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Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Minnesota, United States

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Minnesota, United States

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Earning the credentials and learning how to work a motorcycle may seem like a daunting task at first. You have to memorize the fundamentals from a manual, take exams at the DVS, and practice actually riding your motorcycle. However, you may find this ordeal less difficult if you know what to expect.

Since being familiar with Minnesota’s motorcycle laws and licensing process is integral to ensuring safe and smooth rides in this state, this infographic will be useful for novice motorcyclists, out-of-state tourists, or experienced drivers who are interested in taking their motorcycles to this region of the United States.

2. Minnesota Motorcycle Insurance

Minnesota Motorcycle Insurance

No matter how attentive or experienced a motorcyclist is, sometimes accidents just happen. To prepare for such an eventuality, you are required to own Minnesota motorcycle insurance before you can begin operating a motorcycle in this state. It will help you provide compensation to any affected parties involved in an accident and prevent your finances from being strained. Always check that you are carrying proof of Minnesota motorcycle insurance while traveling through Minnesota. You will need to show it to local law enforcement or affected parties following a collision.

Your liability insurance coverage must be able to cover the minimum costs for the following accident-related fees:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury to a person per accident
  • $60,000 for bodily injuries to multiple people per accident
  • $10,000 for property damages sustained per accident

While not mandatory, you can obtain additional forms of insurance coverage that provide protection solely for your health and property. They can help in specific circumstances related to an accident and help make it easier for you to be compensated for any harm done to you:

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured

3. Minnesota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Minnesota Motorcycle Helmet Laws1 Minnesota Motorcycle Helmet Laws2

All motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear an approved motorcycle helmet if they intend to travel in Minnesota. While any motorcyclists over the age of 18 can ride without a motorcycle helmet if they want to, it is not recommended. Traveling without a motorcycle helmet would deprive you of protection to your head and neck that could save your life.

In recent years, most fatalities in Minnesota motorcycle accidents have been the result of motorcyclists refusing to wear proper motorcycle helmets:

  • In 2014, 63% of motorcycle fatalities had not been wearing motorcycle helmets. If they had, 37 for every 100 fatalities could have possibly survived their accidents.
  • In 2016, 52 motorcycle fatalities were reported and a total of 5,251 people were killed in motorcycle accidents.
  • In 2017, 53 motorcycle fatalities were reported and a total of 4,798 people were killed in motorcycle accidents.

When picking out an approved motorcycle helmet, you should choose the one that was made from quality materials by the Snell Memorial Foundation. It must also satisfy the safety requirements laid out by the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are two types of motorcycle helmets that are accepted in Minnesota: the three-quarter and full-face helmets.

Listed below are the features and requirements that the motorcycle helmet must have if you are a minor planning to ride a motorcycle in Minnesota:

Minnesota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

4. Minnesota Motorcycle License Laws

4.1 Minnesota Motorcycle Instruction Permit

If you are under the age of 18, you are required to own a Minnesota motorcycle instruction permit first before you can be issued the full endorsement. You can begin applying for one if you are at least 16 years old.

You will have to pay a fee of $29 to be officially issued a Minnesota motorcycle instruction permit. The permit will be valid for one year, but you are only required to hold onto it for six months.

During the application process, make sure that you have met or can complete the following requirements:

  • Complete Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center Basic Rider Course
  • Provide proof of I.D.
  • Provide proof of Minnesota residency
  • Provide proof of Minnesota motorcycle insurance
  • Pay required fees
  • Pass the vision exam
  • Pass the knowledge test

A motorcyclist in possession of a motorcycle instructional permit is only allowed to operate a motorcycle if he/she complies with these criteria:

  • You are not allowed to carry passengers
  • You can only practice during daylight hours
  • You must wear head and eye protection at all times
  • You are not allowed to travel on state highways or interstates

4.2 Minnesota Motorcycle Endorsement

After holding a motorcycle instruction permit for the required amount of time or upon you becoming 18 years old, you will be eligible to get a Minnesota motorcycle endorsement.

You will have to pay a fee of $29 to be officially issued a Minnesota motorcycle endorsement. As this does not share any of the restrictions from the motorcycle instruction permit, you have greater freedom when riding on Minnesota’s roads and highways.

Listed below are the requirements you will need to fulfill to obtain a New Mexico motorcycle license. Depending on your age when you approach the final step, the list of criteria may differ between motorcyclists:

Minnesota Motorcycle Endorsement

*While optional if you are 18 years old or above, you can have the riding portion of the Minnesota motorcycle license test waived if you possess a Minnesota instruction permit and manage to complete a Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center Basic Rider Course.

4.3 Minnesota Motorcycle License Test

Minnesota Motorcycle License Test

Written Portion:

  • Will be completed on touch-screen computers
  • Complete 25 multiple-choice questions
  • Questions will be based on content from Minnesota Motorcycle & Motorized Bicycle Manual
  • Requires a passing grade of 80% or higher

Riding Portion:

  • Will be conducted in an actual traffic environment or in a controlled, off-street area
  • Examiner will conduct a pre-ride inspection to ensure your motorcycle meets safety standards
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of motorcycle operation
  • You will be tested on your ability to stay within the speed limit, adjusting speed and position, maintaining visibility, operating under stress, accelerating, braking, turning, stopping, and swerving
  • The examiner will grade you based on how well you ride at safe speeds, stay within the lanes, follow the correct path, and demonstrate riding maneuvers

5. Minnesota Motorcycle Passenger Laws

In Minnesota, there is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers. However, the lack of an age restriction does not automatically mean it is safe for everyone to ride with you on your motorcycle. Therefore, there are other criteria to keep in mind when determining who can or cannot be a passenger on your motorcycle:

  • Passenger below the age of 18 must wear an approved motorcycle helmet similar to yours at all times
  • Your passenger must be able to reach the footrests
  • Your passenger must be able to understand and follow your directions
  • Your motorcycle should only be able to transport one other person

If you wish to transport a passenger, your motorcycle must be fitted with both a designated passenger seat and adjustable footrests. When deciding where you would like the passenger seat to be on your motorcycle, you can position it either:

  • At the back of a large driver’s seat
  • Near the rear with a separate saddle
  • Fixed to the side as a sidecar

6. Minnesota Lane Splitting Laws

It is illegal for motorcyclists to attempt at lane splitting in Minnesota. Whenever you are traveling on laned roads or highways, you cannot engage in any of the following behavior:

  • You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines between lanes
  • You cannot ride in between adjacent rows of vehicles that are stopped
  • You cannot overtake another vehicle sharing the same lane

Motorcyclists cannot bypass other vehicles by using whatever narrow space is available on the road. However, they are permitted to practice lane sharing thanks to the maneuverability and design of their rides. Keep the following rules of the road in mind while you are traveling through Minnesota:

  • You are entitled to full use of the space within your current lane
  • You can only share a lane with another motorcycle if:
    • Both parties stay apart at least two abreast
    • Both parties consent beforehand

7. Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Features

A motorcycle can last a long time if it suffers no damage from accidents or is properly stored away when not in use. However, if it is not given periodic maintenance every few weeks, the machinery will start to fail. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is wrong with your motorcycle at a first glance. That is why you should closely examine the state of your motorcycle for any punctures or dents. Fixing those will restore your motorcycle’s functionality and ensure it performs at peak capacity.

Make sure that your motorcycle has the required equipment installed and that each of the different feature’s function correctly while your vehicle is still parked:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Brake system
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Taillight (Red or Yellow)
  • Stop lamp (Red or Yellow)
  • Reflector
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Turn signals
  • Rearview mirrors

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