Motorcycle Instruction Permit (California Vehicle Code section 12509.5) This law requires a person under 18 years of age to complete a California Highway Patrol-approved motorcycle training course at a California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) training site in California. This course must be completed before obtaining a motorcycle instruction permit and requires the permit to be held for 6 months before being issued a class M motorcycle driver license endorsement.
To enroll in a CMSP course you must have at least one of the following:
- A valid driver’s license from one of the 50 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 Motorcyclist Training Course (MTC) 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 MTC, find one near you by following this link.
- Upon completion go the California DMV website and download a copy of the DMV California Motorcycle Handbook to read and study for the DMV’s written exam.
- Make an appointment to visit your local DMV Field Office or drop by one near you during business hours.
- Apply for your motorcycle permit and take the DMV written exam. The written exam is based off of the DMV’s Motorcycle Handbook. If you do not pass the written exam reschedule after reviewing the DMV California Motorcycle Handbook and keep in mind the application for your permit is only valid for 12 months.
- Upon successful completion of the DMV’s written exam you will receive your motorcycle operator’s permit. You will be restricted from riding at night, on freeways, and with a passenger. Use this 6-month period to work on your mental and physical riding skills as well as understanding your motorcycle’s specifications and operation.
- After 6 months you may make an appointment to visit to a DMV Field Office to acquire your motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.