motorcycle riding along road

Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in California

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

There are few things in life more exhilarating than riding a motorcycle along the highways of California. Unfortunately, our California motorcycle accident attorneys see far too many injuries that could have been avoided, had the proper precautions been observed. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent statistics about motorcycles in California and discuss the licensing requirements that can keep you safer on the road.

The number of motorcycles on United States roads doubled from 2002 to 2021. There were approximately 8.6 million motorcycles on our nation’s roads in 2021. California topped the list of registered motorcycles in the country.

In 2021, there were 952,977 on-road motorcycles registered in California. Florida had the second-highest number of registered on-road motorcycles with 645,012 motorcycles. California consistently had the highest number of registered motorcycles in the country for the past two decades.

How to Obtain a California Motorcycle License 

Because riding a motorcycle requires special skills not required for driving an automobile, riders must obtain a motorcycle license. To operate a motorcycle, you must obtain a Class M1 License. A Class M2 License only allows riders to operate a moped, motorized scooter, or motorized bicycle. 

The steps required to obtain a Class M1 Motorcycle License are:

  • Obtain the required motorcycle insurance required by California 
  • Study the motorcycle handbook to learn your responsibilities as a motorcyclist and the rules of the road for a motorcycle
  • Obtain a motorcycle permit by passing a knowledge test and vision test at a California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) location
  • Take and pass the driving test given by the CA DMV or complete a California Motorcyclist Safety Program. The California Highway Patrol gives the safety program. 

Riders under the age of 21 years must take the motorcycle course by the California Highway Patrol. Riders 21 years and older may take the course or the CA DMV driving test. After passing either the test or the course, you may pay the fee and obtain your California motorcycle license.

It is important to note that you must also wear a motorcycle helmet that complies with the U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for safety helmets in addition to the required motorcycle insurance. It is also recommended, but not required, that riders wear protecting clothing to reduce the risk of injury in a motorcycle accident.

What Should I Do After a California Motorcycle Accident?

If you are involved in a motorcycle crash, call 911 to report the crash. The emergency operator dispatches police officers and emergency medical services. Do not admit fault for the cause of the accident or discuss the accident with bystanders, other than to ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.

If your injuries allow, make photographs and video the accident scene. Having this evidence can help with a motorcycle accident claim. 

See a doctor as soon as possible after the motorcycle crash. Documenting your injuries is essential. You need to prove that the motorcycle accident caused your injuries. 

Keep copies of all documents related to the accident and your injuries. It can also help with an injury claim to make photographs of your injuries as you heal. Keeping a journal detailing the struggles you experience during your recovery can also help prove damages.

Contact Our California Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation 

Motorcycle accidents can cause traumatic injuries. Unfortunately, riders are often blamed for accidents they did not cause. Call our law office to schedule a free case evaluation with our California personal injury attorney. Let’s work together to get you the money you deserve for a motorcycle accident claim.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.