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California Motorcycle Helmet Law

This list of California motorcycle helmet laws is a reference only and you should always refer to the California D.O.T. for current requirements.    Please e-mail us if you believe our California motorcycle helmet law information is out of date or otherwise incorrect.

California has full motorcycle helmet laws for all motorcycle riders!

In California, anyone who drives or rides on a motorcycle must wear a safety helmet that meets the requirements of California's Department of Motor Vehicles. Because these requirements can change, those who take to California highways on a motorcycle should check with the Department of Motor Vehicles before taking to the road. In addition, California law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to fasten their helmets with a helmet strap that fits the wearer's head securely.

The only exception to California's helmet law is for those driving or operating a fully-enclosed, three-wheeled vehicle that is not less than 7 feet long and not less than 7 feet wide and weighs 900 pounds or more

STATUTE: California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803. 
"(a) A driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.
"(b) It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a).
"(c) It is unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a).
"(d) This section applies to persons who are riding on motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycles operated on the highways.
"(e) For the purposes of this section, 'wear a safety helmet' or 'wearing a safety helmet' means having a safety helmet meeting the requirements of Section 27802 (see :Standards" below) on the person's head that is fastened with the helmet straps and that is of a size that fits the wearing person's head securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement.
"(f) In enacting this section, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all persons are provided with an additional safety benefit while operating or riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle."

The LAW says (in pertinent part): 
Section 40303.5:

"Whenever any person is arrested for any of the following offenses, the arresting officer shall permit the arrested person to execute a notice containing a promise to correct the violation in accordance with the provisions of 40610 unless the arresting officer finds that any of the disqualifying conditions specified in the subdivision (b) of Section 40610 exist: . . . (d) Any infraction involving equipment set forth in Division 12 (commencing with Section 240000) . . . (Note: which includes section 27803, the helmet law.)"
Section 40610(b) states:


"Pursuant to subdivision (a), a notice to correct violation shall be issued as provided in this section . . . unless the officer finds any of the following: 
"(1) Evidence of fraud or persistent neglect.
"(2) The violation presents an immediate safety hazard.
"(3) The violator does not agree to, or cannot, promptly correct the violation."
Therefore, a violation of California's helmet law is -- as a matter or Law according to the language of the statutes -- an equipment violation, and carries with it only a need to show "proof of correction" and the payment of a $10 fine. However, . . .

The CHP (California Highway Patrol) says:

CHP Enforcement Bulletin #42, issued in May, 1994, states that a violation of CVC 27803 constitutes an "immediate safety hazard" and is therefore not correctable as provided in Section 40303.5 (see above). The California Judicial Council affirmed this edict, and for the most part the California courts pretty much disregard everything but the wishes of the CHP . . . and that includes disregarding the Law.

So, the fine for violation of California's helmet law can be anything from $10 and "proof of correction" up to $250.00 and one year's probation. It all depends on who you ask!

STANDARDS:

California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27802. 
"(a) The department may adopt reasonable regulations establishing specifications and standards for safety helmets offered for sale, or sold, for use by drivers and passengers of motorcycles and motorized bicycles as it determines are necessary for the safety of those drivers and passengers. The regulations shall include, but are not limited to, the requirements imposed by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218) and may include compliance with that federal standard by incorporation of its requirements by reference. Each helmet sold or offered for sale for use by drivers and passengers of motorcycles and motorized bicycles shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the federal standard which shall constitute the manufacturer's certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
"(b) No person shall sell, or offer for sale, for use by a driver or passenger of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle any safety helmet which is not of a type meeting requirements established by the department."


MISCELLANEOUS MOTORCYCLE LAWS

State Funded Rider Education 
Available for all eligible applicants. 
Required under age 21. 
May waive skills test for successful completion of rider ed. 
Daytime Use Of Headlight 
Required by law for vehicles manufactured during or after 1978. 
Modulating headlight permitted. 
Passenger Seat 
Required if carrying a passenger. 
Passenger Footrests 
Required if carrying a passenger. 
Helmet Speakers 
Single earphone only. 
Mirror 
Required by law. 
Periodic Safety Inspection 
Random inspections, required by law. 
65 MPH Speed Limit 
In effect on designated rural interstate highways. 

CALIFORNIA:DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF CLOTHING OR CLUB MEMBERSHIP IS ILLEGAL

The Unruh Civil Rights Act (C-C Section 51 et seq) provides that "All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or blindness or other physical disability are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever." Any person whose exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States has been interfered with, or attempted to be interfered with may institute and prosecute a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief, including the award of compensatory monetary damages. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Cohen V. California 403 US 15 (1971) that individuals have the constitutional right under the First Amendment to wear clothing which displays writing or designs. In addition, the right of an individual to freedom of association has long been recognized and protected by the United States Supreme Court Thus, a person's right to wear the clothing of his choice, as well as his right to belong to any club or organization of his choice is constitutionally protected and persons or establishments who discriminate on the basis of clothing or club membership are subject to lawsuit.

Zina has summarized all the sections of the California Vehicle Code that mention motorcycles: She did a great job. Here goes:

Brakes 
2420. Upon request of the California Highway Patrol, manufacturers of motorcycles shall furnish a certification of gross brake horsepower to the department. If any manufacturer of motorcycles fails to comply with such request within 30 days of the request, no dealer shall sell the particular make and model of motorcycle for which the certification was requested. 
(z) For the chronologically impaired, 30 days is roughly the period between rent check payments. 
26301.5. Every passenger vehicle manufactured and first registered after January 1, 1973, except motorcycles, shall be equipped with an emergency brake system so constructed that rupture or leakage-type failure of any single pressure component of the service brake system shall not result in complete loss of function of the vehicle's brakes when force on the brake pedal is continued. 
(z) Motorcyclists may drag their feet on the ground should all brakes fail. 
26311. (a) Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with service brakes on all wheels, except as follows: 
(5) Any sidecar attached to a motorcycle. 
(6) Any motorcycle manufactured prior to 1966. Such motorcycle shall be equipped with brakes on at least one wheel. 
(z) Any motorcycle manufactured prior to 1940. Such motorcycle shall get a prize for even running. 
26450. Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a service brake system and every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be equipped with a parking brake system. 
(z) Motorcyclists shall park on hot asphalt when at all possible to take advantage of this readily-available parking brake system.

California Motorcycle Safety Fund 
2931. A motorcyclist safety program is hereby established in the Department of the California Highway Patrol, to be administered by the commissioner. 
(z) As a part of the safety program, minivan drivers will be specially instructed on how not to take their eyes off the road when slapping at rowdy underaged passengers.
2932. The commissioner may do all of the following: 
(a) Provide financial or other support to projects aimed at enhancing motorcycle operation or safety. 
(b) Sponsor and coordinate efforts aimed at increasing motorists' awareness of motorcyclists. 
(c) Sponsor research into effective communication techniques to reach all highway users on matters of motorcyclist safety. 
(d) Establish an advisory committee of persons to assist in the establishment of a comprehensive program of motorcycle safety. 
(e) Adopt standards for course content, contact hours, curriculum, instructor training and testing, and instructional quality control, and setting forth a maximum amount for course fees for the novice rider training course specified in subdivision (g) of Section 12804.9. 
(z) Acknowledge the utter futility of (b) and (c). 
2934. (a) The California Motorcyclist Safety Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. 
(z) The fund will be kept in a clean coffee can located under the commissioner's desk. 
2935. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall collect a fee of two dollars ($2) upon initial registration and renewal of registration of every motorcycle. These additional fees shall be deposited in the California Motorcyclist Safety Fund. 
(z) The fees may also be deposited into an elected official's personal bank account on an as-needed basis.
2938. This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2003, and as of that date is repealed unless a later enacted statute deletes or extends that date. (z) In summary, after January 1, 1998, nothing will change for motorcyclists.

Carpool Lanes 
21655.5. (b) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, shall place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, signs and other official traffic control devices to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. No person shall drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a traffic control device.
(z) Traffic control devices include, but are not limited to, ladders, mattresses, and rolls of carpeting.

CHP Footwear 
2269. (a) The commissioner shall provide, as safety equipment, boots to each member of the California Highway Patrol who is assigned to ride motorcycles. This safety equipment shall remain the property of the state. Items lost or damaged because of the negligence of the officer shall be replaced by the officer at his or her expense. 
(z) Subsequent wearers of previously used boots will be issued a free can of athlete's foot powder by the state.

Closed Course Transportation
38022. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4000, motorcycles issued a special transportation identification device pursuant to Section 38088 may be transported upon a highway to and from a closed course. (Per section 38014 a "closed course" is a speedway, racetrack, or a prescribed and defined route of travel on or off a highway that is closed to all motor vehicles other than those of participants.)
38088. (a) Upon payment of the fee specified in Section 38232, the department shall issue to the owner of a motorcycle, which the owner has certified as being used exclusively in racing events on a closed course, a special transportation identification device for the purpose of identifying the motorcycle while it is being transported
upon a highway to and from racing events on a closed course. Such device may be either a plate or a sticker, whichever is determined by the department to be the most appropriate.
(b) Such device is nonrenewable, nontransferrable, and becomes invalid when the vehicle for which it was issued is sold or dismantled.
(c) A certificate of ownership may not be issued in conjunction with a special transportation identification device.

Dealership Requirements
24014. (a) No dealer shall sell, offer for sale, or display, any new, assembled motorcycle on its premises, unless there is securely attached to its handlebar a label, approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles, furnished by the manufacturer, on which the manufacturer shall clearly indicate the following:
(1) The recommended retail price of the motorcycle.
(2) The recommended price for each accessory or item of optional equipment physically attached to the motorcycle at the time of its delivery to the dealer.
(b) The dealer shall clearly indicate on the label, furnished by the manufacturer, the following:
(1) The amount charged, if any, over and above the suggested retail price for transportation to the dealership.
(2) The amount charged, if any, for the assembly, preparation, or both, of the motorcycle.
(3) The amount charged, if any, for each dealer added accessory or item of optional equipment.
(z) The sizable profit for which the dealership will extract from the hapless buyer.

Definition of a Motorcycle 
400. (a) A "motorcycle" is any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and weighing less than 1,500 pounds. 
(b) A motor vehicle that has four wheels in contact with the ground, two of which are a functional part of a sidecar, is a motorcycle if the vehicle otherwise comes within the definition of subdivision (a). 
(c) A motor vehicle that is electrically powered, has a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour, and weighs less than 2,500 pounds, is a motorcycle if the vehicle otherwise comes within the definition of subdivision (a). 
(d) A farm tractor is not a motorcycle. (e) A motor vehicle that has an enclosed seating area for the driver and passenger, and is used by local public agencies for the enforcement of parking control provisions, is not a motorcycle. 
(z) The fact that (d) or (e) needed to be clarified is hereby officially noted as frightening.

Dismantling 
5505. (a) This section applies to any vehicle reported to be a total loss salvage and to any vehicle reported to have been dismantled. 
(1) "Major component parts for motorcycles" includes the engine or motor, transmission or transaxle, frame, front fork, and crankcase. 
(2) "Minor component parts for motorcycles" includes the fairing and any other body molding. 
(z) "Somewhere-in-between" component parts for motorcycles" includes the kill switch, the odometer, the low-gas indicator light, and whatever else. 
11514. (a) An automobile dismantler's established place of business shall have posted the license issued by the department and shall have erected signs providing information relating to the automobile dismantler. The sign shall indicate the nature of the dismantler's business by inclusion of "Automobile Dismantler," "Automobile Wrecker," "Motorcycle Dismantler," "Trailer Dismantler," "Vehicle Dismantler," or a combination of such designations on such sign. 
(z) "Purveyor of Purloined Parts" and "Chop Till You Drop" illustrate signs with insufficient information.

Driver/Passenger Positioning 
27314. (a) No dealer shall sell any used passenger vehicle that was manufactured on or after January 1, 1962, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with at least two seatbelts which are installed for the use of persons in the front seat of the vehicle. (b) No dealer shall sell any used passenger vehicle manufactured on or after January 1, 1968, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with seatbelts for each seating position. 
(z) No dealer shall sell seatbelts unless the car is provided without additional cost. 
27800. It is unlawful for a driver of a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle to carry any other person thereon, except on a seat securely fastened to the machine at the rear of the driver and provided with footrests, or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle and designed for the purpose of carrying a passenger. Every passenger on a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle shall keep his feet on the footrests while such vehicle is in motion. 
(z) Every passenger shall resist resting his foot on the chain while the bike is in motion.
27801. No person shall drive any two-wheel motorcycle: 
(a) Equipped with a seat so positioned that the driver, when sitting astride the seat, cannot reach the ground with his feet. 
(b) Equipped with handlebars so positioned that the hands of the driver, when upon the grips, are at or above his shoulder height when sitting astride the seat. 
(z) Equipped with a gas tank so positioned that the driver, when smoking and driving, blows up.

Engine Replacement 
4161. (a) Whenever a motor vehicle engine or motor is installed, the owner of the motor vehicle shall, within 10 days thereafter, give notice to the department upon a form furnished by it containing a description of the motor vehicle engine or motor installed. 
(c) Whenever an application is made to the department to register a replacement engine case for any motorcycle, the department shall request the Department of the California Highway Patrol to inspect the motorcycle to determine its proper identity. If the replacement engine case bears the same identifying numbers as the engine case being replaced, the original engine case shall be destroyed.

Fees 
9105. The fees specified in this code need not be paid for on a motorcycle, as long as it is not used for transportation for hire, compensation, or profit, when owned by any disabled veteran or any Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. 
(z) The State of California will surreptitiously extract the money from these people through other means.
9255. Upon application for the transfer of the title or any interest of an owner, there shall be paid the following fees: (1) For a transfer by the owner of an automobile or motorcycle..... $15 
(4) When an application is presented showing a transfer by both the owner and legal owner of an automobile or motorcycle..... $15 
(z) For those unable to distinguish the difference between the previous two..... $20 
9268. In addition to any other registration fee, an additional fee of one dollar ($1) shall be collected upon the original registration of a motorcycle. 
(z) The labor required to process the one dollar ($1) will cost ten dollars ($10), but that is neither here nor there.

Golf Carts as Motorcycles 
24001.5. A golf cart as defined in Section 345 shall only be subject to the provisions of this division which are applicable to a motorcycle. 
(z) A golf cart driver shall be automatically assigned a lifetime, irrevocable M1 license if said driver is able to bank the cart onto two wheels for a distance of no less than 50 yards.

Helmet Use 
27802. (b) No person shall sell for use by a driver or passenger of a motorcycle any safety helmet which is not of a type meeting requirements established by the department. 
(z) Foam-lined mixing bowls and plaster turbans are currently under evaluation on Vespa-riding crash test dummies. 
27803. (a) A driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle. (c) It is unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a). 
(e) For the purposes of this section, "wear a safety helmet" or "wearing a safety helmet" means having a safety helmet on the person's head that is fastened with the helmet straps and that is of a size that fits the wearing person's head securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement. 
(z) Any cop who can detect excessive lateral or vertical movement in a rider's helmet will be immediately promoted to captain.

Ignition Lock
23575. (a) (1) In addition to any other provisions of law, the court may require that any person convicted of a first offense violation of Section 23152 or 23153 [DUI] to install a certified ignition interlock device on any vehicle that the person owns or operates and prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle unless that vehicle is equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock device. 
(m) For purposes of this section, "vehicle" does not include a motorcycle until the state certifies an ignition interlock device that can be installed on a motorcycle. Any person subject to an ignition interlock device restriction shall not operate a motorcycle for the duration of the ignition interlock device restriction period.
(z) Sitting idly in a sidecar without an ignition interlock is permissible under Section 23246.

Instructor Training 
11102.5. (a) A motorcycle driving school operator shall meet the following requirements: (4) Have worked for an established licensed California driving school as a motorcycle driving instructor for not less than 300 hours of actual motorcycle range and street teaching, have taught 300 hours of actual motorcycle range and street instruction under the guidance of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or have been given comparable training instruction which is acceptable to the department. 
(z) 299 hours is acceptable if an additional cumulative hour has been spent thumbing through motorcycle magazines while on the can.

License Plates 
4850. (a) The department, upon registering a motorcycle, shall issue to the owner one partially or fully reflectorized license plate. 
(z) Whether the plate ends up being partially or fully reflectorized depends on the condition of the rain forest at the time of plate manufacturing. 
4852. Motorcycle license plates shall measure seven inches in length and four inches in width, and the characters on the plates shall have a minimum height of one and one-half inches and a minimum width of nine-sixteenths inches, and shall have a minimum spacing between characters of three-sixteenths of an inch. 
(z) The shape of a motorcycle plate is not provided, as the License Plate Design Committee was participating in a team-building seminar during the formalization of this specific code. 
5004.5. Any owner of a motorcycle manufactured in the year 1942 or prior thereto shall be issued special license plates for the motorcycle. 
(z) The year 1942 was selected after intensive historical research and a brief consultation with a Ouija board. 
5060. (2) Special interest license plates authorized under this article may be issued for use on a motorcycle. That license plate shall contain a five digit configuration issued in sequential numerical order or, pursuant to Section 5103, in a combination of numbers or letters. There shall be a space to the left of the numerical series for a distinctive design or decal and the characters shall contrast sharply with the uniform background color. No motorcycle plate containing a full plate graphic design is authorized. Those particular special interest license plates that were issued prior to the discontinuation provided by this paragraph may continue to be used and attached to the vehicle for which they were issued and may be renewed, retained, or transferred pursuant to this code.
5061. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the department permits the issuance of a special interest license plate for display on a motorcycle, the department shall not approve any design for that plate that incorporates either or both of the following:
(b) Any special interest license plate issued for display on a motorcycle is subject to the same fees that are collected for the issuance and retention of special interest license plates on other vehicles.
5101.3. (a) Any Pearl Harbor survivor may apply for special license plates which shall run in a separate numerical series and shall contain the words "Pearl Harbor Survivor." The plates may be issued for any vehicle, except a vehicle used for transportation for hire, compensation, or profit, or a motorcycle. 
(z) After intensive testing with various type sizes, the License Plate Design Committee determined there was no way to fit "Pearl Harbor Survivor" onto a smaller plate.

Licensing 
12804.9. (a) (1) The examination shall include all of the following:
(A) A test of the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the provisions of this code.
(B) A test of the applicant's ability to read and understand simple English used in highway traffic and directional signs.
(C) A test of the applicant's understanding of traffic signs and signals.
(D) An actual demonstration of the applicant's ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in operating a motor vehicle by driving it under the supervision of an examining officer.
(I) Class C does not include any two-wheel motorcycle or any two-wheel motor-driven cycle.
(4) Class M1. Any two-wheel motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. Authority to operate vehicles included in a class M1 license may be granted by endorsement on a class A, B, or C license upon completion of an appropriate examination.
(i) No person under the age of 21 years shall be issued a class M1 or M2 license or endorsement unless he or she provides evidence satisfactory to the department of completion of a motorcycle safety training program that is operated pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 2930) of Chapter 5 of Division 2.
(k) A class M license issued between January 1, 1989, and December 31, 1992, shall permit the holder to operate any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle until the expiration of the license.
(z) Failing a riding test on a 250cc beater has been clinically proven to cause less shame than failing on a $10K sportbike. 
12500. (b) No person shall drive any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle upon a highway, unless the person holds a valid driver's license or endorsement issued under this code for that class. 
(z) Physically holding another person's license is not the correct interpretation of subdivision (a).
12509. (a) The department may issue a motorcycle instruction permit to any physically and mentally qualified person who meets the following requirements: (d) Any person who is age 17 years and 6 months or over may, in addition to operating a motor vehicle, also operate a motorcycle, except that such person shall not operate a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle during hours of darkness, shall stay off any freeways which have full control of access and no crossings at grade, and shall not carry any passenger except a qualified instructor. 
(z) Any instructor willing to ride with a trainee shall be issued a Medal of Valor.

Lights 
24253. (b) All motorcycles manufactured and first registered after January 1, 1971, shall be equipped so all taillamps, when turned on, will remain lighted automatically for a period of at least one-quarter hour if the engine stops. 
(z) Should the taillamps remain lit on a motorcycle with a stopped engine, it is recommended that the rider move away from the motorcycle before it is plowed into by a drunk driver or by someone searching for a cassette tape on the floor of his or her car. 
24400. During darkness, every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle shall be equipped with at least two lighted headlamps. 
(z) Possession of one burned out headlamp is acceptable as long as the driver feels remorse over its nonfunctionality. 
24603. Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with stoplamps mounted on the rear as follows: 
(b) Every such vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be equipped with two stoplamps. 
24606. (a) Every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be equipped with one or more backup lamps either separately or in combination with another lamp. 
(z) Motorcyclists moving in reverse fast enough for a backup light to matter will be cited for unbridled stupidity. 
24607. (b) Every vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be equipped with at least two reflectors meeting the visibility requirements. 
(z) As motorcycles are never seen in the first place, reflectors are moot. 
24951. (4) Motorcycles manufactured and first registered on or after January 1, 1973 shall be equipped with a lamp-type turn signal system. 
(z) As with motorists, use of these lamps may be entirely ignored at the rider's discretion. 
25251.2. Any motorcycle may be equipped with a means of modulating the upper beam of the headlamp between a high and a lower brightness at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlamps shall not be so modulated during darkness. 
(z) The exception is if the rider has been drinking; in such cases, the flickering light will act as a warning to others that the rider is about to deposit a wide swath of DNA on the road surface.
25451. Any motorcycle equipped with one lighted acetylene headlamp complies with the provisions of this code concerning lighted headlamps on motorcycles when the acetylene headlamp is fitted with a clear plane glass front and a bright six-inch spherical mirror and a standard acetylene one-half or five-eighths foot burner, projecting sufficient light ahead to reveal any vehicle, person, or substantial object upon the roadway within a distance of 115 feet. 
(z) Riders of such motorcycles may also use a rotary-dial phone while riding. 
25650. Every motorcycle during darkness shall be equipped with at least one and not more than two lighted headlamps. 
(z) Riders with a third functional eye will be allowed a third lighted headlamp, so long as the condition is validated by a practicing optometrist. 
25650.5. Every motorcycle manufactured and first registered on and after January 1, 1978, shall be equipped with at least one and not more than two headlamps which automatically turn on when the engine of the motorcycle is started and which remain lighted as long as the engine is running. 
(z) Those who disconnect this feature will be cited or will broadside a car that turns directly in front of them, whichever comes first.

Mirrors 
26709. (a) Every motorcycle subject to registration in this state shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Every motor vehicle, except a motorcycle, shall be equipped with not less than two such mirrors, including one affixed to the left-hand side. 
(z) Up to 95% obscuring of a rear view mirror by a motorcyclist's arm and elbow is permissible.

Motorcycle-Only Road 
527. (a) "Road" means any existing vehicle route established before January 1, 1979, with significant evidence of prior regular travel by vehicles, provided that "road" does not mean any route traversed exclusively by bicycles, motorcycles, motor-driven, or off-highway motor vehicles. 
(z) Should anyone encounter a road traversed exclusively by motorcycles, immediately alert the press.

Moving Vehicles, Attaching to 
1203. No person riding upon any motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any streetcar or vehicle on the roadway. 
(z) Microwave carts and unicycles are acceptable until such time an accident occurs and the State of California is held liable for not including these items on the list.
21712. (e) No person shall knowingly drive a motor vehicle which is towing any person riding upon any motorcycle, motorized bicycle, bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, skis, or toy vehicle. 
(z) Dollies and shopping carts are acceptable until such time an accident occurs and the State of California is held liable for not including these items on the list.

Noise Restrictions 
23130. (a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle under any condition of grade, load, acceleration, or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed the following noise limit for the category of motor vehicle within the speed limits specified in this section: 
(2) Any motorcycle other than a motor-driven cycle at a speed limit of 45 or less..... 82 dbA. Any motorcycle other than a motor-driven cycle at a speed limit of 45 or more..... 86 dbA.
(b) The noise limits established by this section shall be based on a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel within the speed limit specified in this section. The Department of the California Highway Patrol may provide for measuring at distances other than 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel. In such a case, the measurement shall be corrected so as to provide for measurements equivalent to the noise limit established by this section measured at 50 feet. 
(z) 86 dbA is equivalent to the sound of a scream emanating from a rider being cut off by a driver swerving for an offramp from two lanes out. 
23130.5. 
(a) The noise limits, within a speed zone of 35 miles per hour or less on level streets, or streets with a grade not exceeding plus or minus 1 percent, shall be: 
(2) Any motorcycle other than a motor-driven cycle..... 77 dbA
(z) 77 dbA is equivalent to the sound of a scream emanating from a rider caught behind a dump truck which has just lost a 12 'x 12' sheet of cardboard. 
27150.8. The manufacturers of motorcycles and motorcycle accessories shall certify to the department that the exhaust system is in compliance with the standards and regulations adopted by the commissioner. 
(z) Notarized documentation stating "Sounds okay, smells okay" is not acceptable. 
27200. (a) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not register on a dealer's report of sale a new motor vehicle which produces a maximum noise exceeding the applicable noise limit at a distance of 50 feet from the centerline of travel under test procedures established by the Department of the California Highway Patrol. 
(z) The Department of Motor Vehicle will probably not be able to distinguish a vehicle that exceeds the noise limit from a hole in the wall.
27201. For the purposes of Section 27200, the noise limit of 92 dbA shall apply to any motorcycle manufactured before 1970. (z) For purposes of Section 27200, the noise limit of 1,200 dbA shall apply to any motorcycle manufactured before 1876.
27202. For the purposes of Section 27200, the following noise limits shall apply to any motorcycle, other than a motor-driven cycle, manufactured: 
(1) After 1969, and before 1973..... 88 dbA 
(2) After 1972, and before 1975..... 86 dbA 
(3) After 1974, and before 1986..... 83 dbA 
(4) After 1985..... 80 dbA 
(z) Every year thereafter, deduct 10 dbA until everyone is forced to ride a moped.

Off Highway Vehicles
38010. Every motor vehicle specified in Section 38012 that is not registered under this code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the highways shall be issued and display an identification plate or device issued by the department. 
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any of the following: (8) Any motorcycle manufactured in the year 1942 or prior.
38012. (b) As used in this division, "off-highway motor vehicle" includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, except for any motorcycle which is eligible for a special transportation
identification device issued pursuant to Section 38088.
38022. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4000, motorcycles issued a special transportation identification device pursuant to Section 38088 may be transported upon a highway to and from a closed course. (Per section 38014 a "closed course" is a speedway, racetrack, or a prescribed and defined route of travel on or off a highway that is closed to all motor vehicles other than those of participants.)
38025. Motor vehicles issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may be operated or driven upon a highway but only as follows: (e) Motorcycles identified pursuant to Section 38010 may be pushed upon a highway, but not ridden, if the motorcycles have displayed upon them a plate or device issued pursuant to Section 38160.
38160. The department, upon identifying an off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification, shall issue to the owner a suitable identification plate or device which is capable of being attached to the vehicle in such a manner so as to not endanger the operator or passengers of the vehicle, and which shall identify the vehicle for which it is issued for the period of its validity.
38170. (a) Every off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification shall have displayed upon it the identification number assigned to the vehicle for which it is issued, together with the word "California" or the abbreviation "CAL" and the year number for which it is issued or a suitable device issued by the department for
validation purposes, which device shall contain the year for which it is issued. 
(1) On the left fork leg of a motorcycle, either horizontal or vertical, and shall be visible from the left side of the motorcycle.

Parking 
22502. (a) Motorcycles shall be parked with at least one wheel or fender touching the right-hand curb. Where no curbs or barriers bound any two-way roadway, right-hand parallel parking is required unless otherwise indicated. 
(e) Upon a one-way roadway, motorcycles, if parked on the left-hand side, shall have either one wheel or one fender touching such curb. Where no curb or barriers bound any such one-way roadway, parallel parking on either side is required unless otherwise indicated. 
(z) Where no picket fence bound a lawn, motorcyclists may park on the lawn as long as one wheel touches a hedge.

Used Police Vehicles 
27604. When a motor vehicle formerly used in law enforcement is sold to any person and is used for purposes other than law enforcement, the vehicle shall be painted or partially painted by the seller or agency formerly using such vehicle so that it will no longer resemble a law enforcement vehicle. The provisions of this section do not apply to motorcycles without insignia. 
(z) The riders of these motorcycles may don gold helmets so as to dupe motorists into believing that they are the real thing.
27605. No person shall own or operate a motor vehicle painted in a manner to resemble a motor vehicle used by a peace officer. The provisions of this section do not apply to motorcycles without insignia. 
(z) The riders of these motorcycles may keep the large sidecases and sit smartly erect so as to dupe motorists into believing that they are the real thing.

Windshield and Wipers 
26700. (a) A passenger vehicle, other than a motorcycle, and every bus, motortruck or truck tractor, and every firetruck, fire engine or other fire apparatus shall be equipped with an adequate windshield. (z) Motorcycles may be equipped with inadequate windshields. 
26701. (c) No person shall operate a motorcycle manufactured after January 1, 1969, equipped with a windshield containing glazing material unless it is safety glazing material. 
26706. (a) Every motor vehicle, except motorcycles, equipped with a windshield shall also be equipped with a self-operating windshield wiper. 
(z) Motorcyclists may use their hands to smear the water around on their faceplates.

California Moped Laws

(a) A "motorized bicycle" or "moped" is any two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor which produces less than 2 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground. (b) A "motorized bicycle" is also a device that has fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power and has an electric motor that meets all of the following requirements: (1) Has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts. (2) Is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on ground level. (3) Is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour. (4) Every manufacturer of motorized bicycles, as defined in this subdivision, shall provide a disclosure to buyers that advises buyers that their existing insurance policies may not provide coverage for these bicycles and that they should contact their insurance company or insurance agent to determine if coverage is provided. (c) The disclosure required under paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) shall meet both of the following requirements: (1) The disclosure shall be printed in not less than 14-point boldface type on a single sheet of paper that contains no information other than the disclosure. (2) The disclosure shall include the following language in capital letters: "YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF THIS BICYCLE. TO DETERMINE IF COVERAGE IS PROVIDED YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT." It is unlawful for a driver of a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle to carry any other person thereon, except on a seat securely fastened to the machine at the rear of the driver and provided with footrests, or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle and designed for the purpose of carrying a passenger. Every passenger on a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle shall keep his feet on the footrests while such vehicle is in motion. A person shall not drive a two-wheel motorcycle that is equipped with either of the following: (a) A seat so positioned that the driver, when sitting astride the seat, cannot reach the ground with his or her feet. (b) Handlebars so positioned that the hands of the driver, when upon the grips, are more than six inches above his or her shoulder height when sitting astride the seat. (a) The department may adopt reasonable regulations establishing specifications and standards for safety helmets offered for sale, or sold, for use by drivers and passengers of motorcycles and motorized bicycles as it determines are necessary for the safety of those drivers and passengers. The regulations shall include, but are not limited to, the requirements imposed by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218) and may include compliance with that federal standard by incorporation of its requirements by reference. Each helmet sold or offered for sale for use by drivers and passengers of motorcycles and motorized bicycles shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the federal standard which shall constitute the manufacturer's certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. (b) No person shall sell, or offer for sale, for use by a driver or passenger of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle any safety helmet which is not of a type meeting requirements established by the department. (a) A driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle. (b) It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a). (c) It is unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a). (d) This section applies to persons who are riding on motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycles operated on the highways. (e) For the purposes of this section, "wear a safety helmet" or "wearing a safety helmet" means having a safety helmet meeting the requirements of Section 27802 on the person's head that is fastened with the helmet straps and that is of a size that fits the wearing person's head securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement. (f) This section does not apply to a person operating, or riding as a passenger in, a fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicle that is not less than seven feet in length and not less than four feet in width, and has an unladen weight of 900 pounds or more, if the vehicle meets or exceeds all of the requirements of this code, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and the rules and regulations adopted by the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (g) In enacting this section, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all persons are provided with an additional safety benefit while operating or riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.