How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Indiana: Step-by-Step Guide for 2023

Dreaming of hitting the open road on two wheels in Indiana? Before you can enjoy the thrill of the ride, you need to secure a motorcycle permit. Navigating the process might seem daunting, but it’s simpler than you think once you know the steps.

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of a Motorcycle Permit: Securing a motorcycle permit is essential for legal riding in Indiana, ensuring you understand traffic rules and motorcycle operation.
  • Types of Permits: Indiana offers two types of motorcycle permits: the Motorcycle Learner’s Permit and the Motorcycle Endorsement Permit, each serving different needs.
  • Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must meet age, residency, and identification requirements, with specific rules for those under 16 and for adding motorcycle endorsements.
  • Steps to Obtain Permit: Key steps include passing a written motorcycle knowledge test and a vision test, with preparation aided by the Indiana Motorcycle Operator Manual and practice tests.
  • Supervised Riding and Restrictions: After obtaining a permit, supervised riding with restrictions (e.g., no highway riding, no passengers, no nighttime riding) is critical for gaining real-world experience.

Understanding Motorcycle Permits in Indiana

Why You Need a Motorcycle Permit

A motorcycle permit serves as your first step towards legal motorcycle riding in Indiana. This permit ensures you understand traffic rules and motorcycle operation before you ride independently. Without a permit, you risk penalties that can affect your driving record.

Types of Motorcycle Permits

Indiana provides two motorcycle permit types, each serving different needs:

  1. Motorcycle Learner’s Permit: This permit lets you practice riding under specific conditions. You must complete a knowledge test covering traffic laws and motorcycle-specific regulations. A learner’s permit is valid for one year, giving you ample time to practice before taking the skills test.
  2. Motorcycle Endorsement Permit: Existing drivers can obtain this permit to add a motorcycle endorsement to their license. You can bypass the learner’s permit stage by completing an approved motorcycle safety course. Upon course completion, you receive a waiver for the skills test when applying for the endorsement.

Eligibility Requirements for a Motorcycle Permit

Age Requirements

Indiana requires you to be at least 15 years old to apply for a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit. At this age, however, you must also be enrolled in a state-approved driver education course. If you are at least 16 years and 270 days old, you can bypass the driver education requirement. For an unrestricted motorcycle endorsement, you must be at least 18 years old.

Residency and Identification Requirements

To get a motorcycle permit in Indiana, you must be a resident of the state. Proof of residency includes documents such as a utility bill, bank statement, or rental agreement. Additionally, you must present valid identification. This can include a U.S. Passport, a birth certificate, or a green card. Ensure all identification documents are original or certified copies to meet the state’s requirements.

Steps to Getting Your Motorcycle Permit

Written Motorcycle Knowledge Test

Indiana requires passing a written motorcycle knowledge test to get a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit. The test evaluates your understanding of road rules, motorcycle operation, and safety practices. Study the Indiana Motorcycle Operator Manual thoroughly, as the exam questions draw from this guide. Retake the test, if necessary, but ensure to prepare adequately before attempting again to avoid delays in obtaining your permit.

Vision Testing Requirements

A vision test confirms that your eyesight meets Indiana’s standards for safe driving. Ensure your vision is at least 20/40, with or without corrective lenses, and a peripheral field of at least 120 degrees. If you fail, consult an eye care professional and address any issues before retaking the test. Bring any necessary corrective lenses when visiting the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to complete this requirement.

Preparing for the Motorcycle Permit Test

Study Materials and Resources

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) provides the Motorcycle Operator Manual, a crucial resource for test preparation. This manual, available online and in print, covers essential topics such as road rules, safety practices, and motorcycle operation guidelines. Study each chapter carefully; you’ll find valuable tips and diagrams that explain complex concepts clearly.

Online platforms offer additional study guides and flashcards to enhance your understanding of the manual’s content. Look for resources from reputable organizations like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) that align with Indiana’s testing standards. Combining various materials ensures a well-rounded grasp of the necessary knowledge.

Practice Tests and Courses

Taking practice tests helps identify knowledge gaps and familiarizes you with the test format. Websites like,, and the official Indiana BMV site offer free practice exams tailored to Indiana’s specific rules and regulations. Aim for consistent scores above 80% on practice tests before scheduling the actual exam.

Consider enrolling in a preparatory course if you need structured guidance. Many driving schools in Indiana offer motorcycle permit prep courses, both online and in-person. These courses focus on key test areas and provide practical tips for safe motorcycle operation. Investing time in practice and study maximizes your chances of passing the permit test on the first try.

After Obtaining Your Motorcycle Permit

Supervised Riding Period

After obtaining your motorcycle permit in Indiana, supervised riding becomes crucial for gaining real-world experience. You must ride under the supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator who is at least 18 and has held a motorcycle endorsement for a minimum of two years. This period allows you to familiarize yourself with various road conditions, traffic scenarios, and motorcycle handling.

Restrictions and Limitations

During the permit phase, Indiana imposes certain restrictions to ensure safety. You can’t ride your motorcycle on highways or carry passengers. Additionally, nighttime riding isn’t allowed. These limitations help minimize risks and enable you to focus on mastering basic skills. Only after you’ve gained sufficient experience and dual supervision can you proceed to the next steps in obtaining full licensure.


Getting your motorcycle permit in Indiana is a crucial first step toward becoming a skilled and responsible rider. By thoroughly studying the Motorcycle Operator Manual and preparing for the written test, you’ll set a solid foundation for your journey. Remember to take advantage of supervised riding opportunities to gain practical experience. Adhering to the permit phase restrictions ensures you focus on mastering essential skills safely before moving on to full licensure. Stay committed to learning and practicing, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the freedom of the open road.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of motorcycle permits are available in Indiana?

Indiana offers a motorcycle learner’s permit for riders who are at least 16 years and 180 days old. This permit allows you to practice riding under certain restrictions before obtaining a full motorcycle license.

What are the eligibility criteria for obtaining a motorcycle permit in Indiana?

To be eligible for a motorcycle permit in Indiana, you must be at least 16 years and 180 days old and pass a written knowledge test based on the Motorcycle Operator Manual.

How can I prepare for the written knowledge test in Indiana?

You should thoroughly study the Motorcycle Operator Manual and utilize practice tests and other resources to ensure you understand the material covered in the written knowledge test.

Why is supervised riding important after obtaining a motorcycle permit?

Supervised riding allows new riders to gain real-world experience under the guidance of a licensed motorcycle operator, helping them to develop their skills and increase their confidence on the road.

What restrictions are imposed during the motorcycle permit phase in Indiana?

During the permit phase, you are not allowed to ride on highways, carry passengers, or ride without the supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator to ensure safety and mastery of basic riding skills.