How to Get a Los Angeles Motorcycle License

los angeles motorcycle license

For many people, riding a motorbike is a thrilling experience that allows them to enjoy the open road while also getting an adrenaline rush. California is no exception. It has long been considered one of the best states in the country for motorcycle riders, with its year-round pleasant climate creating nearly perfect weather conditions on most days. 

With California’s beautiful, scenic biking routes, it comes as no surprise that the state has close to a million registered motorcycles and is home to both recreational and professional riders. 

You, too, may join in the action — but before you can ride down the highway on your own two-wheel vehicle, you’ll need to get a Los Angeles motorcycle license. The state demands that an operator should be of a particular age and have the right knowledge and proper training in order to do so.

Classes of Motorcycle Licenses in California

A California motorcycle license has two types — Class M1 and Class M2. The type of license you obtain will determine the kinds of motorized vehicles you are permitted to operate legally in the state.

A rider with a Class M1 California motorcycle license can operate any of the following vehicles:

  • Moped
  • Motor-driven cycle
  • Motorized bicycle
  • Motorized scooter
  • Two-wheel motorbike

A rider with a Class M2 California motorcycle license may operate only the following vehicles:

  • Moped
  • Motorized bicycle
  • Motorized scooter

As a side note, a rider with a Class C license may operate some types of two-wheeled vehicles. A Class C license is the most basic license and is held by the majority of private citizens. Class C licensees can operate a motorcycle with a sidecar, a three-wheeler, or a motorized scooter.

Always keep in mind that not only is riding without a license illegal, but it is also dangerous. 

You are fully protected in the event of a Los Angeles motorbike accident if you have a legal license. You can also contribute to keeping California roadways safe by having the essential skills to ride a motorbike before being awarded a license. You can apply for a Class M1 or M2 driver’s license at any DMV field office that provides DL services.

Los Angeles Motorcycle License Requirements

To get a Los Angeles motorcycle license, one has to satisfy the state’s basic requirements. Note that:

  • Motorbike permit holders in California must be 15 and a half years old. 
  • Motorbike license applicants must be at least 16 years old at the time they apply for their license.
  • Applicants for a California motorcycle license who are under the age of 21 must also hold a learner’s permit for a minimum of 6 months.

Applicants for a Los Angeles license must complete the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP), pass the vision exam, pass the written permit exam, and provide a valid California driver’s license or I.D., as well as a thumbprint.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 20, additional requirements include:

  • Certificates of Completion of Mandatory California Motorcycle Training
  • An instructional permit for at least 6 months (before obtaining a license)

If you are between the ages of 15.5 and 17, you must:

  • complete a driver education course
  • complete behind-the-wheel driver training, and
  • secure the signature of a parent or guardian.

Two Things To Watch For

Two more things to note especially when you still have a permit and not a full-fledged Los Angeles motorcycle license:

First, even if the California motorcycle permit exam is shorter than the driver’s exam for a regular driver’s license, it is still an exam for which the applicant should prepare thoroughly. 

Second, a motorcycle permit is valid for six months in California. Riders with a permit are allowed to ride alone but are not permitted to ride on the freeway or after dark.

California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) Training Course

The CMSP training course’s primary goal is to promote motorcycle safety and reduce Los Angeles motorcycle accidents. Hands-on knowledge and motorcycle skills training is provided for both novice and experienced riders in this course. 

Applicants under the age of 21 must complete a CMSP training course on aspects of safety and basic motorbike knowledge before they can receive a motorcycle instruction permit and completion certificate. Meanwhile, applicants aged 21 and up are encouraged to enroll in the CMSP training course. 

After completing the CMSP training and submitting the Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training, the DMV motorcycle skills test may be waived (DL 389). For insurance purposes, the DMV will not waive the motorcycle skills test based on an out-of-state motorcycle training program or an in-state/out-of-state course completion card. For more information, you can check

Requirements for Motorcycle Skills and Knowledge Testing

Before they can be issued a California motorcycle license, all riders must pass a motorcycle knowledge and skills test. These tests are designed to determine whether an applicant is fully capable of safely operating a motorcycle.

The knowledge test is based on information from the California Motorcycle Handbook. The skills test, on the other hand, will determine whether an applicant has the capacity to maneuver in regular traffic settings. You will be asked to identify various parts of your motorbike and perform the following maneuvers during your motorcycle skills test:

  • Riding in the tracking paths
  • Serpentine ride
  • Circle ride
  • Gear shift ride
  • Slow ride

An observation exam will be necessary if you have never held a motor vehicle license before or if you are just seeking a motorcycle license. A state official will watch you ride in normal traffic situations and evaluate your safety knowledge and skills during this live road test to determine successful completion. As other motorists might not be as cautious as you will be on the road, you might also want to brush up on defensive riding basics. 

Have Motorcyclist Attorney On Speed Dial

Now that you are well on your way to getting a Los Angeles motorcycle license for yourself, be aware that even an experienced rider might still be involved in a motorcycle crash even if they drive extremely cautiously. Operating a motorbike is dangerous in itself, so extra care and vigilance are needed on the road. 

Motorcyclist Attorney is here for you! Our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can assist you in maximizing your personal injury claim, get you the best medical care, take care of your medical bills, and give you a cash advance on your property damage. 

We deal with insurance companies for you, so you don’t have to suffer from their low-ball settlement offers. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rider, you need to have Motorcyclist Attorney by your side in case you get into an accident. Call our experienced accident lawyer today at (844) 284-9437 to set up a free consultation with our legal team, or send us a message online. We speak English and Spanish.


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