How to Pass a Motorcycle Road Test

by Treena Herington

You have mastered the skills of motorcycle riding and passed the written exam. Only one thing stands between you and riding the open road--the road test. Knowing what to expect can lessen any anxiety you feel about taking this test and help you pass on the first attempt. Before you schedule your test through your local Department of Motor Vehicles office, make sure that you have the proper equipment and documents. Here are some helpful pointers.

Step 1

Arrive on time. The examiner will ask for all documentation. Make sure that your documents are easily accessible. Before you begin your road test the examiner will ask you to identify certain parts of your motorcycle, including the front and rear brakes, right and left turn signals, clutch lever and gear shifter peg.

Step 2

Once the examiner is satisfied that you know your motorcycle parts your test will begin. Some DMV locations have a large area set aside for a basic skills test before you ride in traffic. Road cones are placed in the area and the examiner will instruct you to maneuver your motorcycle around the cones. This tests your ability to start, make right and left turns and stop.

After passing the basic skills test the examiner will give you and the passenger vehicle driver instructions for the road test. Pay close attention to his instructions. He will tell you the streets that you will travel and instruct you on making turns. The passenger vehicle will follow you while you ride your motorcycle. The driver will guide you by horn signals. When the examiner instructs her to signal a right turn, the driver will honk the horn once or twice, depending on the examiner's instructions. When you hear the horn, proceed to make the right turn. For a left turn, the driver will honk a designated number of times.


  • While you are riding the examiner will be grading your performance. Here are a few tips to ensure that you earn high marks: 1. When leaving the DMV parking area use your signals to show you are turning onto the street. 2. Regularly check your rear-view mirrors. The examiner wants to see that you are very aware of traffic. Don't just move your eyes, move your head as you check the mirrors to make sure the examiner sees you. 3. Don't weave back and forth in your lane of traffic. Ride straight and stay straight. 4. Watch speed limits and maintain a proper speed. 5. Turn on the appropriate turn signal switch as soon as you hear the horn of your passenger vehicle. If your motorcycle is not equipped with auto-shutoff turn signals, make sure that you turn the signal light off as soon as the turn is complete. 6. When changing lanes first check your rear-view mirror and also look over your shoulder to check your blind spot. Make sure to use the appropriate turn signal. 7. Never cross over a solid white line. 8. After stopping at a stop sign, mentally count to three before taking off. To be sure, use the old trick of "One 1000, two 1000, three 1000." 9. When you return to the DMV use your turn signal before entering the parking area and before pulling into the parking slot.


  • Knowing what to expect can lessen your anxiety and help make your road test a day of celebration. Always ride safe.

Items you will need

  • Motorcycle
  • Passenger vehicle with a licensed driver
  • Proper riding equipment including a helmet, long sleeved shirt or jacket, long pants and low heeled shoes or boots
  • Proof of liability insurance for your motorcycle and passenger vehicle
  • Proof you have passed the written exam

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