How To Get Your California Motorcycle License (Permit) in 2023 – Full Guide



Obtaining your motorcycle license in California (CA) in 2023 involves a series of steps and requirements. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth and successful process.

To obtain a motorcycle license in CA, you must be at least 16 years old and possess a valid California driver’s license or permit. If you are under 18 years old, you are required to have completed a motorcycle training course approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) before applying for a motorcycle license. This course not only imparts essential riding skills but also enhances your knowledge of motorcycle safety.

Once you have met the prerequisites, the next step is to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. It is crucial to gather the necessary documents beforehand to ensure a hassle-free experience. Bring your identification, proof of California residency, and social security number. You may also need to provide proof of completion for the motorcycle training course if you are under 18.


In California (CA), there are different types of motorcycle licenses that cater to various levels of riding experience and the types of motorcycles you intend to operate. Understanding these different types of motorcycle licenses is essential for riders to ensure they comply with the state’s regulations.

  1. Class M1 Motorcycle License: The Class M1 motorcycle license California is the most common type of motorcycle license in CA. It allows you to operate any two-wheeled motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized scooter. To obtain a Class M1 motorcycle license California you must pass both a written test and an on-road skills test, as mentioned in the previous response. This license grants you full privileges to ride motorcycles on public roads.
  2. Class M2 Motorcycle License: The Class M2 motorcycle license is specifically for motorized bicycles, mopeds, and scooters with engines of 50cc or less, or 2 brake horsepower or less. This license does not allow you to operate larger motorcycles. To obtain a Class M2 motorcycle license, you need to pass a written test focused on the laws and regulations specific to these types of vehicles. However, you are exempt from the on-road skills test for the Class M2 license.
  3. Motorcycle Endorsement: If you already have a regular Class C driver’s license in CA and want to add the ability to ride motorcycles, you can obtain a motorcycle endorsement. This endorsement is added to your existing driver’s license and allows you to operate motorcycles in addition to other motor vehicles. To get a motorcycle endorsement, you must pass a written test covering motorcycle-specific rules and regulations. İf you are under 18 years old, you need to complete an approved motorcycle training course before adding the motorcycle endorsement to your driver’s license.


To obtain your California motorcycle learner’s permit, also known as a motorcycle permit, you must follow a few steps and fulfill specific requirements. The motorcycle permit allows you to practice riding a motorcycle under certain restrictions before obtaining your full motorcycle license in CA.

You need to be at least 15½ years old to apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit in California (CA). The first step is to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. It is essential to bring the necessary documents with you to complete the application process smoothly. These documents include proof of identification, proof of California residency, and your social security number.

Once at the DMV, you will be required to pass a written knowledge test that focuses on motorcycle-specific traffic laws, regulations, and safe riding practices. The California Motorcycle Handbook, available online and at DMV offices, contains the information necessary to study for the test. It covers topics such as road signs, traffic laws, and safe riding techniques. A passing score on this test is necessary to obtain your motorcycle learner’s permit.


Getting your motorcycle license in California (also known as a motorcycle license CA) involves several steps and requirements. Whether you are a novice rider or an experienced motorcyclist from another state, the process is designed to ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to operate a motorcycle safely on California roads.

  1. Obtain a Motorcycle Permit: Before applying for a motorcycle license CA, you must first obtain a motorcycle instruction permit. To do this, you need to visit a local California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and pass a written knowledge test specifically for motorcycles. The test covers topics such as motorcycle safety, traffic laws, and road signs.
  2. Enroll in a Basic Rider Course (BRC): To enhance your riding skills and gain valuable knowledge about motorcycle operation, it is highly recommended to enroll in a California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) Basic Rider Course. This course provides hands-on training and classroom instruction, covering topics like maneuvering techniques, defensive riding strategies, and motorcycle maintenance. Successful completion of the BRC allows you to waive the skills test portion of the licensing process.
  3. Schedule and Pass the Skills Test: If you choose not to take the BRC or want to skip this step, you will need to schedule and pass a skills test at a local DMV office. The test evaluates your ability to handle a motorcycle, including starting, stopping, turning, and maneuvering in various situations. It is crucial to practice and become comfortable with these skills before taking the test to increase your chances of success.
  4. Gather Required Documentation: Before visiting the DMV to obtain your motorcycle license CA, ensure you have the necessary documentation. This includes proof of identity, residency, and legal presence in the United States. You will need to provide proof of completion for the BRC if you took the course.
  5. Visit the DMV and Pay Fees: Once you have fulfilled all the requirements, visit a local DMV office to apply for your motorcycle license CA. Submit the required documentation, pass a vision test, and pay the applicable fees. The DMV staff will process your application and, if everything is in order, issue your motorcycle license CA.



The difficulty of the California motorcycle permit test can vary depending on the individual’s preparation and knowledge of motorcycle safety and traffic laws. While some may find it challenging, others may perceive it as relatively easy. The key to success lies in proper preparation and understanding the material covered on the test.

To increase your chances of passing the motorcycle permit test, it is essential to study the California Motorcycle Handbook provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This comprehensive guide covers important topics such as motorcycle operation, traffic laws specific to motorcycles, defensive riding techniques, and safety measures. By thoroughly reviewing the handbook and taking practice tests available online or through the DMV, you can familiarize yourself with the content and format of the exam.



The California motorcycle permit test, also known as the motorcycle license CA written knowledge test, consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. These questions are designed to assess your understanding of motorcycle safety, traffic laws, and road signs specific to motorcycles. To pass the test, you must answer at least 24 of the 30 questions correctly, achieving a passing score of 80% or higher.

The questions on the motorcycle permit test cover a wide range of topics relevant to safe motorcycle operation. You can expect to be tested on areas such as proper lane positioning, helmet requirements, signaling, speed limits, handling hazardous conditions, and sharing the road with other vehicles. It is crucial to study the California Motorcycle Handbook provided by the DMV to familiarize yourself with the material and ensure you are adequately prepared for the exam.


If you are caught riding a motorcycle without a valid motorcycle license CA in California, you may face legal consequences and penalties. Operating a motorcycle without the appropriate license is considered a violation of California vehicle laws, specifically Vehicle Code Section 12500(a). The specific penalties can vary depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the law enforcement officer.

When you get pulled over without a motorcycle license, the law enforcement officer will likely ask for your identification and vehicle registration. They will verify your license status and may inquire about your motorcycle license specifically. If they discover that you do not possess a valid motorcycle license CA, they have the authority to take appropriate action.

The consequences for riding without a motorcycle license in California can include fines, impoundment of the motorcycle, and potential court appearances. The fines can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the violation. The motorcycle may be impounded, and you may be responsible for the associated impoundment fees.