California Moped Laws
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
(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
"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
(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
(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
(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
(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.
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