California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP)

The California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP) is the official training program for motorcycle safety and driver education in California. Completing the CMSP isn’t mandatory for motorcyclists over the age of 21, but the State of California strongly recommends that all bikers complete the program. 

Motorcyclists who go through the California Motorcycle Safety Program learn tips and techniques for improving safety. Participants receive direct instructor feedback on how they ride and how they can better protect themselves while sharing the road with larger vehicles. 

Learning more about this program can benefit any motorcyclist in California.

Reducing California Motorcycle Accidents

According to UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System, between 500 and 600 motorcyclists die on California roads each year. When motorcycle injuries are added in, the total number of motorcyclists impacted by California crashes jumps to around 14,000 people each year. 

The purpose of the CMSP is to equip California bikers with the techniques and defensive driving skills that can help reduce the number of motorcyclists who become involved in serious or fatal injuries.  

Frequently Asked Questions About the California Motorcycle Safety Program

Whether you’re interested in learning to ride a motorcycle or you’ve been riding for decades, CMSP classes have something to offer everyone. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions bikers have about taking a class through the CMSP.

Who Should Participate in a CMSP Class?

Any California motorcyclist should take the time to complete a course through the California Motorcycle Safety Program. For bikers under 21, a CMSP course is a required step in gaining a motorcycle permit. However, bikers of any age can improve their skills and increase safety by completing a course.  

Are CMSP Classes Designed for Beginners or Experienced Bikers?

CMSP classes are beginner-friendly, but they’re designed to be of benefit to all bikers, no matter how long you’ve been riding. 

How Long Do CMSP Classes Take to Complete?

The California Motorcycle Safety Program offers two class options. 

The Motorcycle Training Course (MTC) is a 15-hour course. Sessions are broken into 5 hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding. 

For additional instruction, you can enroll in the Premier Program. This is an extended version of the MTC that offers 7.5 hours of classroom instruction and 13.5 hours of riding. 

Does Completing a CMSP Offer Financial Benefits?

Investing in a course can result in reduced insurance premiums, depending on your motorcycle insurance company. It can also reduce the risk of ending up in an accident, which can help you avoid costly or life-altering medical expenses.

What Are the Other Benefits of Taking a CMSP Class?

CMSP courses offer many benefits to California bikers of all ages. Some of these include: 

  • The ability to skip the DMV skills test
  • The possibility of receiving a discounted insurance rate
  • Increased safety and confidence while operating a motorcycle
  • Reduced risk of being involved in a serious or fatal accident

Completion of a CMSP course streamlines the process of gaining your motorcycle license if you’re a new rider. 

In addition to peace of mind and improved riding techniques, many motorcycle insurance companies offer a discounted insurance premium to bikers who have completed the California Motorcycle Safety Program. 

Who Runs the California Motorcycle Safety Program?

The California Motorcycle Safety Program is administered through the California Highway Patrol. The program has existed since 1987, and over one million California motorcyclists have completed a CMSP course. 

What Are the Requirements for Taking a CMSP Course?

For most participants, valid identification is the only requirement for taking the course. You do not need to own a bike, know how to ride a bike, or hold a driver’s license to enroll in a CMSP class. 

Identification accepted for CMSP course enrollment includes: 

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A California DMV-issued driver’s permit
  • A California DMV-issued identification card
  • Out-of-state student credentials deemed acceptable by a DMV

Minors aged 15 ½ to 17 can enroll in a CMSP course with approved identification and the written permission of a parent or guardian. 

If you have a restricted or suspended license for driving while impaired, you may not enroll in a CMSP course until your license restrictions are lifted. 

Do I Need to Buy a Motorcycle Before Taking a CMSP Class?

You do not need to own a motorcycle to participate in a CMSP course. All participants will complete the course using a class-provided motorcycle. 

Participants can use class-provided helmets or bring their own. Personal helmets will be inspected for DOT compliance. 

Participants should attend the riding portion of class wearing full-length sleeves and pants, gloves, ankle-supporting footwear, and eye protection.

How Do I Sign Up for a CMSP Class?

You can sign up for a CMSP class by calling 1-(877) RIDE-411 or using the online course location tool offered on the CMSP website

A Wise Investment for California Motorcycle Riders

Riding a motorcycle can come with an increased risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. Whether you are a new or experienced rider, by taking a CMSP course, you can take advantage of a range of benefits, including learning how to better protect yourself on the road.

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