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

Motorcycles and similar motorized vehicles offer an exciting way to travel from place to place, but a particular type of license is usually required to ride one. Obtaining a license indicates that you know how to safely operate and handle a motorcycle, keeping yourself and other commuters safe and preventing motorcycle accidents.

California offers two different types of motorcycle licenses: M1 licenses and M2 licenses. It’s important to know the key differences between the two if you’re planning on seeking a license.

What Is an M1 Motorcycle License?

An M1 license allows a rider to operate a motorcycle or motorized scooter in the State of California. Additionally, riders with an M1 license can operate any of the vehicles listed under an M2 license, such as motor-powered bicycles.

A motorcycle is defined as any motorized vehicle with a seat or saddle designed to travel on two wheels. A motorized scooter is any two-wheeled device with an electric motor, handlebars, and floorboards; a driver’s seat is optional. A motor-powered cycle is a motorcycle or bicycle with an output of 149 ccs or less.

What Is an M2 Motorcycle License?

An M2 motorcycle license entitles riders to operate any motorized bicycle, moped, or scooter, as defined above.

The designations “motorized bicycle” and “moped” are reserved for two or three-wheeled vehicles not capable of exceeding 30 mph.

Is One License Better Than the Other?

Not necessarily. Most applicants apply for an M1 license since it gives riders more flexibility and allows them to operate more types of vehicles. Depending on your needs, however, an M2 license may be sufficient. 

Do You Need a Standard Driver’s License Before You Can Apply for a Motorcycle License?

No. You can apply for either type of motorcycle license in California without a standard driver’s license. Many drivers never get a regular driver’s license, opting to travel exclusively on two wheels.

You may have to complete a few additional steps at the DMV if you don’t already have a standard license. Still, the lack of a driver’s license will not affect your eligibility to receive a motorcycle license.

Other Requirements To Operate a Motorcycle in California

Before you can register your bike and hit the road, you’ll need insurance.

California legally requires drivers to carry at least minimum insurance, including the following:

  • $15,000 liability protection for injury or death of one person
  • $30,000 liability protection for injury or death of multiple people
  • $5,000 liability protection for property damage

Insurance can protect you in the event of an accident, both physically and financially.

How To Get a California Motorcycle License

There are several requirements for getting a motorcycle license in California. 

If you’re an adult over 21 applying for a motorcycle license, you’ll be required to:

  • Complete an application
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Be fingerprinted
  • Pay the associated fees
  • Have your photo taken
  • Pass knowledge and skills exams

The requirements are the same for adults aged 18 to 20, but you’ll also need to complete a motorcycle safety course and hold an instructional permit for at least six months. Minors aged 15 ½ to 17 must complete a driver education course and hands-on training on top of these requirements.

Enjoy the Open Road

Once you have your vehicle and license, you’ll be all set to enjoy one of the most liberating ways to travel. Just remember to stay safe and never ride without a license.

Contact the San Diego Motorcycle Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in San Diego or Chula Vista, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 777-5555

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000