The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Motorcycle Safety Program

January 2003

INTRODUCTION

RECENT TRENDS

NHTSA’S KNOWLEDGE BASE

NHTSA’S MOTORCYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM

CRASH PREVENTION

INJURY MITIGATION

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

CONCLUSION

REFERENCE

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MOTORCYCLE OPERATOR LICENSING

Motorcycle operator licensing is another major component to a comprehensive motorcycle safety program. By obtaining a specialized motorcycle license, a motorcyclist demonstrates the minimum ability to safely operate a motorcycle on the roadway. All 50 States require a motorcycle operator to obtain a license or endorsement to operate such a vehicle. Nearly one out of four motorcycle operators (27 percent) involved in fatal crashes in 2001 was not properly licensed (Improperly licensed defined as not licensed to operate a motorcycle, or a license suspended, revoked, expired, canceled or denied).   Motorcycle operators involved in fatal traffic crashes were more than 1.4 times as likely as passenger vehicle drivers to have a previous license suspension or revocation (18 percent and 13 percent, respectively). NHTSA will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to enforce licensing laws, and with motorcycling organizations to increase the number of properly licensed motorcyclists.   

NHTSA’s Motorcycle Operator Licensing Program:

    arrow Examine State Licensing Programs. As part of the rider education and training study discussed earlier, NHTSA is examining licensing practices in each State and the relationship between the rider education and training program and a State’s licensing practices. To the extent possible, NHTSA will encourage State licensing programs to work in concert with rider education and training programs to issue an operator license, as appropriate, upon successful completion of a rider-training course. Targeted completion date – September 2004

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