Every year, thousands of motorcyclists head to California for epic rides, rallies, and motorcycle events. With its diverse terrain and weather, there is something for every biker. From scenic beach rides in Southern California to winding mountainous roads in Northern California, motorcyclists can see just about everything when riding in the “Golden State”. In fact, over the course of a weekend ride, motorcyclists can ride through the Mojave Desert, along the Pacific Ocean, and through the Sierra Nevada. They can pass sunbathing sea lions and ride through the Giant Sequoia trees all before heading up to Half Dome. Motorcyclists can ride to Mt. Whiney, the highest point in the continental United States, and then ride through the lowest (Death Valley) all without ever leaving the state.
California’s Premier Motorcycle Route
Riding the Pacific Coast Highway is a dream for many motorcyclists because of its incredible picturesque scenery. In fact, the route from Monterey to Morro Bay was voted one of the Top 10 Best Drives in the United States. Its coastal views will leave you breathless as you wind slowly up the California coastline. Opposite the panoramic ocean views is exquisite inland scenery of redwood forests, flowered meadows, lush valleys, rolling hills, and picturesque waterfalls. You will ride past lighthouses, 18th-century Spanish missions, and view a variety of sea life in their natural habitat – including sea lions, otters, sharks, gray whales, and pelicans. This road is often a slow ride, due to traffic bottlenecks in some of the towns, as well as the number of turns, climbs, and descents, but bikers can stretch their legs for some incredible dining or shopping at any of the beautiful coastal towns along the ride.
If you are heading to California for some incredible motorcycle riding this year, or even if you are just passing through, it is important to understand the motorcycle laws in the state. Failure to comply with these laws could land you in serious hot water with the California Highway Patrol or city law enforcement.
California Motorcycle Laws
Helmet Use – California requires ALL riders to wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. This includes passenger riders, as well as motorcyclists.
Eye Protection – not required
Earplugs – California allows the use of earplugs but they must be specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels and they must be able to hear sirens or horns from other vehicles and from approaching emergency vehicles.
Handlebar Height – Handlebars that position a person’s hands more than 6 inches above his or her shoulder are not allowed.
Helmet Speakers – single earphone helmet speakers are allowed only
Daytime use of Headlights – is required for any motorcycle manufactured after 1978.
Lane Splitting – motorcyclists are allowed to ride in between lanes of traffic in California, as long as they do so safely and prudently. They are to travel at a speed no more than 10mph faster than the other traffic. Lane splitting is not advisable when traffic flow is greater than 30 mph.
Mirrors – at least one working mirror is required by law
Motorcycles Towing Trailers – must not exceed 55 mph and must remain in the right lane. If on a 4-lane highway, then motorcycles towing trailers are allowed in the right 2 lanes.
Muffler – a muffler is required and no muffler should be equipped with a cutout or bypass.
Passengers – No age restriction for passengers, but all passengers are required to ride in a passenger seat and wear a helmet.
State Insurance requirements – Compulsory Liability (Minimum Limits)(15/30/5). A driver involved in an accident who fails to prove the existence of financial responsibility at the time of accident shall have a driver’s license suspended for 1 year.
Before riding in the wind in CA or any other beautiful state in our great country make sure you are riding with the Law Tigers Mobile App (Droid & iPhone). The app is loaded with helpful tools to use if you are ever in a motorcycle accident including an accident preparation guide, accident reporting tool, integrated photo, and video capture, one-click for emergency services, and one-click access to the Law Tigers should you ever require our legal assistance.