California Motorized Bicycle Laws

License Required & Registration Required

  1. Anton
    In California, a motorized bicycle or moped is a 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle equipped with pedals, a motor that generates less than 2 brake horsepower (or an electric motor that cannot be bigger than 1,000 watts), and has an automatic transmission.

    The registration and license requirements of a Motorized Bicycle in California depend on which category it falls into:

    Moped Type CVC 406(a)

    The vehicle must be equipped with:
    • Operative pedals for propulsion by the rider, or no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy.
    • An automatic transmission.
    • A motor producing less than 2 brake horsepower (hp), capable of propelling the vehicle no faster than 30 MPH on level ground.

    A valid Class M1 or M2 motorcycle license is required for a motorized bicycle that meets the definition of CVC 406(a).


    A motorized bicycle that meets the definition of CVC 406(a) needs to be registered with special license plates and id cards for a one off fee of $18.

    Moped Type CVC 406(b)
    A CVC 406(b) moped is a motorized bicycle defined as:

    • A vehicle with pedals and an electric motor with an output of not more than 1,000 watts.
    • Incapable of reaching speeds of more than 20 MPH on level ground, even if assisted by human power.


    You don't need a license to ride a motorized bicycle that meets the definition of CVC 406(b); however, you must be at least 16 years old and you must also wear a helmet.


    Mopeds that meet CVC 406(b) do not need to be registered or insured.