5 Things To Know From The California Motorcycle Handbook

by Mona Deldar on Feb. 21, 2024

Accident & Injury Motorcycle Accident 

Summary: Discover essential safety, licensing, and road safety tips from the California Motorcycle Handbook for safer riding.

Navigating the roads on a motorcycle in California involves more than just balancing on two wheels. It requires a deep understanding of specific laws, safety protocols, and riding techniques. The California Motorcycle Handbook is an essential guide for all riders in the Golden State, standing as a valuable resource that provides knowledge necessary for safe and legal riding.


The pleasant weather, while appealing for riding, inadvertently leads to crowded roads and a higher likelihood of motorcycle accidents. Data shown in the California Highway Patrol's SWITRS reported 13,381 total injures and fatalities from motorcycle crashes in 2021. In urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, city streets and freeways are congested and pose a greater risk for motorcyclists.


That's why it's important every rider follows the California Motorcycle Handbook and knows the rules of the road. Here are 5 key areas every rider should focus on:


1. Knowing Traffic Laws


Every state has its own traffic laws and California is no exception. The California Motorcycle Handbook helps riders familiarize themselves with California-specific regulations that impact motorcyclists. This includes understanding the state's unique approach to lane splitting, the legal requirements for helmets, and specific traffic signals and signs relevant to motorcyclists. People interested should read the California Motorcycle Handbook in full to learn every detail!


2. Safety Guidelines


The California Motorcycle Handbook stresses several different points about safety and the importance of wearing appropriate gear. This includes helmets that meet California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) standards, as well as protective clothing designed to minimize injuries in case of a fall. All riders and passengers are required to wear a helmet according to California Vehicle Code 27803. All motorcycle helmets must meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines and be fully equipped with:


  • Hard outer shell (normally made of fiberglass)
  • Face shield
  • Chin protector
  • Foam inline


These helmets must weigh at least three pounds to ensure durability and have a snug fit to effectively protect the head during impacts. Additionally, they should be free of any defects such as cracks, frayed straps, or loose padding, to maintain their integrity and safety functionality.


More safety guidelines covered in the California Motorcycle Handbook deal with proactive riding practices. You can learn about the best practices like defensive riding, understanding the blind spots of larger vehicles, and techniques to increase your visibility to other road users. The handbook offers detailed strategies to enhance your safety on the road.


3. Riding Techniques


Riding a motorcycle and driving a car is all about mastering different driving conditions. California roadways have a little bit of everything - coastal vistas, bumper-to-bumper city traffic, snowy mountains, and dry deserts. The handbook provides valuable insights into riding under various conditions such as wet roads, windy situations, and navigating through traffic. It offers tips on posture, throttle control, and braking techniques. For more experienced riders, there are sections on advanced maneuvers like quick stops, swerving, and tight turns.


4. Licensing Process


Anybody who wants to ride a motorcycle on California roads must have a valid motorcycle license. This is when we get into the specifics of state laws and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). First, let's begin with the two types of motorcycle licenses:


  • Class M1 - Two-wheel motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, and all motorized scooters under M2.
  • Class M2 - Motorized bicycle, moped, and other motorized scooters.


For riders under 21 years of age, California mandates holding a motorcycle instruction permit for a minimum of six months prior to applying for a motorcycle driver's license. After fulfilling the instruction permit requirements, candidates must visit a DMV office to proceed. Here, you'll need to submit your instruction permit as proof of the six-month holding period, and provide evidence of completed driver education and training.


Every applicant must complete the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). This program tests basic vehicle control skills to see if you can maneuver through normal traffic situations. If you successfully complete the program, you are awarded a certificate. This certificate exempts you from having to take the skills test at the DMV.


5. Handling Emergencies


The California Motorcycle Handbook also offers important tips and practices for emergency preparedness. The handbook advises on how to handle various emergencies, such as mechanical failures, road hazards, or collisions. It addresses guidelines on staying calm, assessing the situation, and taking appropriate action. However, not every emergency can be avoided.


Motorcyclists also need to know post-accident procedures. It's crucial to know what to do immediately following an accident. The handbook outlines steps to ensure personal safety and legal compliance, including how to report an accident and exchange insurance information.


California Motorcycle Handbook Review


Despite the best preparation, motorcycle accidents can still occur. Deldar Legal is equipped to assist in these situations. Our team of California motorcycle accident attorneys understand the unique challenges riders face. We are committed to ensuring that your rights are protected, and you receive fair compensation for any injuries. If you're involved in a motorcycle accident, contact us today at (844)335-3271!

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