Image of a man writing a motorcycle around orange cones while a man with a clipboard watches on

Riding a motorcycle is an adventure and an exciting way to enjoy the roads of South Carolina. However, to be as safe and responsible as possible, a rider must have knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations, plus plenty of experience.

You must pass a road test to obtain a South Carolina motorcycle license. The test involves demonstrating your riding ability on an off-street, closed track. However, it is difficult to develop safe riding skills without hands-on practice. So how do you find a way to practice your riding skills safely and legally without a license? Read on to find out.

Is it Legal to Ride Without a License?

You must own a motorcycle (Class M) license to ride a standard motorcycle on South Carolina’s public roads. If you don’t have a Class M license, you can hone your riding skills by getting a Motorcycle Beginner’s Permit from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).

How the South Carolina Motorcycle Beginner’s Permit Works

To apply for a motorcycle beginner’s permit, you must follow these steps:

  • Be at least 15 years old. A parent or legal guardian must accompany applicants under the age of 18 to provide consent.
  • Visit a local SCDMV office, request a copy of the beginner’s permit application, and fill it out.
  • Provide the filled-out application alongside documents proving your identity, citizenship, social security number, birth date, and South Carolina address.
  • Pass the SCDMV vision test.
  • Pass the written test.
  • Pay all applicable fees: $2 for the written test and $2.50 for permit processing fees as of February 2023.

Motorcycle beginner’s permits, also known as learner’s permits, are valid for 180 days and do not function as full licenses. However, they give you the legal right to practice riding under specific conditions:

  • Unaccompanied during daylight hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time)
  • Accompanied at any time of the day (including at night) by a rider aged 21 or older with a valid Class M license and at least one year of riding experience.

How and Where to Practice Riding

Beginner motorcycle riders have two solutions to practice their riding skills before obtaining a valid license. To get practice, you consider taking a riding class and practicing on private property.

Taking a Riding Class

Enrolling in a riding class is one of the most comprehensive ways of ensuring new riders learn everything they need in a safe and controlled environment.

While various organizations offer motorcycle riding classes, the best options for new riders in South Carolina are:

Many of these tests qualify for the SCDMV waiver process and have been evaluated by the SCDMV as equivalent to the state’s skill test, allowing you to receive a Class M license.

Practicing on Private Property

If you want to practice independently, you can try riding a motorcycle on private property with your valid learner’s permit. If you have access to land owned by a friend, family, or another trusted person, ask permission to ride your motorcycle on their property.

Practicing on a Track

Riding practice on tracks designed for racing or sporting events isn’t only for advanced riders. Novices can also benefit from using a track for practicing fundamentals. They offer a safe, controlled, and enclosed environment with proximity to other riding enthusiasts.

Practicing in an Empty Parking Lot

The parking lots of many facilities offer novice riders opportunities to practice fundamental motorcycle skills. However, ensure you have approval to practice before riding. Riding on private property without permission may expose you to a trespassing charge.

Ride Safe with Joye Law Firm

At Joye Law Firm, we stand behind motorcycle riders. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, you can count on our team of Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident attorneys to provide compassionate, skilled legal representation for your case.

At Joye Law Firm, we can assist you with every aspect of your claim, from investigating the cause of the accident to filing your lawsuit. We understand the difficulty of negotiating a claim with an uncooperative insurance company, which is why we never add to your financial burden. As your motorcycle representative, we will only recover a fee if we successfully win a settlement or verdict in court.

Contact us today for a free case review to discuss the circumstances of your crash.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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