California Motorcycle Laws: What You Need to Know
With thousands of miles of coastline, deserts, forests, and year round beautiful weather it should come as no surprise that California has one of the largest populations of motorcycle drivers in the nation. The laws that apply to other vehicles on the roadway also apply to motorcycles, but California also has motorcycle-specific laws that drivers and riders need to be aware of before hitting the highway for a ride. An experienced attorney can help review these specific rules to ensure that you are abiding by state law and minimizing your chances of injury on the roadway. Call or contact an attorney in your area today.
Motorcycle License Requirements
A motorcycle license is different from a typical driver’s license in California. A driver must get a learner’s permit first, and drivers under the age of 21 years old must hold a learner’s permit for at least six months before applying for a license. The licensing exam includes an eye test, skills test, and knowledge test that covers the California Motorcycle handbook. Drivers under the age of 21 years must also pass a California Motorcyclist Safety Program, as well.
Motorcycle drivers must also carry a minimum level of insurance before getting on the road. In California, the minimum requirements for motorcycles are $5,000 for property damage, $15,000 for bodily injury to an individual, and $30,000 for bodily injury per accident if there is more than one victim. Failure to carry the minimum levels of insurance can result in the suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year.
Safety Equipment Laws
California has a number of requirements for safety equipment and other gear that motorcyclists must wear while on the road. Drivers and riders must wear helmets at all times, and those helmets must meet certain safety requirements. Every motorcycle must be equipped with left and right mirrors as well as working turn signals in the front and back of the motorcycle. Handlebars cannot be installed that put the driver’s hands more than six inches above shoulder height, and exhaust systems must be in compliance with the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act.
Lane Splitting and Sharing Rules
California does allow the practice of lane splitting for motorcycles. This is when a motorcycle maneuvers between two lanes of traffic in order to get around vehicles. Additional protections for motorcyclists that use lane splitting include rules that prohibit other motorists from driving so slowly that it blocks or impedes normal traffic flow or leave doors open unless reasonably safe to do so and will not impede traffic. Lane sharing is also allowed in California, where two motorcyclists ride side by side in the same lane of traffic.
Talk to an Attorney Now
By ensuring that you are compliant with the motorcycle laws in California, the road is safer for everyone driving. Call or contact us to learn more about what you need to know about California motorcycle laws.