Mainers who are seeking to earn a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license will now be required to complete a hands-on rider education course, 

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says Governor Paul LePage has signed into law LD 1483, a bill that includes a provision requiring all Maine residents who are seeking to earn a motorcycle endorsement on their license to complete the Basic RiderCourse.

Dunlap says the new law, which was enacted as emergency legislation, went into effect April 15.

The law change was proposed by the Department of the Secretary of State in an effort to increase rider safety.  Dunlap says the riding season of 2015 was the deadliest since 1991, with 32 motorcycle fatalities on Maine roads.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Prior to the law enactment, prospective motorcyclists could choose to take either the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Maine Motorcycle Safety Education Course (MMSEC), which was an 8-hour classroom-only course that allowed participants to earn their permit and later take a road test to get their motorcycle endorsement.

Now, only the Basic RiderCourse will be recognized by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for motorcycle licensing. This 15-hour course combines classroom instruction with hands-on training from trained RiderCoaches, using the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum approved by the BMV. Rider education schools are located throughout the state, though currently none are in Aroostook County.

A written test and a motorcycle skills test are administered at the completion of the Basic RiderCourse. Those who pass the written test are eligible to receive their motorcycle permit and complete a road test administered by the BMV at a later date. Those who pass the skills test and hold a valid driver's license are also eligible for a road test waiver.

Although the law change is already in effect, those who complete the classroom-only MMSEC course by May 15, 2016 will be grandfathered and can complete their road test to earn their endorsement during their permit period. Permit renewals will no longer be issued, so if the permit expires and the rider has not successfully completed the road test, that rider will have to complete the Basic RiderCourse.

Maine residents who already have a motorcycle endorsement on their license will not be required to take the course, but are encouraged to consider the Experienced Rider Course (ERC), which is also offered at many rider education sites, though, again not currently in Aroostook County.

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles contributed to this report