You have to be 16 years old to ride a motorcycle in Wisconsin, but not any 16 year old can simply ride a motorcycle legally. There are numerous other requirements for receiving your instructional permit and becoming a fully-licensed motorcyclist in Wisconsin.

In this article, we’ll explore what steps you need to take to get started riding and what you can do to stay safe on the roads. Let’s dive right in!

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Wisconsin

To get your instructional permit, you’ll need to pass:

  1. The motorcycle knowledge test
  2. A motorcycle signing test
  3. A vision test

And if you’re younger than 18, you’ll also need to:

  1. Hold a probationary driver license: You need to either hold a probationary license or be able to prove that you’ve completed a driver education course. You’ll also need a parent or legal guardian to sponsor you.
  2. Complete a Basic Rider Course (BRC): For riders under 18, completing a state-approved BRC is a mandatory step for . This comprehensive course covers essential riding skills and safety measures, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for the road.
  3. Get an instructional permit: The journey to obtaining a motorcycle license in Wisconsin begins with acquiring an instruction permit. Individuals must be at least 16 and pass a written test to qualify. This permit allows for practicing motorcycle riding under specific restrictions.

Once you’ve held your instructional permit for six months, you can apply for a class M license. Your completion of the BRC will give you a waiver to skip the DMV motorcycle test. At this stage, a class M license will be added to your driver license and you’ll be able to enjoy unrestricted privileges on the road, provided that you adhere to the necessary training and safety measures.

Understanding these steps is crucial for meeting legal requirements and promoting a culture of responsible and well-prepared motorcyclists on Wisconsin roads. There’s no way to overstate the importance of proper training and education in safe riding.

While meeting the age requirement is the first step, participating in a motorcycle safety course significantly enhances your skills, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for the challenges and risks you’ll encounter on the road.

Safety Gear and Equipment

In the event of an accident, one of the most reliable methods for staying safe on a motorcycle is by wearing the proper protective gear.

  1. Protect yourself with headgear: Helmets are a non-negotiable component of motorcycle safety gear. While helmets aren’t legally required for adult drivers, they are for motorcyclists below the age of 18, and they’re recommended for riders of all ages. Choosing a quality helmet provides you with crucial head protection in the event of an accident, mitigating the risk of severe injuries like concussions, coup-contrecoup, and other traumatic brain injuries.
  2. Consider additional safety equipment: Beyond helmets, new riders should invest in protective gear such as jackets, gloves, and boots. These items serve as a second skin, offering additional protection against abrasions, impacts, and the elements. Wearing appropriate motorcycle gear enhances both your safety and comfort while riding.
  3. Enhance your visibility: Safety gear also contributes to enhanced safety while riding. Choosing gear with reflective elements or opting for brightly colored options improves your visibility on the roads.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for New Riders

Beyond legal requirements and licensing, new motorcycle riders should be equipped with fundamental safety tips to ensure a secure and enjoyable riding experience. Some essential tips include:

  1. Stay aware of your surroundings: A heightened awareness of road conditions is essential for safe riding. Always anticipate potential hazards, be vigilant of other motorists, and maintain a defensive approach to your riding. Simply put, never assume other drivers are watching out for you. Staying alert to the ever-changing dynamics of the road enhances your overall safety.
  2. Check the weather before you ride: Weather plays a significant role in motorcycle safety. Exercise caution in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow, and adapt their riding style accordingly. Understanding the impact of weather on road surfaces is crucial for maintaining control and preventing accidents.
  3. Maintain your motorcycle: A well-maintained motorcycle is essential when it comes to safety on the road. Develop the habit of conducting pre-ride checks, including inspecting your tires, brakes, lights, and other essential components. Proactive maintenance ensures that your motorcycle operates at its best, reducing the risk of mechanical failures on the road.

By being aware of road conditions, adapting to weather factors, and prioritizing maintenance, you contribute to a safer road environment for yourself and others out on the roads.

Additional Riding Courses and Education

In Wisconsin, various motorcycle riding courses are available, catering to both beginner and advanced riders. These courses offer a range of benefits, emphasizing continuous learning and skill improvement for motorcycle riders.

Beginner and Advanced Motorcycle Riding Courses in Wisconsin

Beyond the Basic RiderCourse you’re expected to complete before getting your class M license, you can continue your education with Wisconsin’s Basic RiderCourse 2, 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course, and an Advanced Rider Course (ARC).

These courses are designed to provide riders with additional skills and knowledge to operate a motorcycle safely and responsibly.

Additionally, the Introductory Motorcycling Experience course can help you find out if motorcycling is for you.

Understanding Traffic Laws and Rider Responsibilities

Wisconsin’s traffic laws for motorcycles are designed to promote safe riding practices and protect riders on the road. Some key aspects include:

  1. Lane Splitting: Unlike some states, Wisconsin prohibits lane splitting, which is riding a motorcycle between slow-moving or stopped traffic lanes.
  2. Helmet Laws: Wisconsin requires all motorcycle operators under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Compliance with this law is a legal obligation and a crucial safety measure.
  3. Motorcycle Endorsement: A motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license is necessary to operate a motorcycle legally in Wisconsin. The class M endorsement signifies that you have met the state’s requirements for motorcycle operation.

Riders should also be aware of their responsibilities on the road, including signaling, obeying speed limits, and respecting the rights of other motorists.

Hurt in a Crash? Talk to Pasternak & Zirgibel

For many Wisconsinites, motorcycling is an important part of their identity, even before they can ride. Maybe your family rides motorcycles, or the people in your community that you admire do. Whatever the reason, take precautions when you ride so that you always have the opportunity to get back on the bike.

Motorcycle crashes can be incredibly dangerous. Injuries could prevent you from working for weeks or months, or even be life-changing in their severity. If you’re in a crash, recovering the maximum amount of compensation is essential for ensuring you maintain a high quality of life and aren’t burdened by medical expenses or a new cost of living.

At Pasternak & Zirgibel, we’re dedicated to representing the victims of crashes. Frank Pasternak and Jeff Zirgibel will personally handle your case, and unlike other firms in Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area, we won’t settle for a penny less than you deserve.

Learn more about our firm today, and check out our additional resources for Wisconsin motorists.