Motorcycles, Mopeds and Scooters Defined
Cycles Defined, Registration and Driver Licensing Requirements
- A motorcycle has more than a 150cc engine size, and no more than 3 wheels.
- A motorcycle has to be registered and the driver must have a motorcycle license (M1).
- M1 license holders may operate any motorized bicycle, moped or motor scooter without an M2 endorsement.
- A motor-driven cycle has 149cc or less engine size. CVC §405
- A motor-driven cycle has to be registered and the driver must have a motorcycle license (M1).
NOTE: Three wheeled motorcycles or a motorcycle with a side car require only a Class C driver license. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §12804.9
California Vehicle Code 406(a) defines a "motorized bicycle" or "moped" as:
- A two or three-wheeled device, capable of no more than 30 mph on level ground, and equipped with:
- Fully operative pedals for human propulsion.
- A motor producing less than four gross brake horsepower and an automatic transmission.
- An electric motor, with or without pedals for human propulsion.
To operate a motorized bicycle or moped, you must:
- Be 16 years of age or older.
- Have a motorcycle license (M1 or M2). Exception: A person who holds a valid California driver license of any class may operate a short-term (48 hours or less) rental motorized bicycle or moped without taking a special examination for the operation of a motorized bicycle and without having a class M2 endorsement on their driver license.
- Wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.
- Motorized bicycles and mopeds are issued special license plates and identification cards, which requires a one-time fee. No renewal is required.
- A motorized scooter is a two-wheeled device that has handlebars, a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding, and is powered by a motor. Click here for more information CVC §407.5
- Motorized scooter does NOT have to be registered. A motorized scooter may be driven with any class driver license.