An Overview of California Motorcycle Safety Laws

Driving bike in autumn in a foggy morningWhether you are a daily rider, a weekend warrior, or are just looking to get a motorcycle, it is important that you know California motorcycle safety laws. Understanding the law and all safety requirements can save you a lot of time and money, but even more importantly, it could save your life.

California Motorcycle Safety Laws

Below, we will briefly summarize the do’s and don’ts of motorcycle safety, including required equipment, prohibited gear, and traffic laws for motorcycles on the roads.

Required Equipment

  • Daytime use of a headlight is required for vehicles manufactured after 1977.
  • A rider should not drive a motorcycle with handlebars positioned so that they must hold their hands more than six inches above their shoulders to grip the bars while sitting in the seat.
  • Left and right side mirrors are required by law.
  • Full mufflers are required. Cut outs, or other similar bypasses are prohibited.
  • Turn signals are required by law.
  • A passenger seat and footrest are required, only if carrying a passenger.

Safety Gear

  • Riders are required to wear a safety helmet.
  • Earplugs are allowed, but only if they do not prevent a rider from hearing emergency vehicle sirens or another drivers horn.
  • Only single earphone helmet speakers are allowed by law.
  • Eye protection is not required.

Special Traffic Laws

  • Lane splitting is allowed, according to California Highway Patrol.
  • There is no specific statute to address two motorcycles riding abreast of each other.
  • Rider education is required for riders under 21.
  • There is no age limit on passengers.
  • Riders are required to carry liability insurance.
  • Motorcycles towing trailers must not exceed 55 MPH and must remain in the far right lane (two far right lanes on a four-lane highway).

Frederick M. Dudek is an avid cyclist and helps individuals in bicycle and motorcycle accidents seek justice if they are injured by the negligence of another.