California Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycle Law
   California Motorcycle Laws | Driving Test


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California motorcycle laws are contained in the California Driver Handbook. A copy can be obtained from and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or downloaded from the website online. However the handbook is a summary even though there are 40 pages of information, the full and exact law is contained in the California Vehicle Code. This code can be purchased at any DMV office or online from the California government website.



To operate a street-legal motorcycle (one that can be licensed) the law requires that the driver is at least 16 years of age, wear a helmet and have a class M1 or M2 license. To obtain a valid motorcycle license based upon California motorcycle laws, the driver must:



Submit a DMV application (DL 44)
Pay the application fee
Pass an eye exam
Have your picture taken
Give a thumb print
Pass a test on traffic laws covering the type of license currently held unless the test was taken and passed in the last 12 months
Pass an additional test on motorcycle laws

Minors (18 but under 21) may obtain an M1/M2 instruction permit by completing the above application requirements.

Minors (under 18) will need to provide a Completion of Motorcycle Training certificate (DL389), completed Driver's Education and Driver Training and parents' signatures (both parents unless one has custodial custody, in which case the custodial parent's signature is sufficient) to obtain an M1/M2 license.

All adult drivers (over 21) must complete the application requirements, attend a CHP approved motorcycle training course, pass a DMV skill test or submit a valid DL 389 to waive the skill test and pass a road test.

According to the California motorcycle laws a skills test is required. Included in the skills test you must be able to use the following while maneuvering the motorcycle in a normal traffic situation: starter, kill switch, clutch, Throttle, gear selector, dimmer switch, brakes, turn signals and horn. You must be able to demonstrate that you can control the motorcycle under normal circumstances. You will be required to weave through five traffic cones in the Serpentine Ride; ride around a circle twice in a clockwise direction keeping the front wheel in a marked path, returning to the starting point by weaving through the row of five traffic cones in the Circle Ride; ride slowly between two parallel lines keeping the front tire in the marked path, completed by riding the circle path again in a counterclockwise direction in the Slow Ride; ride in a straight line, shifting through the gears, first up then down and end with a smooth stop at the starting line in the Gear Shift Ride. This is a pass/fail test.
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