How To Get a Motorcycle License in California
Cruising down the road, soaking up the sun, hair blowing in the cool ocean breeze – it doesn’t get much better than that. So what’s it take to be able to do that? Getting a California motorcycle license can provide that much needed freedom and relaxation. The process of obtaining a motorcycle license in the state of California isn’t as difficult as some may believe. Just a few steps is all it takes.
The first step in obtaining a motorcycle license in California is to complete the requirements to receive a permit. Known as a learner’s permit, it gives the opportunity to legally ride a motorcycle, in order to get practice handling the vehicle. Of course, learner’s permits come with restrictions. When a person is in possession of a permit only and not a license – they are not allowed to: Ride on the highway; ride during the evening/night while it’s dark; or carry a passenger.
In order to obtain a learner’s permit, the individual must apply for a permit and an M1 license.
**The requirements for those over the age of 18 include:
-The completed application form DL44, submitted in person
-Have a picture and thumb print taken
-Pay the application fee of $28 – This fee covers written tests and the skills test, as well as the permit and license for a 12-month period
-Pass a vision test
-Pass the practice test (3 chances to pass) – The Signs and Traffic Laws Examination
**Individuals between the ages of 15.5 and 18 must complete the above requirements as well as:
-Have a parent or guardian sign the application form DL44
-Provide a California driver’s license or proof of completed driver’s education and driver training
-Provide legal full name and social security number
-Provide proof of date of birth as well as legal status documentation
Apply for a motorcycle license in California
When a learner’s permit has been obtained, and the driver has had ample practice time, they can then apply for their license. In order to receive their license, applicants:
-Must have held permit for at least 6 months if they are under 18
-Complete the California Highway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle driver training course
-Provide CHP certificate of completion
-Drivers over 21 may complete the CHP training course OR schedule an appointment with their local DMV to take the motorcycle driving test. However, drivers over 21 who have their California driver’s license are not required to take the driving test.
Individuals under age 18 are required to complete a state-approved driver’s education course, as well as maintain their permit until they turn 18. Only then can they apply for a new license.
Driving schools, or traffic schools – are courses offer Defensive Driver Training. This type of training improves skills and may remove past traffic violations.
The California Highway Patrol’s California Motorcyclists Safety Program (CMSP) has several locations across California, and train approximately 65,000 riders each year. The program offers the Basic RiderCourse for beginning riders – teaching skills, safety tips, and rider-to-rider insight. The program also offers riders the opportunity to improve their riding skills with the Basic RiderCourse 2.
Once finished, riders will receive the DL389 – a certificate of completion. This certificate may eliminate the requirement that the rider take the riding skills test at the DMV.
The DMV offers the California Driver’s License Manual, to assist in passing the general driver’s license tests.
In order to help pass the written test (which is required to complete the licensing process), the DMV offers the California Motorcycle Driver Handbook/Manual. This manual includes all of the necessary information needed to pass the written test and obtain a learner’s permit. The manual covers numerous rules, restrictions, safety tips, etc.
Some of the sections of the handbook include:
-Restrictions and information about the motorcycle permit
-Appropriate safety gear to wear while riding
-How to ride safely
-Carrying passengers or group riding
As a helpful tool, the California DMV offers sample tests for all different kinds of licenses. Taking sample tests can help the individual be more prepared when the time comes to take the written tests for a motorcycle permit.
In order to begin the process of obtaining a learner’s permit for motorcycles – and eventually a California motorcycle license – individuals should prepare any documentation they need, study information needed to pass the written tests, and contact their local DMV to set up an appointment to take the motorcycle driving test when the time comes. Being prepared for every aspect for the testing process will help have the highest chance of success in passing the tests – as well as retaining the essential safety knowledge and riding skills. The California DMV can answer any possible questions, as well as provide additional information if needed.
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