California motorcycle law

I’m off to LA for a couple of months. The accepted wisdom is that you don’t go anywhere without some form of personal transport as there is very little in the way of public transportation.

So I’m thinking about picking up a second hand bike out there. I’ve only got my CBT over here, though I have ridden a bigger bike (a chopper) quite comfortably.

Anyone know what the legality of riding is out there. What will I be able to ride?

I fear that without a full licence I don’t think you will be able to hire much more than a scooter.

I don’t think you will be able to hire anything to be perfectly honest with just a CBT. If you have a car license they would probably allow you to hire a moped, but I assume a more powerful motorcycle would be out of the question.

**What are my license requirements if I’m from another state or country?
Depends on if you’re a resident or not. Section 516 points out that “resident” means any person who intends to live or be located in this state on more than a temporary or transient basis. Presence in the state for six months or more in any 12-month period suggests residency. If you’re a resident, you’ll have to jump through the legal hoops with the rest of the Californians to get a license. If you’re not a resident, then you are merely subject to the same driving laws as residents are.
Section 12502 (a) states that a nonresident over the age of 18 years having in his or her immediate possession a valid driver’s license issued by a foreign jurisdiction of which he or she is a resident may operate a motor vehicle in this state without obtaining a driver’s license. I imagine that if you’re licensed to ride a motorcycle in your home state or country, you’re cleared to do it as a visitor in California.
If you want more information (of which there is much), search the California Vehicle Code using the keyword “resident.”

Thanks for your replies.

I do have a full driving license as well as my CBT.

If you have time try and apply for your international driving licence from the AA.

For some reason when they issue the licence they stamp ALL the vehicle categories. I used to live in Japan and used the international licence year after year and they always did that reliably for me and everyone else I knew out there. I have no idea why.

At the time I was only legal for a car in the UK, but that licence entitled me for any bike, tank, HGVs of all classes and lots of other stuff… Was accepted by Japanese police and bike rental shops. Unfortunately I never found I tank rental shop!

It went on for years but Im not sure if they still do it. The last time I had one was 2004.

  • only thing though - last time I was in the US they insisted on the original UK licence to hire a car and not the international…

International Licenses are only a translation… they should not be confused with a license and need to be accompanied by the actual license.

You need to look on the California DMV website… as they’re the State equiv of the DVLA.

As you’re just a visitor you should only use vehicles that are covered by your home license. I’d be very surprised if anyone would rent a bike to you… it would be pretty obvious from your UK license that you dont have the right group.

If you buy a bike then it may well be difficult to insure it…

Ask Darkmonster on TLB. He lives in California, is a biker and works in public transport so he should be able to advise.;act=Profile;CODE=03;MID=68-1027125244

Just bung him a pm.

A CBT isn’t even valid for riding a 125 in another EU country (or even the Channel Islands!) US licensing laws can be very lax, but as a visitor I am sure that like EU countries, they would expect you to have a full license before you can ride anything.