Motorcyclists in California are required to follow much the same laws as drivers of any other kind of vehicle. The state’s legal system also holds laws that apply to motorcyclists specifically. These rules are in place for their protection, as well as that of others using the road. Decent knowledge of these rules can spell the difference between life and death in a motorcycle accident.
Requirements for Acquiring a Motorcycle License
California law requires every motorcyclist to obtain what is known as a learner’s permit, before they can apply for a license inside the state. Riders under 21 years of age must hold this permit for no shorter than 6 months before gaining eligibility to apply for a motorcycle license.
Learner’s permit applicants are required to pass a skills test, vision exam, and knowledge test. Applicants below 21 years of age are also required to pass a safety training course conducted by the CHP. Permits are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, and legally prevent the driver from doing the following things.
- Driving at night
- Carrying passengers
- Driving on a freeway
Safety Equipment Laws
California is a state, which enforces numerous regulations regarding the equipment that riders have to wear when riding their motorcycles.
- CVC 27803 calls for wearing helmets whenever a rider is operating a motorcycle. The helmet must comply with standards outlined by the Department of Transportation.
- CVC 26709 requires that motorcycles be equipped with left and right mirrors.
- CVC 27801 prohibits handlebars installed in any position, which places the driver’s hands over six inches above shoulder their height when seated.
- Motorcycles built and initially registered on January 1, 1973, are required to have working turn signals at both the front and rear.
- The exhaust systems must comply with the stipulations under the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act.
Lane Sharing and Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is what happens when a motorcyclist moves the vehicle between two traffic lanes in order to get around other vehicles. California legalized this road practice in 2016, but prohibits speeds slow enough to impeded traffic, unless absolutely necessary (CVC 22400). Other motorists are prohibited from opening their doors or leaving them open unless it is reasonably safe to do either. Regarding lane sharing, California is yet to lay out specific restrictions at this time.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, our accident injury lawyers can negotiate or litigate on your behalf, and ensure you get the maximum compensation owed for your damages.