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How to Get a Motorcycle License in California

 Over 18  |  Under 18  |  Test Answers

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How to apply for a motorcycle or moped driver license if you are over 18

There are two classes of motorcycle licenses, Class M1 and Class M2.

  • With a Class M1, you can operate any 2-wheel motorcycle and any motorized vehicle in Class M2.
  • With a Class M2, you can only operate any motorized bicycle or moped or any bicycle with an attached motor.

Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to January 1, 2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to operate a motorized scooter.

A motorized scooter is defined as: A two-wheeled "device" powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding. The scooter may also have a driver's seat.

Refer to the Motorcycle Driver Handbook for more information.

To apply for a motorcycle Class M1 or M2 permit, you will need to:

  • Visit a DMV office (make an appointment for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.)
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Pay the application fee ($26)
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test. You have three chances to pass the test. Try again today or study and come back another day.

Note: DMV will not administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

After studying both the California Driver and the Motorcycle Handbooks, call your local DMV to schedule your appointment for the traffic laws and sign test.

After completing the requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit to allow you to practice driving a motorcycle. You may not drive at night, on the freeway, or have any passengers with you.

To apply for your motorcycle Class M1 or M2 license, you must do one of the following:

  • If you are under 21, you must complete a motorcycle rider training course given by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and provide a certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL 389) to DMV to be issued your license. You will not be required to take the motorcycle driving test at DMV if you currently have a California Drivers License.
  • If you are over 21, you may either choose to complete the course by CHP and provide the certificate OR schedule an appointment at DMV to take the driving test. You have three chances to pass the test.

For information about the CHP training course, please call 1-877-743-3411 or visit www.ca-msp.org.

After you have submitted your CHP certificate or passed your driving test, you will be issued an interim license valid for 60 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

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How to apply for a motorcycle or moped driver license if you are under 18

There are two classes of motorcycle licenses, Class M1 and Class M2.

With a Class M1, you can operate any 2-wheel motorcycle and any motorized vehicle in Class M2.

With a Class M2, you can only operate any motorized bicycle or moped or any bicycle with an attached motor. Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to January 1, 2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to operate a motorized scooter.

A motorized scooter is defined as: A two-wheeled "device" powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding. The scooter may also have a driver's seat.

Refer to the Motorcycle Driver Handbook for more information.

To apply for a motorcycle Class M1 or M2 permit, you will need to:

  • Be at least 15 ˝ years of age Visit a DMV office (make an appointment for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies obtained by Xeroxing, faxing, or other methods will not be accepted.)
  • Have your parents' or guardians' signatures on the application form DL 44
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Submit proof you have completed both driving education and driver training. (DL 387, DL 388, DL 388A, OL 237, or OL 238)
  • Present an acceptable birth date/legal presence document.
  • Provide your true full name.
  • Provide your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • Pay the required application fee. This fee is good for 12 months and allows you to take the appropriate law test(s) and skills test three times, if needed, within the 12 month period. This fee pays for both the instruction permit and driver license, if you qualify within that time period. If the application expires, it becomes void and all steps must be completed again.
  • Pass an vision exam.
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test.
  • Pass an additional law test of motorcycle driving rules. OR Show your California driver license, if you have one issued to you.
  • Pay the application fee
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test for motorcycles

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

After studying both the California Driver and the Motorcycle Handbooks, call your local DMV to schedule your appointment for the traffic laws and sign test.

After completing the requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit to allow you to practice driving a motorcycle. You may not drive at night, on the freeway, or have any passengers with you.

To apply for your motorcycle driver license, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for 6 months
  • Have completed driver education and driver training or have your California driver license.
  • Complete a motorcycle rider training course given by the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

All persons under 21 are required to complete the course. Submit the CHP completion certificate (You will not be required to take the motorcycle driving test at DMV.) For information about the CHP training course, please call 1-877-743-3411 or visit www.ca-msp.org. After you submit the CHP completion certificate, you will be issued an interim license valid for 60 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

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Test Answers
The California DMV provides a few practice questions for the test. Your browser MUST be JavaScript enabled for the questions to work correctly.

CLICK HERE to View Sample Test #1 (Java)
CLICK HERE to View Sample Test #1 (Non-Java)

CLICK HERE to View Sample Test #2 (Java)
CLICK HERE to View Sample Test #2 (Non-Java)

CLICK HERE to View a Sample Test from http://www.vehicles4sale.com/

NOTE: We'd like to compile a list of all the "trick anwers" and do up a master sheet to be displayed here, because the tests in California are quite deceptive. If you've recently taken one of the four tests, please send the corrected test to: splatt.the.harley.ratt@gmail.com

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Sponsors | Motorcycle Awareness | Biker News & Views | Motorcycle Camping List | Banner Exchange/Awards | Biker Nation TV | Contact

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