Chapter 2, Section C:
Motorcycles

Revised October 17, 2008


Definition (66-1-4.11G)
As used in the Motor Vehicle Code "motorcycle" means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, excluding a tractor.

Authorization to operate a motorcycle (66-5-2)(18.19.5.30 NMAC and 18.19.5.113 NMAC)
In order to operate a motorcycle on a New Mexico highway a driver must have a valid license with a motorcycle (W, Y or Z) endorsement.
 
Endorsement   Authorizes licensee to operate
W   any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine of 100 or more cubic centimeters piston displacement
Y   any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine of at least 50 but less than 100 cubic centimeters piston displacement
Z   any two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine of less than 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement

Moped exception (66-3-1101B)
Anyone with a valid driver's license or permit of any class may operate a moped. A motorcycle endorsement is not required.

Helmet required for drivers and passengers under age 18 (66-7-356)
No person under the age of 18 shall operate a motorcycle unless he is wearing a safety helmet that is securely fastened on his head in a normal manner, and that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. Nor shall any person carry a motorcycle passenger under the age of 18 unless the passenger is wearing a securely fastened safety helmet that meets federal standards.

Motorcycle license and endorsement at age 13 (66-5-5A(4))
A person 13 years of age or older who satisfactorily completes the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse offered by the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program (877-667-8880) may be issued a motorcycle (M) license with a Y or Z endorsement.

The applicant's certificate of completion of the MSF Basic RiderCourse is sufficient to waive both the written and the road test requirement, assuming the endorsement requested is consistent with the motorcycle on which the applicant qualified.

An initial licensee (i.e. a first-time license holder whose license is issued under the age of 18) may not carry any other passenger while driving a motorcycle.

Motorcycle license or endorsement at age 15
A person 15 years of age or older who satisfactorily completes the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse offered by the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program (877-667-8880) may be issued a motorcycle (M) license with a W, Y or Z endorsement, or may have a W, Y or Z endorsement added to his regular (D) instructional permit, provisional license or license.

The applicant's certificate of completion of the MSF Basic RiderCourse is sufficient to waive both the written and the road test requirement, assuming the endorsement requested is consistent with the motorcycle on which the applicant qualified.

The holder of an instruction permit with a motorcycle endorsement may not carry any other passenger while operating a motorcycle. (66-5-8G)

Off-highway vehicle parental supervision of driver under age 18 (66-3-1010.3C)
The driver of an off-highway motorcycle is not required to be licensed, However, as a general rule, an off-highway motor vehicle (OHV) operator who is under age 18 must be visually supervised by a parent. Parental supervision is not required if the OHV operator is at least: (1) 13 years of age and has a valid motorcycle license and an off-highway motor vehicle safety permit; or (2) 15 years of age and has a valid driver's license, instructional permit or provisional license and an off-highway motor vehicle safety permit.

Motorcycle drivers age 18 and over
Motorcycle operators who are age 18 and above are not required to take the MSF Basic RiderCourse, and are not required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. When adding a (W, Y or Z) motorcycle endorsement they are, however, required to take a road test on a motorcycle of appropriate size for the endorsement sought.