Frequently Asked Questions About Our Courses and Methods

Do I need a California Driver License or Permit to take the course?

You do NOT need a California Driver License or Permit to take the course. However, you must present a valid, unexpired, government issued, photo identification at the first session. This identification must match that used during class registration.

I have a restricted or punched license. Can I use it for the class?

CMSP Policy states: "Any potential student who possesses a license that has been restricted due to one or more convictions for driving while impaired may not participate in any CMSP RiderCourse until all restrictions to the license have been lifted."

A license with a punched hole is invalid and can not be used.

Is it OK if my ID is from a different state or country?

Yes.  As long as it is a valid, government- issued photo ID we can accept it.  An ID that is expired or restricted is not valid, so we cannot accept it.

Can I use my driver's permit as my ID? It says it is not a vaild ID.

We are allowed to accept driving permits, as long as they have a photo on them.  If they do not have a photo we cannot accept it.

Do I need to bring a helmet?

No, you do not need to bring a helmet.  We provide motorcycles and helmets.

May I bring my own hemet?

As long as your helmet is a DOT full- face helmet you may use it for our class.  If it is not, we will provide one for you to use.

I am a minor, are there any special requirements?

You must be at least 15.5 years of age on the first day of class. Students who have not yet had their 18th birthday MUST be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to the first session. The parent/guardian will be required to complete and sign an additional waiver.

How do I get into a course?

You must register and pay for a course before attending the first session. "Walk in" students are not accepted.

Is there a standby list to get into an earlier course?

When you register and pay for a course, you can contact the office and ask to be notified about earlier openings. When an opening occurs, the office will call students in the order which they requested notification. The first person to respond will get the transfer. Seats can not be held open until everyone checks messages. It is first come first serve, just like registration.

What should I bring to the first class?

You MUST bring your valid (unexpired), government issued, photo identification to the first session, the same ID that you used to register for the course. Students who have not yet had their 18th birthday MUST be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

You should bring your completed waiver, a link will be sent in your registration confirmation letter. A minor's parent or legal guardian will be required to complete and sign an additional waiver in front of the instructor.

You do not need to bring your riding gear to the classroom sessions, however, when your riding session takes place on the same day as your classroom session it is HIGHLY recommended that you have your gear with you, as you may not have enough time to leave to get it.

What do I need to do to prepare for the course?

First, be thoroughly familiar with what is listed on the Required Items page. Then it is strongly suggested you read and study the CMSP's Motorcyclist Training Course (MTC) Student Handbook. It will be assumed in the classroom that you have studied the Student Handbook. If you do not, you might not be able to follow some of the discussion that prepares for the written test in Classroom 2.
Your registration confirmation letter will include a link to download the Student Handbook.

Do I need to have my own motorcycle?

We provide the training motorcycle. No prior riding experience is expected or required.

Unless you are absolutely certain which bike you want to own, we encourage you to wait until after the course to purchase one. In the classroom, we discuss the things you might want to consider in choosing a motorcycle to fit your needs.

What kinds of motorcycles are provided?

All training motorcycles are required to be less than 500cc. Our fleet includes standards, cruisers, and dual sports.

Do you have scooters to ride?

We have a limited number of scooters, which may be requested when you make your reservation (in the "Additional Information" field - type "Scooter Request"), or contact the office to make your request

We strongly suggest you learn on one of our motorcycles unless you already have your own scooter. Learning a motorcycle teaches you clutch operation, which is difficult to learn on your own. A motorcycle rider can ride a scooter... But, if you only learn a scooter and you ever need / want to ride a motorcycle, you may still need to develop that skill.

NOTE: State regulations require you to use the same type of vehicle for the entire course. You can not switch from motorcycle or scooter to the other mid-course

What if I do not have a helmet?

We provide full face or 3/4 helmets for students who do not have one. We have sizes to accommodate most people. Please see the Required Items page for more complete information.

Where can I get the riding gear for the course?

Any motorcycle dealer and most motorcycle accessory stores carry a full range of these items at varying prices. We do not sell any riding gear. We do not loan any riding gear other than helmets.

Do I still have to go to the DMV after passing the course?

Yes. You get your license from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. We only give you the DMV form DL389, which allows you to waive the riding portion of your license test. You still have to take the DMV written test.

  • If it has been more than a year since you received your car license, they may also ask you to take the car written test
  • If you never had a car license and are applying for only a motorcycle license, they may also ask you to take an on-road riding test at an intersection near the DMV office. You have to provide your own vehicle for this test
  • The DMV DL389 is mailed to you within 10 business days after you complete the course. Be sure to allow time for the mail delivery when you make plans to visit the DMV

How long can I wait before getting my license?

Licensing questions should be directed to the DMV. We can not answer licensing questions because we are not authorized to speak for the DMV, and different DMV offices may enforce the policy differently. However we can say THE DL389 CERTIFICATE EXPIRES ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE IT IS ISSUED and cannot then be reissued. You must take (and pay for) the entire course again to get another.

Can I get my money back if I change my mind?

Tuition fees are not refundable or transferable for any reason.

  • You may cancel a reservation and reschedule for another course within three months of the original reservation
  • There is a 15% cancellation fee if you cancel 7 business days before your reserved class starts
  • Cancellation 7 business days or less before your class begins is considered a voluntary withdrawal, for which there is NO refund.  You may pay a partial fee to return as a standby/drop-in student or you may pay the entire course fee again to reschedule with a confirmed seat
  • Failure to appear on time to a classroom or riding session or return from a break on time forfeits the course fee. The entire fee must be repaid to take the course again with a confirmed seat, or pay a partial fee to return as a standby. No priority is given for the next open class
  • Failure to appear at all at a classroom or riding session forfeits the course fee. The entire fee must be repaid to take the course again with a confirmed seat, or pay a partial fee to return as a standby

What happens if I have a conflict after I start a course?

If you know you will not be able to attend a reserved classroom or range session, please contact the office. All rescheduling is done on a space available basis only. If you have a problem, we will do our best to work with you. An unexplained absence is noted as a no-show and you forfeit the course fee.

How do I get into another course if I miss or need to repeat a session?

First, remember that ALL course fees are Non-Refundable and Non-Transferable!
There are six possibilities for repeats:

  • Failure to appear on time – forfeits the course fee. The entire fee must be repaid to repeat with a confirmed seat, or pay a partial fee to return as a standby.
  • Failure to appear with required material (documents or riding gear) – forfeits the course fee. The entire fee must be repaid to repeat with a confirmed seat, or pay a partial fee to return as a standby.
  • Failure to appear at all – forfeits the course fee. The entire fee must be repaid to repeat with a confirmed seat, or pay a partial fee to return as a standby.
  • Voluntary withdrawal (student stops self without approval) – requires paying the entire course fee to repeat.
  • Involuntary withdrawal (Instructor stops student) – allowed only one (1) more attempt at no charge.
  • Failed written or riding evaluation – allowed only one (1) more attempt. If the one (1) additional attempt is unsuccessful, the entire fee must be paid again and restart entire course. CMSP rules require your retest must be within 60 days of the original failed test date. There is no charge for retaking the written evaluation, there is a $75 fee for retaking the riding evaluation.

Standby students:

  • You should arrive at least 45 minutes before the session Roll Call. When you arrive, contact an instructor and inform them that you are a "standby". Please Do Not interrupt the instructors if they are conducting a session already in progress.
  • If space is available, the instructor will add you into the session on a first come, first serve basis, and you stay with that group for the rest of its sessions.
  • If you are added into a session, you must fill out and sign a new waiver form and show a valid government-issued photo ID from California, another state, or another country.
  • If you are under 18, you must bring a parent/legal guardian with you again to your first session with the new group to complete/sign new waivers.

Does every student pass the course?

About 80% of the students pass the course the first time. Neither passing nor getting a license is guaranteed.

Do we ride on the street? What about steep hills?

All of the riding is done on pavement on a closed range. During each riding session, you will actually ride a motorcycle about 12-15 miles, but there are no hills and no street traffic to worry about. How to ride on the street is covered extensively in the second half of the course by addressing Street Strategies.

Can I take a course with a particular Instructor?

We can not guarantee any particular instructor will teach a specific course. It takes at least two instructors to teach a full course, and you could have as many as five different instructors in one course.

Is there a separate course for people with no experience?

" I've been contemplating this course for a while. But I'm scared I'll be left way behind because I have NO experience while others will have some. "
The curriculum is designed to be taught to students who have never even sat on a motorcycle. All students are considered to be at the same skill level regardless of any prior experience. Even if everyone in a course is experienced, not one part of the course may be shortened or skipped. The instructor is required to see that every student has sufficient time and the proper personal attention to meet each objective in each lesson. Students will not be left behind ... the course is not run at the speed of the fastest learners (dragging others along), nor is it run at the speed of the slowest learners (pushing them to hurry) – it is run according to a precise schedule designed for the eager but inexperienced learner. However, students who simply can not meet the objective of a lesson in the allowable time will be asked to withdraw and may consider repeating the session or the entire course. (See Does every student pass the course?)

The one thing no one can teach is balance. Students who have never ridden a bicycle or anything that requires balance may or may not get their sense of balance in the time allowed. We can't separate those students and let them keep trying. Occasionally we do have to ask students to come back after they have practiced balancing.

The average mix of students in a course is a few who have never had any contact with motorcycles, the majority who have had some contact but are not really "experienced", and a few who know how to ride but are getting back into it. Instructors often say it is the "never had" who are the best learners.

Do dealers reimburse for courses?

Dealers and manufacturers occasionally offer rebate programs to encourage you to take a safe riding course. The Motorcyclist Training Course usually meets all requirements for reimbursable training, but the rules are established by the dealer or manufacturer. The Course Completion Card (and the DMV DL389 form) you receive after completing the course is proof of your achievement. Some rebate programs require an additional proof of payment receipt. If you need one, contact the office.

What about insurance discounts?

Some insurance companies offer discounts of 10% or more for completing a safe riding course. The Motorcyclist Training Course usually meets all requirements for discounts. Check with your insurance agent. The Course Completion Card you receive after completing the course is proof of your achievement.

I lost my certificate. How do I get another?

If your certificate is expired, you can not receive a replacement. You must take the entire course again to receive a new certificate.

The DMV DL389 certificate is a legal document, strictly controlled by the State. Issuance of every single certificate is recorded by the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) for the California Highway Patrol. Their rules for reissuing must be followed exactly.

  • Be certain where and when you took the course
    • You must identify the Training Provider ("Bay Area Motorcycle Training", NOT the city where it was taught)
    • You must identify the date the course completed (if you are not sure of the date of completion, pleasecontact the office)
  • You must send a copy of your driver license
  • You must use this form: Request For Replacement DL389
  • You should return the completed Request for Replacement form to CMSP, not Bay Area Motorcycle Training, see directions for return on the bottom of the form

The form must be received by CMSP within one year of the date that your original DL389 wasissued, otherwise your certificate is expired and can not be replaced.

What is your code of conduct?

Instructors will enforce immediate dismissal for being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, reaction altering drugs, including OTC or prescribed medications, possession of weapons, intent to harm students or Instructors, foul or abusive language, abuse of equipment, willfully not following instructions or any other intentionally unsafe or disruptive act.

What did we miss? Feel free to Contact us if you can't find what you need.