Class M license now required in Alabama

Class M license now required in Alabama

Posted by Ben Baker on Jul 16th 2016

The Cotton State was the only holdout of the 50 states to let motorcycle riders hit the road without a Class M endorsement, until the general assembly changed the law this year.

Under the previous law, riders could take, for free, the Class M test. Riders who got this Class M are grandfathered under the new law.

The new law allows two ways to get a Class M:

1) The official written test;

2) A rider safety course.

The written test is $5. The cost for a rider safety course varies depending on who is offering the course.

The license can also go to riders 14-years-old and older. “A Class M motorcycle license with a motor-driven cycle restriction shall be issued to any person 14 years and older if the person has passed a motorcycle knowledge test designated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency or if the individual has successfully completed an Alabama Traffic Safety Center/Alabama Motorcycle Safety Program, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Basic Riders Course,” HB 212states in part.

The decision was hailed by many, including rider groups. Dixie ABATE pushed for the law. The group’s web page on the bill states, “Our main goal in the 2015 legislative session is a good "M" (Motorcycle) endorsement bill. Currently, Alabama does not require an M endorsement to operate a motorcycle on the highways.”

“It will make sure that those who are riding motorcycles are qualified and know enough about motorcycle safety,” said Rep. Phillip Pettus.

Alabama’s decades-old exception was apparently a mistake, according to Dixie ABATE. When the driver’s license bill was approved in 1975, whoever typed up the bill left the “M” out of one of the columns on license types.

In lobbying, Dixie ABATE listed a few problems with the 1975 law.

  • Military personnel who rode had to get a Class M endorsement from another state to ride on base. The military requires bikers to have the full biker license, if they have a motorcycle on base.

  • Inexperienced riders were having accidents. In 2012, 1,912 wrecks were recorded and the biker was listed at fault in 1,307 of them.

  • Because Alabama did not have a true Class M, riders moving to another state had to take that state’s test or a rider safety course to get a Class M there.