If you are considering applying for a motorcycle license in the state of New Mexico, you may not know that there is a substantial list of requirements that you must first complete and present at your local MVD Express before obtaining your license to ride. The Land of Enchantment is home to more than 40 scenic motorcycle routes, making it a popular area for riders to explore sprawling deserts, luscious forests, and everything in between. However, there are also a number of motorcycle laws specific to New Mexico which you should first consider before applying for your motorcycle license. That’s why, in today’s article, we will be talking more in depth about required motorcycle courses, New Mexico’s motorcycle laws, and the many restrictions New Mexico residents must keep in mind when they decide to hit the open road on two wheels.

At MVD Express, we make it simple for you to renew your vehicle’s registration, take your driver’s test, receive your REAL ID, and so much more. We know that time is one of the most valued resources among most individuals, which is why we work hard to ensure that you never have to wait more than 15 minutes to be seen by a representative while visiting an MVD Express. By pairing exceptional service with minimal wait times, we remain committed to offering the highest level of satisfaction to all New Mexico residents so that you can Get In, Get Done, and Get Going. If you are interested in learning more about the several different courses and tests that you must first pass before receiving your motorcycle license, continue reading more on the subject below.

What You Will Need To Obtain Your Motorcycle License

While it is true that New Mexico issues several different motorcycle licenses that is dependent on the rider’s age, there are a number of requirements that must first be met before you can receive your very own license. Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, not only because it differs significantly from driving a car, but also because other drivers on the road are not properly trained to look out for motorcyclists. This is such a common problem, in fact, that many drivers will sport a “look out for motorcycles” bumper sticker on their cars. This is just one of the countless reasons why it is necessary for future motorcyclists to be aware of the many dangers while riding on heavily trafficked roads. Below are three mandatory tests that must be completed before you may legally operate a motorcycle in New Mexico.

Motorcycle License Test

While the two requirements below test your abilities while riding on the road, the New Mexico motorcycle license test is designed to test you on your knowledge of a number of motorcycle laws as well as how you should react during dangerous situations while riding. Similarly to a driver’s license test, a motorcycle license test can be conducted at your local MVD Express, and typically doesn’t take too long to complete. However, depending on your age, your required motorcycle license test can be waived, which we will discuss more in depth later on in this article.

Road Test

Just like a standard driver’s license road test, a motorcycle road test will measure your abilities while riding on public roads. This is typically the last step to receiving your motorcycle license, and many find that their motorcycle road test is relatively easy after completing the required motorcycle safety course.

Motorcycle Safety Course

Arguably one of the most important courses when preparing for your road test, New Mexico’s motorcycle safety course is designed to inform you of what to look out for while on the road. While taking your motorcycle safety course, you will learn how to handle emergency situations, how to communicate effectively with other drivers sharing the road, how to stop and make turns with ease, and how to find the best route to take while riding. While this course is optional for riders that are over the age of 18, it is highly recommended that you first complete a motorcycle safety course for both the safety of yourself, as well as others on the road.

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Age-Restricted Motorcycle Licenses

To ensure the safety of all individuals on the road, there are a number of motorcycle licenses in New Mexico that vary by age. Each type of motorcycle license carries a different list of requirements, which we will discuss more below.

Class M 13+ License

The Class M 13+ license is designed for riders that are 13 years old, but not older than 15 years of age. The Class M 13+ motorcycle license is the most limited license, given that it is issued to younger individuals.

  • Must Be At Least 13 Years Old
  • Mandatory Helmet Use
  • Proof of Motorcycle Safety Course Completion
  • Requires A Signature from A Parent or Guardian
  • Restricts Passengers from Riding
  • Must Ride A Motorcycle Below 100cc

Class M 15+ License

The second distinction of motorcycle licenses is the Class M 15+ License. Similarly to the Class M 13+ License, this motorcycle license also comes with a number of restrictions that are set in place for the rider’s safety. However, if the rider in question completes the basic motorcycle safety course, they will be given the option to waive their motorcycle license test altogether.

  • Must Be At Least 15 Years Old
  • Mandatory Helmet Use
  • Requires A Signature from A Parent or Guardian
  • Restricts Passengers from Riding

Class M 18+ License

The last type of motorcycle license, Class M 18+, is designated for those that are 18 years of age or older. This type of license offers the most freedom for riders, but comes with a few prerequisites that you should keep in mind. However, similarly to the Class M 15+ motorcycle license, riders 18 and older can waive their test upon proof of completion of the basic motorcycle safety course.

  • Must Be At Least 18 Years Old
  • Must take a written test on the specific size of the motorcycle they are wanting to ride

Required Paperwork

Just as there are a number of required documents that you must present when receiving your driver’s license, you must also be prepared to present several pieces of documentation when receiving your motorcycle license. This is a standard procedure that is necessary to verify your identity so that you can venture into New Mexico’s countless backroads on your motorcycle of choice. Below, you will be able to learn more about the required documentation that you must present to an MVD Express representative. However, it is important to note that you will also be required to present your proofs of completion along with these mandatory documents.

  • Your Original Birth Certificate, Or A Certified Copy
  • Two proofs of residency, such as a piece of mail or a utility bill
  • A parent or guardian to sign for you if you are under the age of 18
  • Your Social Security card, but laminated cards cannot be accepted
  • Contacts or glasses if you require them while taking the vision test
  • Proof of motorcycle license test or road test completion if you did not complete the basic motorcycle safety course

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Common Motorcycle Laws In New Mexico

Just as with any other state, New Mexico has its own set of motorcycle laws and regulations that you must abide by. You may think that you are compliant with the law while riding in New Mexico, however, many riders end up being ticketed for violating motorcycle laws that they were not fully aware of. You may have heard the old saying, “ignorance of the law excuses no one,” and the same remains true for motorcyclists. Failing to abide by the rules and regulations set in place by the state of New Mexico often results in fines and can even put yourself and others on the road in danger. Below are a few of the most notable laws that you should be aware of so that you can ensure that you remain in accordance with all traffic laws while riding.

Helmet Laws

Surprisingly, New Mexico’s helmet laws are relatively lax. In fact, if you are over the age of 18, helmet laws are nonexistent altogether. Those that are younger than the age of 18, however, are required to wear a motorcycle helmet that possesses some form of reflective properties. If you are one of the few individuals that are required to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, you should also keep in mind that your helmet should be compliant with U.S. Department of Transportation standards.

Eye Protection

While not all riders are required to wear a helmet, you will be required to wear a form of eye protection if your motorcycle does not possess a windshield. Eye protection is available in many forms such as goggles, glasses, or even face shields that are standard for many motorcycle helmets. Not only will eye protection help to deter unwanted dust, debris, and other particulates from coming in contact with your eyes, it will also help to keep you and others safe on the road by ensuring that your vision remains unaffected at all times.

Seating for Passengers

If you plan on using your motorcycle strictly for personal use, then you will not be required to have additional seating on your motorcycle. However, if you are planning on letting other individuals ride as passengers on your motorcycle, then you will be required to have additional seating that your passengers can safely use. This seating can either be featured on the back of your motorcycle or as a traditional sidecar.

Blinker Laws

While many states only require that motorcyclists signal turns by using their hands, New Mexico requires both a left and right turn signal on all vehicles. Failing to abide by this law will result in fines if not resolved. We want all drivers on the road to be as safe as possible, and that starts by ensuring that all drivers clearly indicate when they are planning on changing their course of direction.

Lane Splitting

If you have never operated a motorcycle before, then you may have never heard of the term“lane splitting.” This is a common phrase among motorcyclists, and it is as straightforward as it sounds. When a motorcyclist splits lanes, they are simply driving in the middle of two lanes to pass other vehicles. This is most commonly seen on the highway during times of congested traffic, as a motorcyclist can simply navigate their way through stop-and-go-traffic. However, this can be extremely dangerous for inexperienced riders, and this practice is illegal in almost every state, except California. New Mexico is no exception, and those who are seen lane splitting will be cited in the form of a hefty fine.

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Wearing A Helmet Can Save Lives

While it is not necessarily illegal for individuals 18 and older to operate a motorcycle without a helmet, it is incredibly dangerous. Although helmets cannot protect riders completely, they can certainly help to reduce the risk of motorcycle fatalities that occur throughout the country every day. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets were found to be, “about 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities. In 2003, there were 3,661 rider deaths in fatal motorcycle crashes. An effectiveness of 37 percent for motorcycle helmets suggests that an estimated 1,158 additional motorcyclists would have died were it not for the fact that they were wearing helmets.” This data sheds light on how wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle can increase the likelihood of surviving a serious accident.

At MVD Express, we are devoted to ensuring that your needs are addressed and met in a friendly and efficient manner. With 10 unique locations throughout The Land of Enchantment, we make it easy for New Mexico residents to find an MVD Express in their area. If you would like to learn more about motorcycle laws, written tests and road tests, or would simply like to schedule an appointment for receiving your motorcycle license, visit our website, or call our friendly team of professionals today at 505-226-9333. At your local MVD Express, we look forward to helping you Get In, Get Done, and Get Going!

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