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Motorcycle License Requirements

What Requirements Do You Need to Ride a Motorcycle in California?

California has over 14.5 million registered automobiles. Due to the significant amount of vehicles on the road, strict regulations have been established for safety purposes. To obtain a motorcycle license, you must complete several steps in order to qualify for eligibility. Below, our attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers explain the process of getting a license that will legally allow you to operate a motorcycle.

California Requirements for a Motorcycle License  

California Motorcycle Vehicle Requirements

California has a different set of rules depending on the age of the rider.

Under 18 years old. Minors are qualified for a motorcycle license if they have:

  • A learner’s permit for at least 6 months and/or a California driver’s license.
  • Completed a driver education and training course.
  • Completed a motorcycle training course.

Over 18 years old. Adults must complete these requirements in order to receive a motorcycle license:

  • Own a California driver’s license.
  • Pass the written test.
  • Pass the motorcycle driver skills test.

Motorcycle Licenses

Class M1. With this license, you may legally drive a:

  • Motorcycle. A vehicle with a saddle for the rider and not more than 3 wheels.
  • Motor-Driven Cycle. Motor-driven cycles are motorcycles that have a 149 cc motor or less.
  • Motorized Scooter. These are classified as two-wheeled vehicles that are attached to a floorboard and have handlebars. Some versions do have attachable seats, but the seat may not refrain the rider from adding propulsion.

Class M2. Those who obtain this license may legally drive a:

  • Motorized Bicycle or Moped. These vehicles may have two or three wheels and cannot travel faster than 30 mph.

Class C License. Eligible motorcyclists will be permitted to legally ride a:

  • Motorcycle with a sidecar attached.
  • Three-wheel motorcycle.
  • Motorized scooter.

Motorcycle Skills Test 

The DMV requires new riders to take an annual pass or fail motorcycle test. The instructor must rank the rider’s driving skills to determine if they are still eligible to operate a motorcycle. You will be asked to demonstrate these skills:

  • Riding With a Tracking Path. You will be asked to travel through a designated obstacle course.
  • Serpentine Ride. You must travel through a twisted obstacle course.
  • Circle Ride. You will be told to travel in a circle, both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
  • Slow Ride. You will need to drive slowly in a straight path between parallel lines.
  • Gear Shift Ride. You must ride in a straight path while shifting gears.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Will Help You Earn Maximum Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a motorcycle accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for losses you have suffered, which include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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