Motorcycle Laws for Minors


Most parents who own a vehicle in California are already familiar with car seat laws even before their baby is born. A few years later, they ensure they’re up to date on all the height/weight requirements for booster seats to keep their child safe in case of an accident. But what about child passenger laws for motorcycles? Even if you’re an experienced rider, you must be knowledgeable about state laws for child passengers. Whether you have a motorcycle or a teenager who wants one, this article is for you. We’ll cover child passenger laws in California, followed by motorcycle laws for minors who wish to ride.

Minors as Motorcycle Passengers in California

Child passenger laws in California require children to be at least eight years of age to ride on a motorcycle. Additionally, children must meet specific requirements to ride as passengers.

Here are the key points regarding child passenger laws for motorcycles in California:

  • In California, children under eight years old are generally prohibited from riding as passengers on motorcycles.
  • Even if a child is eight years old, they must meet specific height/weight requirements to legally ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, which can vary based on the design and specifications of the motorcycle.
  • A child passenger must be able to reach the passenger footrests comfortably. This ensures the child can securely hold on to the motorcycle and maintain proper balance when riding.
  • If a child is legally allowed to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, they must wear appropriate safety gear, including a DOT-approved helmet that is properly fitted to the child’s head.
  • California law requires that when a child is riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, they must be under the supervision of an adult who is responsible for their safety and well-being.
Minors as Motorcycle Passengers in California

It’s important to note that child passenger laws for motorcycles may vary from state to state and can change over time. Additionally, the enforcement and interpretation of these laws can be subject to the discretion of law enforcement officers and local authorities.

Motorcycle Laws in California for Minors

Motorcycle laws for minors (individuals under the age of 18) are designed to prioritize safety and ensure that young riders have the necessary skills and training to operate motorcycles responsibly. If you’re a minor or the parent or guardian of a minor who wishes to ride a motorcycle in California, here are the primary laws and regulations to be aware of:

Motorcycle Learner’s Permit:

  • Minors as young as 15 and a half years old can apply for a motorcycle learner’s permit.
  • To obtain a learner’s permit, a minor must complete a motorcycle safety training program approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or pass a written test.
  • A learner’s permit allows a minor to ride a motorcycle under certain restrictions, such as:
    • only riding during daylight hours
    • cannot carry passengers
    • must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times
    • must have a learner's permit for at least six months before applying for a motorcycle license.
  • While riding with a learner’s permit, a minor must be accompanied by a Class M1 licensed rider who is at least 21 years of age.
Motorcycle Learner’s Permit

Motorcycle License:

  • Minors can apply for a Class M1 license once they are at least 16 years old.
  • In addition to holding a learner’s permit for at least six months, a minor must provide parental or guardian consent, and complete an approved motorcycle safety training program or pass both a written test and a riding skills test administered by the DMV.
  • Minors are not allowed to carry passengers on their motorcycles for the first six months after obtaining a Class M1 license.
  • All motorcycle riders, regardless of age, must wear DOT-approved helmets in California.
  • Motorcycles must be properly insured, and minors must adhere to the state’s insurance requirements when riding.

It’s essential to note that motorcycle laws in California can change over time, so it’s advisable to check with your local DMV for more up-to-date information.

Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

If you need legal advice or have questions concerning a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to reach out and speak with one of our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys. Yepremyan Law Firm has been a trusted legal advisor since 1998. As a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles, we offer 24/7 support and provide free consultations. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

*No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. These materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to any particular legal matter. Use of and access to this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Yepremyan Law Firm and any of its attorneys, employees, or associates.


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