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Motorcycle license requirements in Florida

Geographic border map and flag of Florida, The Sunshine StateDue to the climate in Florida, there are many motorcyclists on the road.  What better way to enjoy the bright sunshine and warm weather than to cruise around on your bike.  You just can’t hop on your bike and take off, however.  It might have been that easy many years ago, but no longer.  Do you have a motorcycle license?  Did you know you have to have that endorsement on your regular license in order to legally operate a motorcycle?  If you don’t have a regular license, it is still a requirement to have a motorcycle license in Florida. 

What steps are necessary to obtain a motorcycle license?  Like most motor vehicle licenses you must be at least 16 years old to get a motorcycle license.  All new motorcyclists are required to take the Basic Rider Course given by the Florida Rider Training Program and pass.  Only then can you have the license or the endorsement on your existing license.  What if you want to drive a three-wheeled motorcycle?  Florida has what is called the “S/TEP – Sidecar / Trike Evaluation Program”.  This covers all three-wheeled motorcycles, including those with a sidecar.  This endorsement will only allow a driver to operate a three-wheeled vehicle.  Florida has no learner’s permits for a motorcycle license.

Operating a motorcycle is vastly different that operating a car.  Motorcyclists need to be wary of everything around them.  Motorcycles are not readily visible on the road making many states require front headlights be lit on the bike while operating it.  A motorcyclist needs to pay more attention to road conditions.  Although highly irregular, any slippery conditions from ice will affect a motorcycle more than a car.  Roads can be slippery from just rain and Florida is known for some significant downpours, however.  Also, potholes can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of the bike.  Many roads now have those rumble strips on the sides of the road to alert drivers when they are veering off the road.  These rumble strips can also cause a motorcycle to lose control.  Motorcycles are required to have turn signals.  A motorcyclist should know the hand signals for situations when the signal lights aren’t operating.

Riding a motorcycle can be fun and exciting.  It can also be dangerous.  Before taking to the road, make sure you have taken all required courses and are aware of the dangers you’ll face and take appropriate precautions on the road.