So you finally bought a beginner bike to fulfill your dream of riding down Kentucky’s bluegrass-lined roads. Congratulations! But before you take your bike out of your garage, make sure that you have a motorcycle license.

In Kentucky, a driver’s license for cars will not cut it. Every motorbike operator needs either a motorcycle permit or a motorcycle license.

If you’re new to Kentucky or a beginner at riding motorbikes in the state, here is what you need to know about getting your motorcycle license.

The Rundown

Different people would have different sets of conditions when applying for a license. But here are the universal basics you should know when you’re trying to get your motorcycle license in Kentucky.

  • Only the Driver Licensing Regional Office and your county’s Circuit Court Clerk’s Office can issue motorcycle licenses.
  • An applicant needs to be at least sixteen years old to get a motorcycle permit.
  • Anyone under eighteen years old has to acquire their guardian’s permission before applying for a license.
  • Drivers under eighteen are not allowed to ride with passengers and from midnight to six in the morning.
  • The exceptions for under eighteen riding restrictions include emergencies and school or work-related activities.
  • You cannot use your driver’s license when riding motorcycles unless you have a combination license.
  • The pricing for your license differs on its lifespan.

New Kentucky Residents

New Kentucky residents with out-of-state motorcycle licenses have thirty days to get their motorcycle credentials. Here is what you need to do when applying for a motorcycle license:

  1. The first step is to prepare the documents. Take note that applicants below eighteen years old need to present a School Compliance Verification Form from your out-of-state school. You can ask for assistance from your current Kentucky school district to get it.
  2. Surrender your license or submit a current driving record if your license has expired for more than a year.
  3. Pass the written exam.
  4. Pass the vision test.
  5. Pay the motorcycle licensing fee.

Kentucky Residents

Motorcycle licenses in Kentucky either have a four or eight-year lifespan. But regardless of which one you choose, here is what you need to do to acquire your permit.

  1. Get a motorcycle instruction permit which you have held for at least a month.
  2. Present a Kentucky Motorcycle Safety Education (MSE) course certificate of completion or written proof that you passed the Kentucky State Police’s motorcycle road skill exam.
  3. Show documents proving your legal name, birthday, social security number, and Kentucky residency.
  4. Pay the motorcycle licensing fee.

Kentucky Motorcycle Instruction Permit

Before Kentucky residents are allowed to apply for a motorcycle license, they must earn their motorcycle instruction permit from their local Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s office. This permit is valid for a year and allows you to do two things: enroll in motorcycle education courses and practice riding but with restrictions. Here is what you need to do.

  1. Pass the written exam based on the Kentucky Motorcycle Manual.
  2. Pass a vision screening.
  3. Provide proof of your identity, Kentucky residency, and social security number.
  4. Pay for the motorcycle permit fee.


Applying for a motorcycle license in Kentucky is extremely easy. You only need to get all your documents in order, pass the necessary exams, and pay the fees, and you’re free to ride your beginner bike all you want. Always remember to ride safely!

Do you have friends with beginner bikes who don’t know how to get their motorcycle licenses in Kentucky? Share this article with them and point them in the right direction. Are you not from Kentucky? No worries, browse through my blogs, and you may find what you need!