All motorcyclists in Illinois must possess a valid motorcycle license to operate a bike on public roadways. Riding with a valid license is important for your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. It can help ensure that you understand all of the state laws, know how to properly operate your vehicle, have the skills to be able to navigate traffic safely, and prevent unnecessary accidents or injuries. Additionally, completing the rider safety courses recommended by the state of Illinois to get your motorcycle license may provide access to discounts from insurance providers that could save money in the long run.
In this Article
Difference Between a Class M and Class L License in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, there are two types of motorcycle license which are based on the size of the bike: Class M and Class L. A Class M license allows you to legally operate any motorcycle with an engine size of 150 cubic centimeters (cc) or greater. A Class L license is for those who wish to operate any motor-driven cycle with less than 150cc engine size.
It is also important to note that a motorcycle license does not allow you to legally operate any type of motor vehicle. You will still need to obtain a valid driver’s license in order to legally operate cars, pickups, SUVs, and other larger vehicles.
What are the dangers of riding a motorcycle without a license in Illinois?
Riding a motorcycle without the proper license can be incredibly dangerous and put you at risk for huge financial penalties and jail time. It is illegal to ride a motorcycle on public roads in Illinois without the required license, and could also lead to fines and possibly even jail time (625 ILCS 5/6-101).
Additionally, riding without a license increases your chances of getting into an accident due to lack of experience or knowledge of state laws. This could result in medical bills, property damage costs, and potential legal fees that would all have to be paid out-of-pocket by the rider.
Finally, if you ride without a valid motorcycle license and get into an accident, you probably won’t be covered by insurance and may end up being responsible for paying for all damages associated with the crash.
Steps to Obtaining Your Motorcycle License in Illinois
What you need to do to obtain your motorcycle license in the state of Illinois depends on your age when trying to acquire your M class license and whether or not you currently have a valid driver’s license.
If You Have a Valid Illinois Driver’s License
Attend an Illinois Department of Transportation Motorcycle Rider Education Course.
Show your valid Illinois driver’s license at the DMV in your city.
Show your certificate of completion of your Motorcycle Rider Education Course
If you are under 18, you will also need to pass a Rider Skill Test.
Pay the $10 Illinois motorcycle license fee.
Applicants OVER the Age of 18
When you are over 18, completing and passing an IDOT Motorcycle Training Course means that you will be able to waive drive exam as well as the written exam when you apply for your Illinois motorcycle license. Applicable fees and acceptable identification are required.
Applicants UNDER the Age of 18
If you take an IDOT Motorcycle Training Course and present your Student Completion Card, you will still need to take the drive exam. Applicable fees and acceptable identification are required.
If you do not hold a valid Illinois driver’s license, you must successfully complete a vision screening, written (basic and motorcycle) exam and a drive exam. Applicable fees and acceptable identification are required.
Illinois Motorcycle Permits
According to the Illinois’ Motorcycle Operator Manual, individuals who are 16 and 17 years old, have completed driver education, and have passed the motorcycle written test are eligible to apply for a 24-month instruction permit that allows them to operate a motor-driven cycle (under 150cc). They can only practice riding during daylight hours with the supervision of a licensed motor-driven cycle operator who is 21 or older and has at least one year of riding experience.
Where to Get Your Motorcycle License in Illinois
You can find out where you can get your Illinois motorcycle license on the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State website. There’s a search that allows you to filter DMV locations by whether or not they provide drivers license services, motorcycle written tests, and motorcycle road tests.
Some locations in major cities in Illinois where you can get a Class M or Class L license include:
Aurora 339 E. Indian Trail Aurora, IL 60505
Naperville 931 W. 75th St., Ste. 161 Naperville, IL 60565
The Benefits of Taking the IDOT Motorcycle Rider Education Course in Illinois
Taking an IDOT motorcycle safety course is an important step in obtaining your motorcycle license in Illinois. These comprehensive motorcycle rider education courses from the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP) teach riders about basic motorcycle operation and safety, such as proper riding posture, common obstacles encountered on the road, how to use hand signals, and safe stopping distances. Additionally, taking these courses can help you save time by potentially allowing you to skip the drive exam.
Taking a Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP) course is also beneficial because it may provide discounts from insurance providers. When taking a class, you will be taught by experienced instructors who are certified by the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State. Below is some information about the rider courses that are offered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Basic Rider Course
The Basic Rider Course, which lasts for 20 hours, offers both in-class and on-road instruction to enhance your street-riding abilities and strategy. Scooter riders are invited to take part in the courses and obtain their “L” or “M” license. Upon successfully completing this course, students who are 18 years old or older will be granted a license waiver. A training motorcycle and DOT-approved helmet is provided with this course.
Basic Rider Course 2
The Basic Rider Course 2 is designed for riders who already possess basic skills in straight-line riding, shifting, stopping, and clutch control, and wish to enhance their abilities. This is a one-day course that includes classroom and riding instruction. Upon successfully completing this course, students who are 18 years old or older will be granted a license waiver. A training motorcycle and DOT-approved helmet is provided with this course.
Advanced Rider Course
The 8.5-hour Advanced Rider Course is designed for riders with prior experience and builds upon the skills acquired in previous courses. The training program emphasizes on improving skills such as self-assessment, risk management, rider behavior, riding strategies, and overall skill development, with a focus on braking, cornering, and swerving.
In order to take this course, a rider must provide a street-legal motorcycle that is in good mechanical repair, a DOT-approved helmet, current motorcycle registration or written approval from the owner of the motorcycle, proof of insurance, and they must have a valid motorcycle license.
3 Wheel Basic Rider Course
The 3 Wheel Basic Rider Course is 20 hours long and consists of both classroom and riding instruction. It is designed to enhance street-riding skills and strategies for individuals who ride three-wheel vehicles. Upon successfully completing this course, students who are 18 years old or older will be granted a license waiver. A training motorcycle and DOT-approved helmet is provided with this course.
Where to Take An IDOT Motorcycle Rider Course in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Transportation offers a helpful map as well as other contact information that could help you find a Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP) training center closest to you. Visit their website to find out where you can take one of their rider safety courses and start your journey to becoming a safe and responsible motorcycle rider.
Getting Help If You’re In A Motorcycle Accident
New and inexperienced riders are often involved in motorcycle accidents. At The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, we understand how overwhelming a wreck can be for an inexperienced rider and we’re here to help. Because we’ve seen first hand how devastating injuries suffered in a bike wreck can be, we encourage Illinois motorcyclists to prioritize their safety and wear protective gear including a helmet every time they ride.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and need legal help, contact an experienced motorcycle attorney at our law firm for a free consultation. We can review the facts of your case, explain the relevant laws, and recommend the best course of action for you. We’ll fight to make sure you receive proper compensation including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.