What Is the Difference Between an M1 and M2 Motorcycle License in California?

If you wish to ride a motorcycle in California, you must first meet certain requirements, including getting a valid license. In California, there are two types of motorcycle licenses, depending on what type of motorized vehicles you plan on riding. Obtaining either license also requires applicants to complete a series of steps.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides information regarding the two kinds of motorcycle licenses in California: M1 and M2 motorcycle licenses. 

What Is an M1 Motorcycle License in California?

According to the DMV, an M1 motorcycle license gives riders the ability to operate any two-wheeled motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized scooter, along with all of the motorized vehicles that an M2-licensed rider can operate.

What Is an M2 Motorcycle License in California?

M2 motorcycle licenses are a bit more restrictive than the M1.

Individuals with an M2 license are only allowed to operate motorized bicycles, motorized scooters, and mopeds. Riders with M2 licenses cannot operate a motorized vehicle that can go faster than 30 MPH.

Riders with an M1 motorcycle license can ride nearly any two-wheeled vehicle, but a rider with an M2 license cannot operate the faster motorcycles that M1 license holders can operate.

Which Should I Get — an M1 or an M2 Motorcycle License?

Which motorcycle license you need depends on the type of motorized vehicle you wish to ride.

Since the M2 license is more restrictive, many riders opt for the M1 license since it covers all bases and allows riders to operate any motorized vehicle. 

How To Get a California Motorcycle License

The requirements to obtain a California motorcycle license depend on the age of the individual seeking to get licensed.

To get a motorcycle license, applicants over 21 must take the following steps:

  • Complete the required applications
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Get fingerprinted
  • Pay the required fees
  • Get photographed
  • Pass the knowledge and skills test

Minors ages 15 and a half through 17 must also complete these steps, along with a few additional requirements:

  • Obtain the signature of a parent or guardian
  • Complete driver education and behind-the-wheel training (or have a Class C driver’s license)
  • Complete a motorcycle training course
  • Have an instruction permit for at least six months

Adult riders ages 18 through 20 must follow the steps for license holders over 21, and they must also complete a motorcycle training course and hold an instruction permit for at least six months. 

Do You Need a Regular Driver’s License To Get a Motorcycle License in California?

No, if a rider wishes to get a motorcycle license in California, they do not need to get a regular driver’s license first. As long as you complete all of the requirements needed for your age group, you can get a motorcycle license alone.

Other Requirements for Motorcycle Riders

After you get your motorcycle license, but before you get on the road, you must have motorcycle insurance. California laws require motorcycle riders to have insurance, with the following minimum amounts:

  • $15,000: Bodily injury protection for injuries to one person in an accident
  • $30,000: Bodily injury coverage for total injuries in an accident
  • $5,000: Property damage coverage

Once you have a license and insurance, you can register your motorcycle and get on the road. 

While motorcycles are fun and exhilarating to ride, they are also risky, and motorcycle accidents are common. 

If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident and sustain injuries, discuss your situation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in California. An attorney can handle your claim and help get you on the road to fair compensation for your losses.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA

If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(855) 599-2987

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