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Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety


Questions and Answers for Motorcyclists


What is the difference between a scooter and a moped?

A scooter is a style of two-wheeled vehicle and may be either a moped or a motorcycle. Two-wheeled vehicles are typically registered and licensed as motorcycles unless they meet all three of the following criteria.

  • Engine displacement of 50 cc or less

  • No more than two brake horsepower

  • Incapable of exceeding 30 miles per hour on a flat surface

Two-wheeled vehicles meeting all three of the above criteria are registered and licensed as mopeds.


Do I need a motorcycle license endorsement to operate a trike or motorcycle with a sidecar?

Three-wheeled motorcycle operators do need to pass a knowledge test and a riding skills test at a Driver and Vehicle Services exam station. Operators who successfully complete both tests are provided with a three wheel restriction on their drivers license as opposed to an endorsement. This restricts these operators to motorcycle trike or sidecar operation. Operators having a motorcycle endorsement are legal to operate both motorcycles and trikes and side car rigs.

I am an endorsed motorcyclist who has just moved to Minnesota from another state. Can I transfer my motorcycle license endorsement?

Yes. New Minnesota residents can transfer their motorcycle license endorsement to their new Minnesota driver's license at the time of application by passing the state's motorcycle operator's permit knowledge test at a Driver and Vehicle Services exam station. There is a $21 motorcycle endorsement fee. Study Minnesota's Motorcycle Operator's Manual. No operator skills retesting is required as long as the out-of-state license is not expired over one year.

I am on active duty in the military and stationed out of state. Is there a procedure for me to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on my Minnesota driver's license?

For a Minnesota resident to add a motorcycle endorsement to their Minnesota driver license while in the military, the applicant must submit proof of having passed comparable motorcycle knowledge and skills testing in the state of temporary residence. Acceptable proof of passing the knowledge test consists of having either:

  • A current Minnesota motorcycle permit expired less than one year.

  • Completing the motorcycle knowledge test if it is not currently on record and the Minnesota resident is here on leave.

  • Proof from another jurisdiction of having passed their motorcycle knowledge test.

  • Acceptable proof of passing the skills test consists of having:

    • A letter of completion on letterhead paper from the motorcycle course provider indicating:

      • The date the skills test was passed.

      • The type of skills test administered (MOST, ALT-MOST, BRC, RSS).

Note: a MSF card is not sufficient proof to verify that training was completed and comparable tests were passed.  
If currently out of state, the applicant must submit the acceptable proof of knowledge and skill testing, along with the completed out-of-state packet for a duplicate or renewal of the Minnesota driver license and appropriate fees ($21 if no Minnesota motorcycle permit is on file plus the cost of the license duplicate or renewal) to Driver and Vehicle Services, 445 Minnesota Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5195. Further questions can be directed to 651-297-3298 or

I am a Minnesota resident working out of state.  Is there a procedure for me to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on my Minnesota driver's license?

No. Minnesota residents must obtain a Minnesota motorcycle permit from a Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) exam station and pass a skills test at either a DVS exam station or by taking and passing an approved motorcycle safety course from an approved third party testing and training program in Minnesota.


Does a windshield meet Minnesota requirements for eye protection?

No. Riders must wear either a face shield, goggles, glasses or sunglasses (Minnesota state statute 169.974 subd. 4 (a)).


Does Minnesota require riders to wear a DOT approved helmet?

Riders operating on a permit and all riders and passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a DOT approved helmet. Although recommended, license endorsed operators and passengers over age 18 are not required to wear a DOT approved helmet (Minnesota state statute 169.974 subd. 4 (a)) .


Are motorcycle headlight modulators legal in Minnesota?

Yes since they are allowable by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS, Title 49, Part 571, Standard 108).


Are there standards that regulate muffler exhaust noise?

Mufflers should blend the exhaust noise into the overall vehicle noise and the exhaust system shall not emit or produce a sharp popping or cracking sound (Minnesota state statute 169.69).