California Motorcycle License

by Joshua on December 28, 2013

Do you want to apply for a motorcycle license in California? The California Department of Motor Vehicles classifies motorcycles into two groups. There are different licenses for the two groups. Class M1 means you can operate any 2-wheeled motorcycle and any motorized vehicle that is in Class M2. A Class M2 can only operate any motorized bicycle, bicycle with an attached motor or a moped.

First Step- Permit

A person wanting to apply for a permit for either Class M1 or Class M2 has to be at least 15.5 years of age. If they meet the age requirement, then they have to visit a local DMV office to complete form DL44. The DL 44 is the “Driver License or Identification Card Application”. It has to be completed in person at a DMV office because it requires a signature. If the applicant is under the age of 18, they need to have their parents’ or guardians’ signatures which prove that they accept liability for the minor. An acceptable signature has to be from one of the following: if the parents have joint custody then both parents must sign (regardless of their marital status), if one parent has custody then that is the parent that must sign, guardians if parents are deceased or do not have custody, or the person having full and complete custody of the minor.

The liability the parents or guardians accept means they agree to carry insurance which have the minimum financial amounts:

  • Death or injury of a single person -$15,000
  • Death or injury of two or more people in a single accident -$30,000
  • Any property damage as a result of an accident -$5,000

Then a thumbprint is given by the applicant, and their picture is taken. They have to provide proof that they have completed both driving education and driver training. Driving education consists of classroom work which covers the rules of the road, safety, and sign identification, among other items. Driver training is actual time spent operating a motor vehicle under the direct supervision of a trainer. Both driver training and driver education can be obtained at a California secondary school or at professional driving schools that are licensed by the state to provide the service.

They have to provide their full legal name, a legal document proving birth date and residency, social security number. Then they will pay the application fee. A vision test is given, which has to be passed along with a traffic laws and signs test. The last step is to take the motorcycle driving rules test and pass it.

Obtaining the Motorcycle License

A person under the age of 18 has a few more steps to complete to get their California motorcycle license than a person over the age of 18.

A person under the age of 18 must:

  • Be a minimum of 16 years of age.
  • Had their California motorcycle permit for a minimum of six months.
  • Have proof they have completed driver education/driver training (This is classroom training in the form of driver’s education or driver training which is behind the wheel training at a California secondary school or at a state licensed, professional driving school).
  • Have a certificate proving they have completed a motorcycle rider training course.

A person over the age of 18 must:

  • Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application Form (DL44) at the DMV office. A signature is required in the DMV office.
  • Pay the application fee, which was $32 (as of December 2013).
  • Pass a vision screening.
  • Pass the written exam.
  • Provide a thumbprint.
  • Have your picture taken.

There are a few extra steps if the person applying does not have a California driver license They have to provide a birth date/legal presence document (which is documents such as a certified birth certificate, a US passport, a valid US military identification).They also have to provide their social security number and their full legal name.

Special Rules

There are a few more rules that the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires before motorcycle Class M1 or Class M2 are issued. A person under the age of 21, must provide proof of completion of a motorcycle rider training course in the form of a certification form the course. These courses can be complete at 120 different sites throughout California. The training center is called the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. There are two courses available to new riders: the Basic RiderCourse or the CMSP Premier Program Course. After completing the Basic RiderCourse, the rider is given a DMV form called DL389 to prove they have completed the necessary training.

A person over the age of 21 must provide the DMV form DL389 from the Basic Rider Course or they will have to take the motorcycle driving test. To arrange for a motorcycle driving test, they have to call the DMV and schedule the test

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