California Motorcycle Manual Online 2014


If your dream is to ride down California’s coastal roadways, take heart. It’s not that far off if you break things up into steps. The first thing you’ve got to do is apply for the California M1 (Motorcycle) License. In order to obtain your M1, you’ve got to pass the written test, then the riding test. Previous applicants have reported that these tests are ridiculously difficult, probably because one accident is all it takes to get seriously injured – or worse – on a motorcycle.

The Written Test

The written test is based on the California Motorcycle Handbook, available online below, at the DMV, or on the California DMV website. Study this handbook carefully, because you’ll only have three chances to pass the test. The handbook includes a summary of the laws and regulations you’ll need to be familiar with in order to ride a motorcycle, or other two-wheeled vehicle, on California roads.

What’s in the Handbook?

The main sections of this handbook are as follows:

  • License Requirements – This section lists the steps one must take to obtain the Motorcycle License. It has specific information for young applicants (i.e. those under 21 years old).
  • Preparing to Ride – There are four key elements that any safe rider needs to consider before making a trip. These are: familiarity with the motorcycle; checking motorcycle equipment; wearing the right gear; and being a responsible rider. This section discusses the key elements in detail.
  • Ride Within Your Abilities – Although a handbook alone is unable to teach readers how to control their direction, speed or balance, this section introduces the basics of vehicle control so that learners can practice such skills in an informed manner.
  • Being in Shape to Ride – In order to effectively assess their riding environment, spot upcoming hazards and make skillful judgments, riders need to ensure that they are performing at their best. This section talks about the factors that may affect a rider’s performance ability, which include consumption of drugs and alcohol, or conditions such as fatigue and mood.
  • Other – This section includes information on motorcycle insurance, the consequences should you evade a peace officer, as well as environmental considerations all riders should be aware of.

All this should prepare you for the written test, which is based on the concepts, information and practices from the California Motorcycle Handbook.

For Beginners and Experienced Riders

Whether you’re considering applying for your license or thinking about reviewing some old skills, you can always use a copy of the California Motorcycle Handbook available online below. It’s adjusted annually with new laws and driving rules, so whether you’re a novice or an old-timer, it always pays to stay up-to-date!