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To operate a motorcycle in California, you must have a Class M license. Licenses are issued through the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The state offers a motorcycle instruction permit and two license levels. An M1 license includes any type of motorcycle, and an M2 license is specifically for motorbikes, mopeds, or scooters. You must be at least 15 ½ to apply for a Class M1 or M2 permit. At age 16, you can apply for an M1 or M2 license if you have held a permit for at least 6 months.
To receive a Class M1 or M2 permit or license, you must submit your documentation, pass the vision screening, pass the driver and motorcycle knowledge tests, complete a Form DL44 application, and pay the fees. Anyone under the age of 21 must also complete the California Highway Patrol California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CHP CMSP) and submit the certification. Applicants who are over 21 are encouraged to take the CHP CMSP course as well, and the motorcycle skills test is waived for those who complete the course.
Tests are scheduled through your local DMV. The written exam contains 25 questions about signaling, crossing, changing lanes and other safe driving practices. You must answer 20 of the questions correctly to pass. The motorcycle skills test examines how well you handle and operate your motorcycle. If you fail a test, you must wait one day to retake it.