Yes. There different laws and different requirements for operating a motorcycle.

In California, there are two different types of licenses permitting the operation of a two-wheeled vehicle:

  • Motorcycle/Motorize Scooter License (M1) – Gives the holder permission to ride any type of motorcycle in California.
  • Moped/Motorized Bicycle License (M2) – A license that allows the holder to ride only a moped, motorized bicycle or scooter.

different rules for operating a motorcycle


California requires operators of motor vehicles be at least 16 years old. This includes motorcycles. However, anyone younger than 18-years old must hold a permit for at least six months, complete driver’s education and a motorcycle rider-training course, before he or she can operate a motorcycle on the roadway with a license.

Under California Vehicle Code Section 27803, it requires all passengers including the riders of motorcycles to wear a helmet.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is legal in California. We are the first state in the nation to allow this type of riding. However, there are a few guidelines to lane split. One is that the rider should not be moving greater than 10 miles per hour faster than traffic. Two is lane splitting should not take place when traffic is moving above 30 miles per hour. The third guideline is the act should take place between the number 1 and 2 lanes because there are fewer cars entering and exiting those lanes compared to the slower lanes.

Unlike passenger cars where there need to be two or more people to be traveling in the high occupancy lanes, motorcycle riders are also permitted to use HOV lanes without an extra passenger.

Motorcycles are required to have both a left and right mirror. This helps ensure the rider has appropriate visibility when maneuvering between lanes.


There is no specific age a passenger on a motorcycle must be. However, a passenger must have a seat securely fastened to the vehicle, and there must be footrests for the passenger. Additionally, the passenger must be able to reach the available footrests. Essentially, a passenger needs to be tall enough to reach the footrests.

These all represent laws or requirements to riding motorcycles. It’s important that as a motorcycle rider, you take additional precautions to ensure your safety! In the event of an accident, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney for help.