What is an M1 and M2 Motorcycle License?

Ehline Law Motorcycle License Info

Can I recover money when unlicensed?

Some youngsters start riding dirt bikes out in the boon docks and with no motorcycle license. Many kids are already great off-road riders when they hit their teen years.  But street riding is a different animal altogether.  Even if your a new rider, you need special training and minimal skill before you hit the asphalt jungle.

Rider basic training is mandatory if you want to avoid being scooped up off of the highway as a casualty. Getting a motorcycle license assures that you have basic training, and that you are a responsible, law abiding citizen. To cut to the chase you can go the DMV Rider Requirements Here.

What Kind of License Do I Need to Ride a Motorcycle?

The State of California offers to types of motorcycle licenses. The California Vehicle Code for provides detailed info on what types of self propelled conveyances can and cannot be ridden on public roads, and how they are to be classified and regulated. The classifications for motorcycle licenses are known as M1 and M2.  These licenses differ from traditional Class A, B or C automobile driver’s license. the M1, and M2 licenses are issued when you want to ride a specialized motor vehicle, typically with two wheels only, on the California streets, tollways, freeways and highways.

Due to the high risk of life altering rider injuries, the state needs to assure that the permitting process for cyclists, has a more arduous issuance and re issuance process than for a standard passenger car.

What is the Difference Between and M1 or an M2 Permit?

Good question. First we have to understand what these classifications are when compared to a standard car or truck type license. First, getting either and M1 or a M2 license, requires a minimum 6 month waiting period. In other words, you have to ride around with a permit before you get a permanent M1 or M2 license.  Understood?

Getting an operator’s license, arguably means that the novice rider made it through the waiting period, and rode safely. Akin to a provisional license you’re issued when you apply for a teen permit, the M1 and M2 permits are designed to give you a chance to prove and test your mettle. The main difference is that you are not required to have an adult ride along with you, as you would be if you had a teen learning permit for a car.


Class M1 and M2 permits enables a rider to operate motor driven cycles, two-wheel motorcycles, and/or motorized scooters like a Vespa.  The California Vehicle Code lists all vehicles covered under M1 and M2 status. Call M2 is generally for slower scooter types two wheeled vehicles. California law mandates that permits under Call M1 or M2, restrict the occupants of the bike to one rider and no passengers, and operation during daylight times only.

Again, this is a basic permit and we suggest you take a private rider training safety course in addition to getting a permit before daring the city streets. The applicant must me at least 21 years old, and:

  • Obtain and complete the required forms
  • Pay the permit applications costs/fees
  • Go through the hasty eye exam performed at the DMV, get a photo of your mug taken, and give up fingerprints
  • Take and Successfully Pass the written portion of the rider’s test while at the DMV.  This will ask you what certain rules are for riders, if you understand basic traffic signage warnings and signals, etc.
  • Last on the list is that a rider must show proof of completion of “Motorcycle Training DL389”.  Just bring the certificate along and keep a copy for your records.

How Does Someone Younger than 21 Get a Rider Permit?

I started riding off road, and admittedly I was young, probably 16 years old.  I did not have any permits.  I learned by doing. But then again, I was not interested in street riding.  I still pause for thought before I ever brave California surface streets.  Especially if is is rush hour during the week.

There are some brave teens who still opt for a chopper, or rice rocket, instead of a hot rod, or cool car.  Some teens, especially boys, imagine themselves in their Rebel Without a Cause Leathers, cool riding gloves, biker boots and tough looking helmet. The alluring look of a street warrior is magnetic.  Also too, are those teens who come from poor families, need cheap transport to get to and from school and their after school jobs.

And thus, there is a process for which they can also be permitted and eventually licensed.  But this is more arduous than obtaining a traditional CDL. Before you can even sit for the actual exam, you must get written approval from your parents or adult guardians, and also take and complete a driver’s education course from an approved training school.  Last but not least, the CHP requires that you pass their own course before you can get the esteemed permission to ride.   Here is a list of the  CHP rider courses, as well as the class schedules. You can also use the website to schedule your testing.

What Does the California Highway Patrol Test You On?

There are basically many locations to choose from when you are ready to take your CHP skills assessment test.  Obviously, you need to be wearing your riding gear, and ready to roll.  The test takers will question you as to the  your knowledge of the the bike, where the various switches are, and what they do.  For example, you will need to know where the horn is, where the clutch and accelerator, gear selector, brakes and starter or kick start is on the vehicle, etc. Once you prove you comprehend the basic functions of the bike.  You also need to know how to operate the turn signals, high and low beam lights.

Once you have proven you have a basic comprehension of the bike, you will b instructed to ride your bike through a basic course that tests you on the most common scenarios and judges your responses.  It is smart to use a bike you are already familiar with for the test, if at all possible.  A large, or unfamiliar bike could mean you hit the orange cones and get disqualified.

Here is an Example of the CHP Testing the Harley Wobble

Above you can see why the CHP is so concerned about a novice rider entering the roads.  After all, they don’t want to arrive at a traffic scene and scrape you off the pavement.  For that reason, the test is pass or fail.  There is no grading system line A, B, C, etc.  A no pass means you start all over again, and repay a new fee, schedule a new date, etc.

The Test Iteslf

This is only a basic, non comprehensive test.  Yet, it is still important and tests four important rider skills as follows:

  1. Serpentine ride;
  2. Slow ride;
  3. Circle ride;
  4. Gear shift ride.

Ultimately, when you pass, you are legally licensed to traverse the roads on your bike. But and M1 or M2 permit/license does not by any means insulate you from getting in a wreck.  If you do get in an accident, and it is at fault, you can get a ticket, lose your privilege to ride, and get your license and/or permit suspended. If it is a speeding ticket, and not a felony driving over a 100 mph, you will probably lose a point and see an increase in your liability insurance rates.

In fact, in the Golden State, at least 12% of all reported crashes on bike, are  due to unlicensed riders. This makes sense, given that there are at least a million vehicles on the roadways at any particular hour of the day.

The statistics show us that non permitted, or non licensed riders have a 8 times greater chance of engaging in unsafe operation of their cycles. It is simply reckless to go riding when your not properly permitted. If you cause a serious injury to another, the traffic collision investigation could find you at fault.  This means in including a long term or permanent suspension, you could serve jail time, and also be ordered to pay criminal restitution.

Can I Still Get Money if Injured and Not Properly Licensed or Permitted?

Our team of highly aggressive injury attorney at Ehline Law Firm PC motorcycle lawyers, insist that you use your brain when you ride. But if you ride without proper papers, you still can recover for injuries that were not your fault. So with or without an M2, or M-1 Ehline has the experience, knowledge and skill to take your case all the way and get you out of the hot water of medical and other financial losses. We motorcycle lawyers have a no recovery no fee policy, and are standing by waiting for your no obligation phone call at 888-400-9721.

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