Evaluation of Motorcycle Licensing and Training Requirements

Motorcyclists account for a disproportionate number of overall traffic fatalities. Past efforts to improve motorcycle safety have largely focused on helmets, rider impairment, and operator training. Another potential focus area - motorcycle licensing procedures - has received less attention, despite being identified as a prospective focal point by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Motorcycle licensing requirements differ considerably across states with regard to tiered licensing practices, rider education, testing requirements, permit restrictions, and other aspects. Some studies have found that more restrictive licensing elements, such as requiring a skills test to obtain a permit, are associated with reductions in motorcyclist fatalities. However, research in this area has been limited and is somewhat out of date, which hinders the ability to assess best practices. Potential changes to motorcycle licensing procedures seldom gain traction, as most states lack the financial resources to investigate best practices. NTSB has concluded that motorcycle licensing practices have not been sufficiently evaluated with regard to their effectiveness and impact on rider safety. The objectives of this project are to (1) evaluate the current state of the practice for motorcycle licensing in the United States and (2) develop recommendations for improvement based on the latest empirical data.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $400000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project BTS-27

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Start Date: 20230824
  • Expected Completion Date: 20260823
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01852500
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project BTS-27
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jul 21 2022 1:01PM