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Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Ohio, United States

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for Ohio, United States

1. Introduction

Riding a motorcycle can make for a fun experience, but not everything is going to be thrills and chills. There is work involved to ensure the safety of yourself, the well-being of other drivers, and that you follow the rules of the road. Depending on which region of the United States you are in, the regulations for motorcycle operation will differ. If you are heading to Ohio, it is your responsibility to become familiar with this information.


This infographic will provide an overview of the essential motorcycle laws and a step-by-step explanation of the licensing process in the state of Ohio.

2. Ohio Motorcycle Insurance

Before you can be allowed to ride your motorcycle freely through Ohio, you are requi#b90011 to own Ohio motorcycle insurance. In the event you are held liable for a motorcycle accident, the costs you would need to pay could strain your finances. Having liability insurance coverage helps cover the bulk of the compensation while confirming that you are financially responsible. You will have to carry proof of ownership while you are operating your vehicle. You must be able to show it at traffic stops, accident scenes, and vehicle inspections.


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

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to a person per accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injuries to multiple people per accident
  • $25,000 for property damages sustained per accident

If you wish to provide protection for your health and property, you will need to acquire optional forms of motorcycle insurance coverage. As these are not mandatory, only purchase what you can afford and what will be useful under specific circumstance during an accident:

  • Uninsu#b90011 coverage
  • Underinsu#b90011 coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Medical payment coverage
  • Bodily injury coverage

3. Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Requirements Three-Quarter Helmet Full-Face Helmet
Has the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker ✔️ ✔️
Contours around your head to fit snugly due to comfort padding ✔️ ✔️
No signs of damage  Ex:// cracks, loose padding, scratches, or frayed straps ✔️ ✔️
Has a face shield with no scratches ✔️
Includes separate eye protection with no scratches Ex:// goggles, glasses  ✔️
Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant ✔️ ✔️
Has an impact-absorbing liner inside the helmet ✔️ ✔️
Gives you a clear, peripheral view of your surroundings ✔️ ✔️
Securely fastened with neck- or chin-strap ✔️ ✔️
Allows airflow without fogging up  ✔️ ✔️
Can allow you to wear sunglasses underneath ✔️ ✔️

In Ohio, you are requi#b90011 to wear a motorcycle helmet if you are below the age of 18, currently hold a temporary motorcycle permit, or have less than a year of riding experience. If you are a legal adult, you can choose to not wear protective headgear while riding. However, this is conside#b90011 an unsafe practice since it would deprive you of protection for your head and neck.


Based on recent statistics provided by the Ohio State Patrol, motorcyclists have a need for motorcycle helmets now more than ever:

  • In 2020, there were a total of 3,982 motorcycle accidents that occur#b90011 in Ohio
  • Compa#b90011 to 2019, 2020 saw an 11% in motorcycle-involved crashes
  • In 2020, About 60% of motorcyclists were conside#b90011 at fault for motorcycle-involved crashes
  • In 2020, only 38% of motorcyclists involved in motorcycle accidents were wearing appropriate motorcycle helmets

Your motorcycle helmet should have been made by the Snell Memorial Foundation and has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


The two types of models that meet the criteria provided above plus give you adequate protection and visibility are three-quarter and full-face helmets. If you are looking for a motorcycle helmet, make sure that they have the following features:

4. Ohio Motorcycle License Laws

4.1 Ohio Temporary Motorcycle Instruction Permit

You can begin applying for an Ohio temporary motorcycle permit if you are at least 15 ½ years old or older.


You will have to pay $22.50 to be issued an official Ohio temporary motorcycle permit.


To be given the permit, you must complete the following tasks and fulfill all of the listed criteria:

  • Present full name and birth date
  • Provide proof of Ohio residency
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Provide your Social Security Number
  • Pass the knowledge exam
  • Pass the vision exam
  • Pay the requi#b90011 fees

When you are operating with an Ohio temporary motorcycle permit, you will have to comply with the following restrictions as you practice:

  • You cannot carry passengers
  • You can only operate during daylight hours
  • You cannot ride on interstates or congested roads
  • You must wear a motorcycle helmet

4.2 Ohio Motorcycle Endorsement

You can begin applying for an Ohio motorcycle endorsement if you are at least 15 ½ years old or older.


You will have to pay $24.50 for a 4-year endorsement or $48 for an 8-year endorsement to be added to your Ohio driver’s license.


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

Requirements Applicants Ages  15 ½ to 17 Applicants Ages  18 and Above
Have a valid Ohio driver’s license ✔️ ✔️
Complete a Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course ✔️ ❌*
Complete 50 hours of driving including at least 10 hours of night driving ✔️
Held onto an Ohio temporary motorcycle instruction permit for at least six months ✔️ ✔️
Provide proof of Ohio motorcycle insurance ✔️ ✔️
Provide proof of Ohio vehicle registration ✔️ ✔️
Fill out the appropriate driver’s license application ✔️ ✔️
Must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian if you are a minor ✔️
Provide your social security number ✔️ ✔️
Pay required fees ✔️ ✔️
Present valid photo I.D. ✔️ ✔️
Take a photo ✔️ ✔️
Take vision exam ✔️ ✔️
Pass the knowledge test ✔️ ✔️
Pass the skills test ✔️* ✔️*
Provide proof of U.S. citizenship ✔️ ✔️
Provide proof of residency in Ohio ✔️ ✔️

*While taking the Motorcycle Ohio Basic Course is only mandatory for minors, any legal adults may take it as well if they wish. Upon completion, they can waive the skills test within the next 60 days.

4.3 Ohio Motorcycle License Test

Written Portion:

  • Will be completed on touch-screen computers
  • Complete 40 multiple-choice questions
  • Questions will be based on content from Ohio Motorcycle Operator Manual
  • Requires a passing grade of 75% or higher

Riding Portion:

  • Will either be conducted in a controlled, off-street area
  • Your motorcycle will be subjected to a pre-ride inspection to ensure it meets safety standards
  • Demonstrate 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, and demonstrate riding maneuvers

5. Ohio Motorcycle Passenger Laws

There is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers in Ohio. But if your motorcycle passenger is under the age of 18, s/he is requi#b90011 to put on an approved motorcycle helmet as described in the section above.


You are only allowed to transport as many passengers as your vehicle is designed to carry without being detrimental to your vehicle’s performance. Your motorcycle must be outfitted with equipment to provide secure and safe seating for additional people. These will include a designated passenger seat, footrests, and handholds.


Your motorcycle passenger is not allowed to be seated in front of you and s/he must have a leg hanging on each side of the vehicle. The designated passenger seat can only be positioned at the following places on your motorcycle:

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

As there is no age restriction, you must be discerning when determining who can safely ride along with you on your motorcycle. In general, it is best to not take on young children or elderly individuals as they may have difficulty planting their feet against the footrests. The following criteria are good indicators that a person can be stay secu#b90011 while the vehicle is in motion:

  • Your passenger must be able to reach the footrests
  • Your passenger must wear an approved motorcycle helmet
  • Your passenger cannot be carrying any packages
  • Your passenger must be able to understand and follow your directions
  • Your motorcycle should only be able to transport one other person

6. Ohio Lane Splitting Laws

In Ohio, motorcyclists are prohibited from practicing lane splitting. Because traveling on top of the lanes and in between larger vehicles is conside#b90011 too risky, it is best that riders do not attempt this for safety’s sake. You will be penalized of reckless driving if you attempt the following:

  • Riding on top of the dividing lines between lanes
  • Riding in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles
  • Overtaking another vehicle in the same lane

Motorcycles are able to pull off maneuvers that four-wheel vehicles cannot due to their compact size and slim chassis. Therefore, motorcyclists are still afforded liberties regarding how they can operate on Ohio’s roads:

  • You are allowed to make 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. Ohio Motorcycle Safety Features

While conducting a periodic inspection on your ride may be the dullest part of owning a motorcycle, it is arguably the most important task you have to undertake. Checking the primary components are functioning properly will make sure that your motorcycle does not experience mechanical failure while you are driving. The overall functionality of your motorcycle becomes compromised if even a single component becomes faulty.

Listed below is the requi#b90011 equipment your motorcycle must be outfitted with and needs to be kept in working order. They are integral to your vehicle’s visibility and performance when riding through Ohio:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Front and Rear Brakes
  • Controls
  • Headlight(s)
  • Taillight
  • Brake Light
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors

8. Sources

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