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Required and Prohibited Motorcycle Features in California

In California, motorcycle riders must follow the same rules as drivers of passenger vehicles. As a motorcyclist must follow traffic laws and state roadway rules. A rider is required to signal his intent to turn, follow traffic signs, and keep a required distance from other vehicles. Causing an accident or breaking a roadway rule can result in liability for damages.

But there are also specific rules which apply only to motorcyclists.

Obtaining a Motorcycle License in California

Before applying for a motorcycle license, California requires all riders must obtain a learner’s permit in California.

Learner’s permit applicants must pass:

  • a vision exam
  • skills test
  • knowledge test which covers information found in the California Motorcycle Handbook.

Applicants under the age of 21 are also required to pass a California Motorcyclist Safety Program training course. Learner’s permit is valid for a year after the date of issuance.

Insurance Requirements

In California, all motorcyclists are obliged to have a minimum amount of liability insurance, including:

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $15,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $30,000 for bodily injuries to more than one person

If the motorcyclist, involved in an accident doesn’t have any insurance, he can face a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Safety Equipment

  • According to California Vehicle Code Section 27803, all motorcyclists are required to wear helmets.
  • According to California Vehicle Code Section 26709, all riders must be equipped with right and left mirrors.
  • According to California Vehicle Code Section 27801, handlebars can’t be fitted in a position that puts the rider’s hands more than 6 inches above his shoulder height. while the motorcycle is in motion.

Cannabis Use

Riding under the influence of cannabis in the state of California can result in a DUI charge and related penalties and fees, including suspension of motorcycle rider’s license and driving privileges. In case the motorcyclist caused an accident while under the influence of cannabis, he can be financially liable for injuries and other damages.

Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is when a motorcycle rider drives between two lanes of traffic to get around other vehicles. In state of California it is legal to practice lane splitting on the state’s roadways.

Here are regulations related to lane splitting:

  • According to California Vehicle Code Section 22517 riders are not allowed to open or leave open vehicle doors unless it is reasonably safe to do so.
  • According to California Vehicle Code Section, 22400 riders are not allowed to drive at a speed which blocks the normal traffic movement, unless it is necessary for safety.

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