In Oregon

Motorcycle Riders

All motorcycle operators must:

  • Have a valid motorcycle-endorsed driver license or have a valid motorcycle instruction permit.
  • Wear a motorcycle helmet that is DOT-compliant.
  • Register their motorcycle and display a valid license plate.
  • Have liability insurance (25/50/20).
  • Carry their endorsed driver license or motorcycle instruction permit and driver license, vehicle registration card and current proof of insurance when riding.

Motorcycle operators riding on a motorcycle instruction permit must also:

  • Be supervised by an endorsed rider 21 or older operating a separate motorcycle.
  • Ride only during daylight hours.
  • Not carry passengers.

The penalty for riding without a motorcycle endorsement can be as much as $720 plus court costs – double that in a school or work zone. Learn about how to earn a motorcycle endorsement in Oregon.

Motorcycle Equipment

To be street legal, a motorcycle or moped must have:

  • A white headlight, illuminated at all times. Motorcycles must have at least one, but not more than three, white headlights. Modulating headlights are allowed during daylight hours.
  • At least one red taillight with a red stop lamp.
  • At least one red reflector on the rear, one white license plate light, one rear-view mirror and a horn.
  • Turn signal lights. Motorcycles built before 1973 are not required to have turn signal lights, however, vehicles without turn signal lights may not be operated after dark.
  • Fenders on all wheels.
  • At least one brake operated by hand or foot.
  • An exhaust system in good working order and in constant operation. The exhaust must prevent the discharge of any visible emissions and keep noise levels at or below standards set by the Department of Environmental Quality.
  • A valid license plate mounted to be easily read and plainly visible from the rear.

Motorcycle Laws

A motorcycle may share a lane only with one other motorcycle. Lane sharing (lane splitting/filtering) with any other vehicle is illegal.

Operators may not transport or carry any object that interferes with their ability to hold the handlebars.

If a motorcycle operator carries a passenger, the motorcycle must have a passenger seat and footrests. Passengers are only permitted to ride on a passenger seat behind the operator or in a side car. Passengers are required to wear DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets.

There are no requirements for passenger age or size in Oregon. However, operators should use good judgment. Passengers should be large enough to reach the footrests, strong enough to hold on securely and mature enough to follow directions and behave predictably.

Oregon’s Red Light Law

After coming to a complete stop, if a traffic light controlled by a vehicle sensor fails to detect the motorcycle after waiting one full cycle of the light, the rider may proceed with caution, yielding to other vehicles.

Three-Wheelers, Sidecars and Trikes

“Autocycles” (three-wheeled vehicles with a steering wheel and bucket seat) as defined in ORS 801.133 do not require a motorcycle endorsement. All other types of three-wheelers require a motorcycle endorsement. However, you may apply for a restricted (3W-only) endorsement at DMV. Applicants must pass the DMV motorcycle knowledge test to qualify, but are not required to complete a rider training course or pass a DMV skill test/road test.


All moped operators must:

  • Have a valid driver license or moped-restricted class C license.
  • Wear a motorcycle helmet that is DOT-compliant.
  • Register their moped and display a valid license plate.
  • Carry liability insurance (25/50/20).
  • Carry their driver license and current proof of insurance when riding.
  • Not carry passengers.

Mopeds have the same equipment requirements as motorcycles. Moped operators are generally required to follow the same laws as those for motorcycle operators unless noted otherwise.

To be classified and registered as a moped, the vehicle cannot be capable of speeds of more than 30 mph on level ground, and if the power source is a combustion engine, the engine must be 50 cc or less.

Moped operators are not required to have a motorcycle endorsement. However, moped operators must have a valid class C or higher driver’s license.

“Scooter” is an informal term generally used to describe a small motorcycle with a step-through design, usually with an automatic transmission. A scooter can be a motorcycle or a moped, depending on its engine size and speed capability as noted above.

For More Information

For more information about operating motorcycles and mopeds in Oregon, refer to Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) or the Oregon Motorcycle & Moped Manual (PDF).

For additional information about operating motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in Portland, refer to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (BOT) Motorcycles FAQ.

The information presented on this page is intended for educational uses only. It is not to be used as legal advice. For additional clarification, consult Oregon Revised Statutes or a law enforcement representative.