware of when you need to transfer your out-of-state driving license or motorcycle license to your new home. Some time frames to remember are:
- Louisiana license and endorsement expiration: six years
- Transfer from out-of-state license: within 30 days
There is a 10-day grace period after your license expires in which you can obtain a renewal. While you don’t have to take another knowledge or skills test to renew your license, a refresher course is advised if you haven’t ridden in a while.
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An Endorsement Helps in the Event of an Accident
Having the proper motorcycle endorsement also helps limit your liability in case of an accident. Lacking a motorcycle endorsement or having one that has expired along with your driver’s license can make you look more reckless if you are in an accident, leading to fines and making insurance companies less inclined to fulfill a claim.
Get in touch with our team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers if you were injured in a motorcycle accident and are facing difficulty receiving a payout due to a licensing or endorsement issue. If an unlicensed motorcyclist struck you, we can look into your options for pursuing them for damages.
Learn More about Motorcycle Licensing Today with a Free Consultation with One of Our Knowledgeable Attorneys
If you have any questions about how to obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement with your driving license, give our office a call. At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we know motorcyclists are vulnerable on the road. Call our firm today at (337) 777-7777.