So you’ve decided to take full advantage of the beautiful California weather by getting a motorcycle. Or maybe you’re a motorcycle driver that’s new to the Golden State. Between relaxed oceanfront cruises and tearing through heart-pounding hillsides, there’s something for every type of biker. But first, you have to get a California motorcycle permit.
How to get a motorcycle license in California? Every motorcyclist in California, no matter what type of motor-driven cycle you drive, will need a valid motorcycle permit. To operate any two-wheel motorcycle you’ll need a Class M1 license, also known as a motorcycle endorsement. As long as you meet the basic requirements outlined below you can become a legal motorcycle driver in California.
Motorcycle drivers who are under 21 years old must also:
*Drivers under the age of 18 must also provide proof of completion for a state-approved driver training and education course or already have a Class C license.
**If you already have a California Class C license you can operate a three-wheeled vehicle.
***If you don’t yet have a California driver license or ID you’ll need to provide extra documentation. (See below)
Get your motorcycle license so you can ride your bike on these incredible roads
Step 1. Complete a state-approved motorcycle training course. You can pick up vital skills and streamline the licensing process by passing a state-approved California Highway Patrol (CHP) CMSP. Drivers that pass a motorcycle safety course and earn a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL 389) are exempt from taking the skills test at the DMV.
Step 2. Schedule a test time at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Visit your local DMV to present your motorcycle training certificate of completion and supply the required information for getting a motorcycle license. Find the nearest DMV location here.
Step 3. Pass the knowledge tests. You’ll be required to take the motorcycle knowledge test and possibly the driver knowledge test. Knowledge test questions are based on the information found in the California Driver Handbook.
If you need to get a motorcycle license plate or registration you can handle that at the DMV office as well.
Step 1. Schedule an appointment and present required documents at a California DMV.
Step 2. Pass the knowledge tests.
Step 3. Pass the motorcycle skills test. Drivers who are 21 and older can skip the motorcycle safety training courses in lieu of taking a driving skills test at the DMV. The test will either be in a real traffic environment or controlled off-street area. It’s a pass/fail test that includes:
Step 2. Get a Class M1/M2 instruction permit. Drivers that are under 21 years old must have a restricted Class M1/M2 motorcycle instruction permit for at least six months. To get a California motorcycle learner permit you’ll need to provide the DMV with the necessary documentation and forms, pay the application fee and pass the knowledge tests.
Step 3. Upgrade to a motorcycle license. After six months you can apply with the DMV to add an endorsement or upgrade your restricted driver permit to a motorcycle license. This must be done within 12 months of receiving a permit.
Are you new to the West Coast motorcycle scene? Get ready for more ideal motorcycle driving days than you ever thought possible. Even though you have a motorcycle driving license from your current state, you’ll have to get a California license within 10 days of moving.
In addition to passing the motorcycle skills and knowledge tests, there are a couple of extra requirements for motorcycle riding if don’t have a California
license or I.D. You must:
Make sure you’re ready to take your written exam and road test with our California online drivers ed course. Our state-approved mobile courses can be accessed via app from home, school or on the road!