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    SUMMARY: California Motorcycle Manuals

    The CA motorcycle manual covers all the details you need to know about your motorcycle and how to operate it. In the manual, you'll find information on licensing requirements and exams, operation guidelines, and proper equipment for your motorcycle.

    CA Motorcycle Manual

    Your California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) motorcycle manual is a centralized source for information on your motorcycle or motorbike. You can find:

    • What you need to do to get a license.
    • The rules of the road for motorcyclists.
    • Necessary gear.
    • Insurance requirements.

    By reading the manual before you test for your motorcycle license, you'll have a better idea of what you need to know to pass your exam, and you'll be a MUCH more prepared and responsible rider.

    CA Motorcycle Licensing Requirements

    In the motorcycle manual, you'll find detailed information on the following vehicle types and their requirements for licensing and operation:

    • Motorcycles.
    • Motor-driven cycles.
    • Motorized bicycles.
    • Motorized scooters.

    The class of license you'll get will depend on which type(s) of the above vehicles you intend to operate. However, regardless of class, you'll need to complete certain steps, which include (but are not limited to):

    • Motorcycle Safety Training.
      • You may be required to take a motorcycle training course if you are under 21 years of age.
      • Drivers of all ages are encouraged to take this training.
    • Motorcycle license application.
    • Written exam.
    • Road skills exam.
    • Vision test.

    For further details on all the information you need to know about getting your license, including the application and fees, visit our CA Motorcycle License page.

    You can also find the insurance requirements you'll need to operate your motorcycle on our CA Motorcycle Insurance page.

    Road Skills Exam

    To get a motorcycle license, you'll need to take a road skills test in addition to your written examination.

    The motorcycle manual will give you all the information you need to arrive at your exam prepared.

    NOTE: The DMV may waive your skill test if you show a valid Certification of Completion of Motorcycle Training (Form DL 389). This certificate is valid 12 months from the issue date.

    To learn more about your road skills test, visit our CA Motorcycle License page.

    Motorcycle Operation Guidelines

    Your CA motorcycle handbook has a plethora of information on how to handle your bike on the road and the laws for motorcycle and motorbike operators.

    You'll learn all you need to know for your written test and will see topics such as:

    • Shifting gears.
    • Turning.
    • Passing
    • Lane positions.
    • Following.
    • Night riding.
    • Stopping.
    • Cornering.
    • Riding with passengers.
    • Emergency situations.

    Whenever you need any information on how to motorcycle operation or traffic laws, your DMV motorcycle manual is a great place to start.

    Proper Gear and Equipment

    There are certain pieces of equipment that are must-haves for motorcycles and motorbikes and their operators.

    All of this equipment and gear is outlined in the motorcycle manual and includes items for riders, such as the following:

    • U.S. DOT-compliant helmet.
    • Glasses or goggles.
    • Face protection.
    • Appropriate clothing, as heavy pants and gloves.

    You'll also find checklists for motorcycle equipment. You should check at least the following pieces of equipment prior to your ride:

    • Fluid levels.
    • Tires.
    • Turn signals and lights.
    • Battery.
    • Brakes and brake light.
    • Kickstand.
    • Chain/belt.
    • Mirrors.
    • Clutch.
    • Throttle.
    • Horn.

    The manual will outline the processes for checking each of the above types of equipment on your bike.

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