What Do I Need to Ride a Motorcycle in Hawaii?

Dec 18, 2023


Picture of two Vanderhall autocycles in a parking lot in Hawaii with a beautiful sunset and mountains in the background

In this short guide, you’ll find everything you need to feel ready to ride a motorcycle in Hawaii. Whether you’re a Hawaii resident looking to ride, an out-of-state traveler, you’re moving to the state, or you’re traveling internationally, you can find everything you need to know about riding a motorcycle in the Aloha state, such as age requirements, licensing requirements, driving tips, and more! 

Understanding Hawaii’s Motorcycle Licensing Guidelines

In the picturesque state of Hawaii, crystal clear skies and warm sun make it the perfect place to hit the road on two wheels. But before you take the plunge and travel to or move to Hawaii to ride a motorcycle, it’s important to double-check the state’s licensing requirements for motorcyclists. 

Age Requirements

The minimum age to apply for a motorcycle license in Hawaii is 16. Applicants under 18 years old must complete a driver’s education program approved by the Hawaii Department of Education. However, if you wish to rent a motorcycle in Hawaii, most rental companies, including Riders Share, require riders to be 21 and older. 

Hawaii’s Class 2 Motorcycle License Requirements

  1. Apply for a Class 2 Instruction Permit
  2. Pass a vision and fingerprinting test/check
  3. Take a motorcycle written test, and if you don’t already have your standard driver’s license, you’ll need to pass that written test, too!
  4. During this period (permit), you can’t ride with passengers and can’t operate your motorcycle at night.
  5. 180-day permit requirement
  6. 16-18 years old: complete the Driver Education Student Completion Certificate and a Behind-the-Wheel Student Completion Certificate
  7. To obtain a motorcycle or motor scooter license in Hawaii, you must pass an off-street skill test. 

International Motorcycle Riders

You must be at least 18 years old if you're a foreign driver. You can use your driver's license from your home country for up to one year after you arrive in the United States. Your passport will show the date you entered the U.S. It's a really good idea for you to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well. This will help you communicate more easily with police officers in Hawaii if you need to. On average, you would still need to be 21 and up to rent a motorcycle in Hawaii across any of the islands with most rental companies, including Riders Share.

Moped vs. Motorcycle/Motor Scooter

You can operate a moped in Hawaii using your current driver's license. If you don’t have a current driver’s license and want only to drive a moped, you would need to get a Class 1 license. However, to operate a motorcycle or motor scooter in Hawaii, you must obtain a Class 2 license (motorcycle license). A moped is classified as a small, low-powered, two-wheeled vehicle, typically with an engine size of 50cc or less, designed for short-distance travel and lower speeds. 

black Harley Davidson motorcycle parked on a road in Hawaii

Motorcycle insurance when riding in Hawaii

Hawaii requires a minimum of liability insurance when riding a motorcycle. You must carry proof of registration, insurance, and license when riding on the roads throughout the islands. If you’re renting a motorcycle, make sure that you still maintain your own personal liability insurance. Riders Share offers Protection Plans at checkout but still encourages renters to have your insurance on deck to protect yourselves further. 

What gear should I wear when riding a motorcycle in Hawaii?

When riding a motorcycle in Hawaii, wearing appropriate gear for safety and comfort is necessary. 

  • Helmet: A DOT-approved helmet is crucial for head protection. Hawaii law requires helmets.
  • Eye Protection: Goggles or a visor on your helmet will protect your eyes from debris, insects, and wind.
  • Jacket: A motorcycle jacket, preferably made of leather or reinforced materials, can protect against abrasions in case of a fall.
  • Gloves: Durable gloves provide grip and protect your hands.
  • Pants: Heavy-duty pants, like leather or specially designed motorcycle pants, offer protection for your legs.
  • Boots: Sturdy, over-the-ankle boots protect your feet and ankles.

Remember, Hawaii's weather can be warm and humid, so choose breathable yet protective gear. Also, be aware of sudden weather changes and carry rain gear if necessary. Safety should always be your top priority when riding.

Everything You Need to Ride a Motorcycle in Hawaii, or to Rent One. 

Riders Share wants to ensure that all motorcycle riders in Hawaii are safe and legal on the roads. All information in this blog is correct as of November 2023. Please check Hawaii Transportation’s official guidelines and permits, licensure, and insurance laws for the most up-to-date information. Riders Share is a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental platform with hubs in O’ahu/Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, and more locations throughout the islands.  Ride safely and ensure you’re covered and in the know before taking your next trip to Hawaii!