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Motorcycle License Requirements in California

Woman with a License Motorcycle license requirements in California depend upon the rider’s age and several other factors including whether or not the biker has completed a basic rider training course. In general, the legal requirements for Calif. to operate a two wheeled motorized vehicle are as follows:

CA Requirements for Motorcycle Riders Depending Upon the age of the Applicant

Under 18:

If you are 16 years old or older, you can obtain a motorbike license by completion of the following:

  • Provide proof that you have had a leaner’s permit for at least 6 months prior to application;
  • Proof of completion of driver education and training courses. Driver’s education coursework is classroom taught and driver’s training is actual behind the wheel training and both must be completed in either an approved adult or high school or through a licensed professional driving school; and
  • Proof of completion of motorcycle rider training course. Prerequisites for this course are obtaining a valid CA driver’s license or learner’s permit and getting written permission from a parent or guardian.

Over 18:

  • Have a valid CA driver’s license application completed and submitted (not necessary if you already have a valid license) (includes completion of written test and vision test, providing fingerprint and paying all fees);
  • Completion of written test; and
  • EITHER completion of a motorcycle driver skills test at the DMV or proof of completion of a basic rider safety course.
What is the Difference Between and M1 and and M2 License?

Class M1 licensees may operate any “motorcycle”, “motor-driven cycle”, or “motorized scooter”. Class M2 licensed individuals may only operate “motorized bicycles” or “mopeds”. Applicable definitions under the California Vehicle Code for these various vehicles are as follows:

“Motorcycle”: Any vehicle with a seat or saddle and designed to travel on not more than three wheels.

“Motor-Driven Cycle”: A motorcycle with 149 cc or less engine.

“Motorized Scooter”: Any two wheeled device with either a floorboard or a seat which can be operated by motor or by “human compulsion”.

“Motorized Bicycles” aka “Mopeds”: a two wheeled vehicle with a gas motor no more than 2 gross brake horsepower or an electric motor and capable of speeds of no more than 20 m.p.h.

Both classs M1 and M2 licenses can be issued with the following restrictions:

  • No freeway driving
  • No nighttime driving
  • No carrying passengers
Benefits of taking a basic rider safety course:

The basic rider safety course covers all aspects of motorcycle safety and accident prevention. It starts with basic equipment and gear checks, becoming familiar with your bike, basic maneuvers including serpentine turns, riding in circles, shifting gears and braking techniques. In addition to being a great primer for new riders or refresher course for older bikers who are getting back in the saddle. In addition to obtaining a waiver of the DMV riding skills test, it can also qualify you to get discounts on your motorcycle insurance, depending upon the insurance carrier.

Example of Typical Motorcycle Basic Rider Safety CourseImportance of Motorcycle Safety and Consulting a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in the Event of a Mishap

As an attorney that has represented hundreds of motorcycle riders throughout California in accident-related claims, I would always suggest taking basic rider safety courses and learning to ride on surface streets prior to freeway driving. You should always stay in control of the bike and not travel at excessive speeds. California negligence laws provide for recovery of monetary compensation in the event of a motorcycle crash that is the result of any motorist engaging in unreasonable conduct. This can include any number of thing but, common scenarios are unsafe lane changes, left hand turns or other intersection accident and rear end collisions. In the event of an accident, motorcyclists should seek immediate medical attention first and foremost, report the incident to their insurance company and consult an experienced motorcycle lawyer familiar with the claims process. For assistance with any motorcycle bodily injury claim in California, call us toll free at 866-966-5240.

Sources and Additional Resources
Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.