The Three-Wheel Basic Rider Course (3WBRC)

Do you currently operate a 3-wheel motorcycle, or trike, or are you thinking of entering motorcycling on a 3-wheeler? Whether you currently ride a trike and need a safety certification or are seeking training and licensing, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Motorcycle Safety Program offers a 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course (3WBRC).

This course is being offered at five of the Program’s training centers:

  • ​All American Harley Davidson
  • Eisenhauer’s Chesapeake Harley-Davidson
  • Harley Davidson of Frederick*
  • Motorcycle Safety Academy*
  • Safety Zone Riding School*
*Provides a 3-wheel motorcycle for student use.

This course is like the 2-Wheel BRC, but the classroom sessions and range exercises are designed specifically for 3-wheel motorcycles.  Three-wheeled motorcycles include the traditional trike, with two wheels in the rear, and reverse trikes, with two wheels in the front.

A trike has a seat that is straddled by both the rider and the passenger. To be used in the class a trike should be no more than 60 inches wide and be able to make a complete U-turn in less than 40 feet.  Autocycles may not be used in the 3WBRC.

This course is designed for the true novice rider who has little or no riding experience. It includes classroom and riding instruction on the basic riding skills and strategies necessary for an individual to begin to practice street riding. Courses are taught by MDOT MVA Approved and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Certified Instructors/RiderCoaches.

Participants in a 3WBRC should not ride their personal motorcycle to class unless done so legally.  Please see the Program's policy​ about riding a motorcycle to class.

Enrollment Requirements

  • Individuals who possess a valid driver’s license, a Class “M” (motorcycle) learner’s permit or individuals that are eligible for a learner’s permit may enroll in the 3WBRC. Parents or guardians of individuals under the age of 18 enrolling in the course must sign a consent/release form.
  • Students must provide all their own riding gear.  This includes:
    • A Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 compliant helmet:
      • Any style of compliant helmet may be worn, but the Program recommends the full-face, or modular, a.k.a. flip-up and open-face, a.k.a. ¾ style helmets because they provide the most protection for a novice rider;
      • All labeling, exterior and interior, must be intact;
      • ​Be in good condition with no damage to the outer shell or have an excessively worn interior lining; and
      • Must fit properly.
    • ​Jacket or sturdy long-sleeved shirt.
    • Full fingered gloves.
    • Long pants of sturdy material.  Cannot have any tears or holes.
    • Over-the-ankle foot wear, preferably with a heel.
  • ​It is suggested that course participants bring their riding gear to the first class session for evaluation by the course Instructor. Without the proper gear you will not be permitted to ride.
  • Pay the course registration fee​ to be officially enrolled in a course.

Course Completion Requirements and Getting Your License

All registered students are expected to read the MSF 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course Rider Handbook​ prior to the first class session.  This will allow you to get more out of the classroom session.

To pass the course you must participate in all the course sessions and pass a knowledge test and on-cycle test. Riders satisfactorily completing the 3WBRC will receive a Maryland Completion Card.

Riders with a valid Maryland Driver’s License will also receive a Completion Certificate for the Class M license with a “J” restriction added to their current valid license. This restriction only allows you to operate the type of vehicle you tested on.

General Information

  • ​A motorcycle learner’s permit is not required to participate.
  • Individuals applying for a motorcycle license as a first license will still have to complete the requirements of the Graduated Licensing System and must be eligible to be issued a full license before their Class M License Certificate expires.
  • Participants in a 3WBRC are to provide their own vehicle to use in the course, unless taking the course at a center that provides 3WMCs.  An unregistered vehicle can be used, but it must be titled and insured and transported to and from the training center either on a trailer or in a truck.
  • Some insurance companies offer discounts on motorcycle premiums to course graduates.
  • Course participants get approximately 14 hours of instruction, 6 hours in the classroom, and 8 hours on-cycle.
  • The curriculum is approved by the MDOT MVA and meets or exceeds the standards set by the MSF.
  • Course participants are required to report to all scheduled sessions regardless of weather.
  • Lateness policy.
  • Participants are eligible for one retest of both tests.
  • The Completion Certificate is valid for six months.  If you do not have a valid license of some class to add the M to, you must have one before your certificate expires.
During the classroom session participants will discuss topics that include responsible riding, selecting proper riding gear and the basic riding skills. Other topics include defensive riding strategies and how to handle a variety of riding situations. On the range participants will practice clutch-throttle control, stopping, turning, shifting and basic crash avoidance skills.

Throughout the course the Instructors evaluate and coach each rider's performance. Participants who do not achieve the minimum performance standards will not be allowed to continue in the course.

To complete the course, riders must pass a knowledge and skill test administered at the end of the course. There is no guarantee that an individual enrolling in this course will pass or become eligible for a motorcycle license.