What Are the Different Motorcycle Licenses?

Many people who want to start driving a motorcycle are not aware that there are two different types of licenses that they could get in the state of California. The state of California has several strict rules and regulations for motorcyclists to ensure their safety. Other states may not have the same rules and regulations, that’s why it is very important to make sure that you check with the proper authorities prior to driving your motorcycle in any state.

Motorcycle accidents could get very severe, and could cause lifelong injuries. That is why it is important that you follow all the necessary steps to ensure safety. Our motorcycle accident attorneys in California have highly dedicated legal professionals to make sure that we are always there for our clients that need our help.

On the other hand, if you failed to follow the law, and caused an accident, the other party could file a lawsuit against you. Below is a page discussing the two different types of motorcycle licenses you could have in the state of California from our top-rated motorcycle accident attorneys.

What are the two different types of motorcycle license in California?

For more information on the two different types of motorcycle license, the California Vehicle Code goes into specifics as to what type of vehicles can be driven with each license. Similar to how a vehicle has a Class A, B, or C license that you could obtain, a motorcycle has a M1 or M2 license. An M1 or M2 license specifically deals with two wheeled vehicles.

  • M1 license: an M1 motorcycle license allows a motorcyclist to essentially ride all types of vehicles that have two wheels. This means all the different types of motorcycles, dirt bikes, electric bicycles, etc.

  • M2 license: an M2 license is a more limited bicycle license compared to an M1 license. An M2 license has several limitations, and only allows the motorcyclist to ride specific motorized bicycles and scooters.

Whether you have an M1 or an M2 license, you must have to sit through different types of training to get experience on the vehicle you are driving. One of the main reasons why there are so many different types of licenses and training that a motorcyclist must meet is because lawmakers are now on a mission to decrease the amount of motorcycle accidents on our roadways. This has become a very serious issue, especially during the covid-19 pandemic when many purchased motorcycles to get to and from work in order to avoid traffic.

Can I operate a three wheeled vehicle?

If you have a California C license, you are able to drive a three wheeled vehicle. However, where this 3 wheeled vehicle can go is determined by that City’s regulation. For example, many cities do not allow 3 wheeled vehicles on their sidewalks and roads. Some may just limit 3 wheeled vehicles to residential streets.

How do I obtain a motorcycle license in California?

Whether you are trying to get an M1 or an M2 license, it takes about 6 months to get the license. Similar to a vehicle driver’s license, you must obtain a permit in order to get a motorcycle license. There is also a waiting period with the DMV that could take a couple of weeks depending on how busy the office is.

What can you drive with an M2 license?

With an M2 license, the number of vehicles you could drive is very limited depending on the “dangerousness” of the vehicle. For example, you cannot ride a motorized bicycle or a moped that goes beyond 30 mph. The motorized bicycle or moped must have human-powered pedals and a battery. This license is specifically for weaker vehicles that do not travel at faster speeds. Reasons for this may be because this license may seem attractive to younger teens. Since younger adults may be the ones driving it, regulations that restrict the speed are helpful in preventing accidents.

Before driving on city streets, it is required that you obtain an M2 license. Our motorcycle accident attorneys recommend that when practicing to obtain your M2 license, you practice in residential neighborhoods or empty parking lots to get a feel for the vehicle.

You must be at least 21 years old to apply for an M2 license.

In order to get an M2 license, you must:

  • Fill out all the necessary forms. These forms can be obtained through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Take a picture at the DMV to use on your M2 license
  • Pay all the applicable license fees and permit fees
  • Obtain a motorcycle training certificate. When you sign up for motorcycle training, they will provide you with a form titled motorcycle training DL389 certificate. This certificate must be provided to the DMV in order to get your license. Keep in mind that not all motorcycle training programs are compliant with the DMV. Contact the DMV to get a list of all approved motorcycle safety programs. One of the most common safety programs that the majority of motorcyclists take is the California motorcycle safety program administered by the California Highway Patrol.
Could I still get a motorcycle license if I'm under 21?

Although the requirement is to be at least 21 in order to get a motorcycle license, you may still be able to get a license if you are younger than 21 if you have the approval from your parents. Many families may require their children to work, and may not be able to afford cars. In that case, young teens may have to drive a motorcycle from work to school. Those younger than 21 are still able to get a permit and a license, however, they must need their parent’s signatures on almost all the documents they fill out. Besides a signature, they also have to take the same training courses that other applicants over 21 must have to take.

What does the motorcycle license test include?

A motorcycle license test can include a variety of different questions that the administrator could ask you. This includes question about:

  • Where the horn is
  • Where the gear selector is
  • How to use the motorcycle’s signals
  • How to use the high beam lights
  • Where the starter and kick-start is
  • How to maneuver using the handles
  • Where to place your feet when the vehicle is moving

Our Motorcycle accident attorneys recommend that you take the exam with a motorcycle you have practiced on before. If you were to use another motorcycle on the test, it may have different features that you may not have experienced getting to know.

What if I have been injured in a motorcycle accident?

If you have been injured while riding your motorcycle from another negligent party, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them to get compensation for your injuries. Keep in mind that it is not just your medical injuries, but also your lost wages, and your future lost income. There are several different types of damages you could receive from the at fault party who caused your motorcycle accident. Having an experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney on your side will help ease the process when you hold the at-fault party responsible. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

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