California's Official Motorcycle Safety and Training Program

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Motorcycle Instruction Permit, Effective January 1, 2011 (California Vehicle Code section 12509.5) This new law requires a person under 18 years of age to complete a California Highway Patrol approved motorcycle safety course at a California Motorcyclist Safety Program training site in California. This course must be completed before being issued a motorcycle instruction permit with which to practice operating a motorcycle, and requires the permit to be held for six months before being issued a class M motorcycle driver license endorsement.

To enroll in a CMSP class you must have at least one of the following: A valid driver’s license from one of the fifty states, a California DMV issued automobile learners permit, or a California DMV issued identification card. CMSP accepts out-of-state driver’s licenses that are acceptable to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Any person younger than 18 years must also have the written permission of his/her parent(s) or legal guardian.

Any potential student who possesses a license that has been restricted due to one or more convictions for driving while impaired may not participate in any CMSP RiderCourse until all restrictions to the license have been lifted. All potential students will be asked to attest that they are not in possession of a restricted license.

In order to avoid having unnecessary delays in obtaining your motorcycle license endorsement we recommend the following steps:

  • Enroll in a CMSP RiderCourse, find one near you by following this link.
  • Immediately upon completion go the California DMV website and download a copy of the DMV California Motorcycle Handbook. READ THE HANDBOOK, STUDY THE HANDBOOK!
  • Make an appointment to visit your local DMV Field Office or drop by one near you during business hours.
  • You will need to apply for your motorcycle permit and take the DMV written exam. The written exam is not easy, but if you have studied the DMV’s Motorcycle Handbook you will improve your opportunity to succeed. If you do not pass the written exam you should reschedule to take the exam right away, the application for your permit is only valid for twelve months.
  • Upon successful completion of the DMV’s written exam you will receive your motorcycle operators permit. You will be restricted from riding at night, on freeways and with a passenger. Use these six months to work on your mental and physical riding skills.
  • After six months you may make an appointment to visit to a DMV Field Office to trade in your permit for a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.

Congratulations, you’re a licensed motorcyclist! We look forward to seeing you in a refresher course soon!