Motorcycle License in CaliforniaPage Overview
California offers two classes of motorcycle license: M1 and M2. With an M1 license, you may ride any type of motorcycle with an attached motor, or any motorized scooter. With an M2 classification, you will be permitted to drive a motorized bicycle, a moped, a bicycle with an attached motor, or a motorized scooter only.
Everyone, regardless of age, first gets a learner's permit to practice driving your motorcycle before the driving test. If you're under 18 years old, you must have your permit for 6 months before the driving test.
To pass the exam, study the California Motorcycle Handbook before your appointment. The handbook contains all of the information, rules, and laws that apply to motorcycles. It's also full of helpful hints and tips.
NOTE: All applicants under 21 years old must complete a state-approved motorcycle safety course.
With your motorcycle learner's permit, you may practice driving a motorcycle. However, you are not allowed to:
- Drive your motorcycle at night.
- Drive your motorcycle on the freeway.
- Carry any passengers on your motorcycle.
Your $33 learner's permit application fee will be good for 12 months. You may take the written and skills tests 3 times. If your application expires before you pass the tests and are issued a license, you must start the application process all over.
Form DL 44
If you'd like to do your paperwork prior to your appointment, call (800) 777-0133 to request DMV Form DL 44. The form must contain an original signature and isn't available from the Internet. You may also pick up a copy at your local DMV office, or complete it on the day of your appointment.
At Your Appointment
You will need to:
- Submit form DL 44.
- Pass the vision test.
- Give a thumbprint.
- Pass the written traffic laws and signs test for the license you now have, unless you took it within the last year.
- Provide proof of successfully completing a motorcycle safety course.
- Also pass the motorcycle laws test.
No Driver License
If you don't have a regular driver license, you must also:
- Present an acceptable birth date and legal presence document.
- Give the DMV your true full name.
- Provide your Social Security number.
Additionally, you must complete all the requirements to be eligible for a learner's permit. These include:
- Be at least 15 1/2 years old.
- Have your parents sign form DL 44.
- Submit proof that you have completed both driver's education and driver's training.
- Pay the $33 fee.
Once you have passed a vision and written test you will be given a M1 or M2 permit. This will allow you to practice riding.
All riders under 21 years old are required to take a motorcycle training course provided by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and to receive a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL389).
You may apply for your motorcycle license after if you already have a learner's permit or driver's license:
- You are at least 16 years old.
- You've held your motorcycle learner's permit for at least 6 months.
- You've passed a California Motorcyclist Safety Program training course (the Basic RiderCourse) administered by the California Highway Patrol, and been issued a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL389)
Bring the motorcycle class completion certificate to the California DMV, and they'll issue you an interim license valid for 90 days, until you receive your new photo license in the mail. The fee is $33
- Complete the motorcycle rider training course's completion certificate and drop off at any DMV location.
- Schedule a motorcycle driving test.
When you arrive to apply and take the exam, you must:
- Provide either your original birth certificate or a passport.
- Provide your license.
- Complete Form DL 44.
- Pay a $33 application fee.
You may enroll in the Basic RiderCourse training program, Successful completion of the course will allow you to be exempt from having to take the skills test in order to get your license. It might also lower your insurance rates, so it's a good bet.Other Topics in This SectionCompare Motorcycle Insurance Rates in 3 Steps
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Apply for, renew, or replace a driver's license, permit, motorcycle license, or ID card. Must call or visit the DMV for this form. Not available online.