Motorcycles and Similar Vehicles

Motorcycle

 

A motorcycle is a motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground per California Vehicle Code (CVC) 400 (a) and whose motor displaces more than 150 cubic centimeters (150cc). 

  • Two-wheeled motorcycles require an M-1 endorsement.

  • Three-wheeled motorcycles or motorcycles with an attached sidecar require only a Class C driver license per CVC 12804.9.

  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet is required.

 motorcycles

Motor-driven cycle

 

A motor-driven cycle is a motorcycle with a motor that displaces less than 150cc per CVC 405. 

  • Two-wheeled motor-driven cycles require an M-1 endorsement. 

  • Three-wheeled motor-driven cycles require a Class C driver license.

  •  A DOT compliant helmet is required.

motor-driven cycle 

Moped or motorized bicycle

 

Section 406(a) CVC refers to a moped or motorized bicycle as any two or three wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, has an automatic transmission, and a motor which produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground.

  • A driver license with an M-1 or M-2 endorsement is required.

  • A DOT compliant helmet is required.

  • It is unlawful to operate a moped or motorized bicycle on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

     Motorized bicycle

 

​Electric Bicycle

 

An electric bicycle is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts, and is categorized by the following:

  1. Class 1 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

  2.  Class 2 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

  3. Class 3 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour.  This bicycle is equipped with a speedometer.

A person riding an electric bicycle is subject to the same provisions as a person riding a bicycle, as described in Chapter 1 of Division 11, commencing with Section 21200 CVC.

  • Must be 16 years of age or older to ride a Class 3 electric bicycle. 

  • A person under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet when riding on a public roadway or bikeway.

  • It is unlawful to operate an electrically motorized board (hoverboard) on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

  • Use may be restricted or prohibited by local ordinance.

 Electric Bicycle

 

Motorized scooter

 

A motorized scooter is any two-wheeled device that has handlebars and a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon when riding, may have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability to stand and ride, and is powered by electricity or other power source but may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion.  A motorized scooter shall at all times be equipped with a muffler, and the exhaust system shall not be modified to amplify or increase noise level.  The maximum speed limit scooters may be driven is 15 mph, and scooters may be operated on a bicycle path, trail, or bikeway unless prohibited.  If operated on a roadway with a posted speed limit greater than 25 mph, scooter must be operated in a Class II bicycle lane.  If operated on a roadway with a posted speed limit less than 25 mph, riding in a bicycle lane is not required.

  • A Class C driver license or driver permit is required.

  • A properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet is required.

  • It is unlawful to operate a motorized scooter on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

 Motorized Scooter Image

​Electrically motorized board

 

An electrically motorized board, or hoverboard, is any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding, that is not greater than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide,  and designed to transport only one person. The device has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts, with a maximum speed of no more than 20 miles per hour when powered solely by the propulsion system on a paved level surface.  The device may be designed to be powered by human propulsion. The maximum speed an electrically motorized board may be operated is 15 miles per hour, and only on roadways with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, unless on a Class II or Class IV bikeway.   If operated during darkness the device must be equipped with, or the operator must have attached to their person, a headlamp that emits white light that is visible from 300 feet, a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 500 feet, and white or yellow reflectors on each side visible from 200 feet. 

  • Operator must be 16 years of age or older.

  • A properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet is required when operating on public roadway or bikeway. 

  • Must not be operated at a speed greater than is reasonable for conditions.

  •  It is unlawful to operate an electrically motorized board (hoverboard)  on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

  • Use may be restricted or prohibited by local ordinance.

  • A motorized skateboard is not a hoverboard.

 hoverboard

 

 

Pocket bikes/Mini motorcycles

 

A pocket bike is a two-wheeled motorized device having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, that is not designed or manufactured for highway use.  A pocket bike does not include an off-highway motorcycle, as defined in CVC 436.

  • Operation permitted on private property only.

  • Illegal on highways, sidewalks, bikeways, and hiking or recreational trails.

Pocket Bike Image 

Motorized skateboard

 

  • Operation permitted on private property only.

  • Illegal on highways, sidewalks, bikeways and hiking or recreational trails.

  • A hoverboard is not a motorized skateboard.

skateboard 

Licensing Requirements

 

Instruction Permit Requirements:

  • Operator must be at least 15 1/2 years old.

  • Any person younger than 18 years of age must have written permission from parent or legal guardian.

  • Operator must pass automobile written exam.

  • Operator must pass appropriate endorsement requirements for an M-1 and M-2 endorsement.

  • Operator must have completed an approved automobile driver education course.

  • If the individual is under 21 years of age, mandatory successful completion of a Motorcycle Training Course (MTC) approved by the CHP is required, such as the MTC available through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.

Note:  An operator with an instruction permit may not carry passengers, ride after dark, or operate a motorcycle on the freeway.

 Motorcycle Endorsements (M-1 or M-2):

  • M-1 allows the driver to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, and moped.

  • M-2 allows for operation of a moped or motorized bicycle only.

To obtain an M-1 or M-2 endorsement, the driver must:

  1. Pass the appropriate written exam.

  2. Pass a riding skills test.  DMV will accept a certificate of competence from an approved novice motorcyclist training program instead of a skills test, such as the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.

  3. If the individual is under 21 years of age, mandatory successful completion of an MTC approved by the CHP is required, such as the MTC available through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.

 

​​Helmet Requirement

 

  • Motorcycles, Motor-Driven Cycles, Motorized Bicycles/Mopeds (Section 406(a) CVC ) - A helmet meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218, self-certified by the manufacturer and displaying a 'DOT' emblem must be worn by all riders of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and motorized bicycles/mopeds.

  • Electric Bicycle (Section 312.5 CVC) - A bicycle helmet meeting the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must be worn by riders under the age of 18 when riding an electric bicycle.

  • Motorized Scooters (Section 407.5 CVC) - A bicycle helmet meeting the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) must be worn to operate a motorized scooter.

  • Electrically Motorized Boards (Section 21292 CVC) - A bicycle helmet meeting the standards of either the ASTM or CPSC must be worn to operate an electrically motorized board.

​Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

 

  • Brakes, tires, rear view mirror and horn in good operating condition.

  • Multi-beam headlight for 1978 models and later to remain on at all times.

  • Tail light and license plate light.

  • Front and rear turn signals for 1973 and later models.

  • Passenger footrests allowing any passenger to place feet on them.

​Riding Tips

  • ​​Lane splitting is legal if done in a safe and prudent manner.

  • Postpone your trip if weather is bad or roads are icy.

  • Avoid sudden starts, stops, and turns.

  • Anticipate that cross traffic at intersections won't see you.

  • Make eye contact with drivers to avoid being hit.

  • Watch out for another motorist turning left in front of you; plan an escape route.

  • ​Stay out of blind spots, especially on large trucks.

  • Scan the road for diesel fuel, oil, or gravel.

  • Be alert for potholes or railroad tracks that parallel the roadway.

  • Obey the speed limit. A motorcycle collision is more likely to cause injury or death.

  • Don't drink and drive. Driving under the influence is a leading cause of motorcycle crashes.

  • Take a motorcyclist safety course to improve skill and lower insurance rates.

​Recommended Safety Clothing

 

  • Eyeglasses or other eye protection

  • High-top boots or shoes, preferably with steel-toe protection

  • Gloves

  • Snug clothing covering arms and legs

  • Brightly colored clothing and reflectorized material after dark
     

​For additional information, please contact the CHP Motorcycle Safety Unit at (916) 843-3370.

 

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