When you’re preparing to enjoy a refreshing motorcycle ride on California roads, you take on many responsibilities. You’ll need to wear proper safety gear, make sure your insurance is up-to-date, and obtain a motorcycle license.
In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about how to get your motorcycle license in California, whether you’re a teen or an adult.
In most cases, motorcyclists are required to possess a valid California driver’s license. Two types of motorcycle licenses are available to CA residents:
You may apply for either an M1 or M2 license at any California DMV that provides licensing services.
If you’ve completed the driver licensing process in California, and you’re at least 15 ½ years old, you’re ready to begin the process of applying for your motorcycle license.
If you’re over 21 years old, you can skip the first step.
The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) is designed to help new motorcyclists learn how to ride safety. The course provides hands-on experience for riders and helps them develop habits that will keep everyone safe. Find a location near you and complete the appropriate training course.
The CMSP is required for applicants between the ages of 15 ½ and 21. Though it is not required for older and more experienced motorcyclists, they may complete the program as well.
Additionally, if you successfully pass the training course, you’ll get a waiver that will allow you to skip the DMV riding skills test.
When you’re ready to start the application process, fill out the California Driver License or Identification Card Application.
This application is valid for 12 months. You’ll need to reapply if you don’t pass the tests and complete the required six-month motorcycle instruction permit period.
You’ll need to provide the following at the CA DMV when applying for your motorcycle license:
A simple vision test is required for all new motorcyclists.
You’ll also be required to take and pass a written knowledge test at the DMV. The test contains 25 multiple-choice questions. To pass, you must get at least 21 questions right.
Three attempts are allowed. Minors must wait seven days to reattempt after a failure. Adults may retake the test on the same day. After three failures, you’ll need to begin the motorcycle license application process from the start.
Once you’ve passed your tests, you’ll be given your California motorcycle instruction permit.
All you’ll need at your CA motorcycle skills test is your motorcycle permit, proof of financial responsibility, and a testing fee. If you choose to take the motorcycle skills test with the DMV, you’ll need to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are not permitted.
You’ll be given three attempts at the skills test. If you fail once or twice, simply reschedule an appointment. After three failures, however, you’ll be required to restart the application process.
During the motorcycle skills test, you’ll complete a pre-test inspection. Your examiner will ask you to identify the following functions:
Once you’ve completed the inspection, you’ll start the actual test. You’ll be asked to demonstrate various maneuvers and skills, such as:
You also have the option to take an equivalent of the motorcycle skills test during the required safety program. If you choose to go this route, you’ll receive a waiver that will allow you to skip the skills test at the DMV. You may still be required to complete an observation test.
Note: Observation tests may be required if you present a CMSP waiver or if you are applying for a motorcycle-only license. During an observation test, your examiner will give you a route that will keep you in view from a preselected vantage point.
That’s everything you need to know about getting a California motorcycle license! From start to finish, it can be a long process; but take one step at a time and you’ll soon be flying down CA roads. If you’d like to review test information, Zutobi is a great option to do so effectively.
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