How to Register a Motorcycle in California

California’s breathtaking landscapes and winding roads attract motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life. Before you can fully enjoy the freedom of riding, you must navigate the process of registering your motorcycle in the Golden State. This guide walks you through the essential steps and costs of motorcycle registration in California.

Obtaining the Proper License

Your journey begins with securing a valid California driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. If you lack this endorsement, complete a motorcycle safety course and pass written and practical tests. This step not only fulfills legal requirements but also equips you with valuable skills for safe riding.

Securing Insurance Coverage

California law mandates all motorcyclists carry minimum liability insurance. Shop around for a policy that meets or exceeds the state’s requirements. You’ll need proof of insurance to complete the registration process.

Vehicle Inspection Requirements

Riders bringing motorcycles from out of state or registering custom-built bikes must undergo a vehicle inspection. The California Highway Patrol conducts these inspections to ensure compliance with state safety and emissions standards.

Gathering Necessary Documents

Collect all required paperwork before heading to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This typically includes:

  • Proof of ownership (title or bill of sale)
  • Valid California driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Completed application for registration (Form REG 343)
  • Smog certification (if applicable)

Visiting the DMV

While many DMV services are available online, new registrations usually require an in-person visit. To reduce wait times and streamline the process, schedule an appointment through the DMV’s website.

Understanding Registration Fees

Be prepared to pay various fees when registering your motorcycle. The total cost depends on several factors. In addition to base registration fees, you will likely need to pay:

  • California Highway Patrol fee: $32
  • Transportation Improvement fee: $32 to $227 (based on motorcycle value)
  • Vehicle license fee: 0.65% of the motorcycle’s value
  • County/district fees: $1 to $19 (varies by location)
  • Use tax: 7.25% to 10.25% of purchase price (for recently bought motorcycles)

For a new motorcycle valued at $5,000, expect to pay approximately $300-$400 in registration fees, not including any applicable use tax.

Completing the Registration Process

You’ll receive your registration card and license plate after submitting your paperwork and paying the required fees. Attach the plate to your motorcycle immediately and keep your registration card whenever you ride.

Ongoing Registration Responsibilities

  • Annual Renewals: Mark your calendar for yearly registration renewals. Consider signing up for DMV reminders to avoid late fees.
  • Reporting Changes: If you move or sell your motorcycle, report these changes to the DMV within 10 days to avoid penalties.
  • Staying Informed: Regulations and fees can change. Always check the California DMV website for the most up-to-date information before starting the registration process.

Embracing the Open Road: Once registered, you’ll join the diverse community of riders who call California’s highways and byways home. Your registered motorcycle is your passport to explore the state’s natural beauty and vibrant culture.

Your California motorcycle registration opens the door to memorable journeys across this diverse and beautiful state—the open road beckons, filled with promise and adventure. By understanding and completing the registration process, you’ve taken the first step towards experiencing all California offers on two wheels.

Ride Protected With The Law Tigers

Now that you know how to register a motorcycle in California, consider riding with Law Tigers on your side. We are motorcycle attorneys, and our goal is to keep you protected, safe, and secure so you can ride with ease.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Law Tigers today at 1-888-863-7216 for a free case evaluation. We can connect you with an attorney near you, anywhere in the U.S.