Basic Riding Courses in the Bay Area

NorCal Moto

Licensing motorcycle course for new riders

As part of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, at Northern California Motorcycle Training we are certified to teach the CMSP Motorcyclist Training Course (MTC). The MTC is mandatory for those under the age of 21, but is also recommended to those 21 and older who are seeking to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their California driver license.

The CMSP Motorcyclist Training Course is designed for the novice rider with no (or limited) street-riding experience. A typical class schedule consists of 5 hours of classroom instruction and 10 hours of riding practice. During this motorcycle riding course, you will learn fundamental skills required to operate the motorcycle and progress to street riding skills and strategies. Even though the Motorcyclist Training Course was designed with new riders in mind, most experienced riders that have taken the course have reported improving their riding skills considerably with it!

Topics covered include managing fear, understanding how motorcycles turn, proper cornering strategies, and emergency crash avoidance skills. The course is based on the most current research in rider safety and utilizes modern training methods.

Motorcycles and helmets are provided to all our students for the riding practice portion of the course.

Our course may waive the DMV riding skills test

Upon successful completion of the Motorcyclist Training Course, you will receive a DMV riding test waiver. There are written and riding evaluations after the course to ensure you have competence in the material covered in the basic course—you must pass both evaluations to graduate. Per California regulations, you will still need to complete the DMV written test.

eRider (EMTC) option offered in all our locations

The eRider option (also known as EMTC) allows you to take the classroom portion of the Motorcyclist Training Course, at your own pace, in the comfort of your home using our interactive online classroom. Once you have completed the first half of eRider, you can schedule your first on-cycle practice session. Then complete the second eRider half and schedule your second on-cycle practice session.

$425 for 21 and older
$395 for under 21

Being able to balance and ride a bicycle is a requisite to take this class.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring to the classroom session?

  • Filled out registration, waiver, NorCal Moto P & P, & CSM Waiver (if applicable).
  • U.S Drivers license or permit or ID or out of county drivers license or passport.
  • A pen/pencil to write with.
  • If you have any questions about riding gear you plan to use, bring that also.

Do I need to have a motorcycle permit?

No. If you do not have a permit, we recommend you wait to apply for it after you have completed the Motorcycle Training Course (MTC).

What do I need to bring to the riding session?

  • A full or 3/4 face DOT-compliant helmet.
  • Sturdy over the ankle boots of leather or equivalent (think hiking boots).
  • Full-fingered 100% leather gloves OR street motorcycle-specific gloves, no cut-off fingers & no holes.
  • Long pants, preferably jeans — no holes, no sweats, no leggings.
  • Long sleeve t-shirt or jacket. Arms and legs must be fully covered at all times.
  • Shatter-proof face shield, goggles, prescription glasses or sunglasses for eye protection (or helmets have face shields).
  • Face Mask
  • Snacks & water

I'm under 21, can I still take the class?

Yes. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) Motorcycle Training Course (MTC) is a requirement for anyone under 21 seeking a motorcycle license.

Participants aged between 15.5 and 21 years must have a valid Government issued photo ID (drivers license, out of country license, permit for car or
motorcycle( if over 18), passport, or school ID).

Participants under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian present at the beginning of their first in-person session.

If I have an out of state or out of country drivers license, will I get a certificate of completion?

Yes. All students, possessing a valid license, out of country or out of state
license, government issued ID card, or passport will be issued a certificate of
completion, upon successfully completing the course.

I have a commercial license, will getting a motorcycle license affect my other endorsements?

Yes. The DMV usually renews all endorsements when adding a new endorsement. Please contact the DMV about your specific requirements.

When will I receive my certificate of completion?

We typically send all DL389 forms (certificates of completion) out by USPS the next business day after the end of the course. You should expect it to arrive within (10) business days. Please contact the office if the form does not arrive in that window.

Can I pick up my DL389 certificate in person?

No. We can not accommodate in-person pick up due to COVID.

Now that I have my completion certificate, what do I do with it?

If you are under 21 years of age: Fill out sections 2 and 3 of the certificate. Obtain the "Rider's Handbook" from the DMV, study it; then go to the DMV, show the certificate to the DMV clerk, you should not turn it in at this time! You will be allowed to take the written motorcycle permit test and upon passing, be awarded a motorcycle permit. You will have to ride under the provisions of the permit for 6 months or until you reach 21 years of age, whichever comes first. At that time, you may go to the DMV; this time, turn in your certificate in and you should receive your M1 (motorcycle) endorsement. Consult with the
DMV as to whether or not you will receive a new hard copy license and how long that might take.

If you are over 21 years of age: Fill out sections 2 and 3 of the certificate.

If you have not yet taken the written test at DMV, obtain the "Rider's Handbook" from the DMV, study it; then go to the DMV, take the written test and upon passing it, turn in your completion certificate. You will receive your M1 endorsement. Consult with DMV as to whether or not you will receive a new hard copy license and how long that might take.

If you have already taken the written test at DMV and hold a valid motorcycle learner's permit; take your completion certificate to the DMV in person, turn it in and receive your M1 endorsement.

DMV may have different procedures for out of country license holders. Please check with your local DMV for your specific licensing questions/procedures.

I took my DL389 (Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training) to the DMV. They told me that my certificate was obsolete, expired or that I needed a new form. What do I need to do to get a new completion certificate?

We can not replace any completion certificate that is more than one year old (12 months from the issue date). This is not NorCal Moto policy, it is Department of Motor Vehicles and California Motorcyclist Safety Program policy. NorCal Moto cannot override or change this policy!

The only way for you to get a new Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training in this case is to pay the course fee, re-enroll as a new student and re-take the course.

I have lost (or did not receive) my completion certificate. How do I get it replaced?

As of January 1, 2015, NorCal Moto cannot replace any Certificates of completion (DL389's). However, Total Control Training can.

Please download the DL389 replacement request form. Once the form has been completely filled out, mail or email it to the address on the bottom of the form. Please note, you will need to send a copy of your drivers license or ID and the CMSP will send you a replacement.

Can I just take the riding portion of the class? I already have a motorcycle permit.

No. You must complete and pass the entire Motorcycle Training Course (MTC) in order to earn a DL389 (certificate of completion).

I signed up for a course, but haven't received any notice or instructions by email or mail. When will I receive them?

The confirmation email is sent out automatically after you register, you should see that email within a few minutes. If you do not see it shortly after you register (please wait one business day), please check your "SPAM" or "JUNK" folder in your email. If you still don't see the confirmation email, please call the office, during business hours, and we can double check the email address and re-send the confirmation email.

I need directions and/or a map of the class location.

Attached to our confirmation email, you will find course instructions, driving directions and map(s). You will also find links here and on our website to the maps and driving directions for our Petaluma, Hayward, San Mateo and Pleasant Hill sites. If you haven't received our email, contact us by email or phone and we will get the information to you.
Please don't wait until the day of the class to check for our emails!

I have received a Standby Certificate from NorCal Moto. What does it mean, and how can I redeem it?

The Certificate entitles a student to attend the CMSP Motorcyclist Safety Course on one future occasion on a standby basis. Standby Certificates are valid for 60 days and cannot be renewed.

To redeem your Standby Certificate, you must appear at the class you would like to attend. Please bring a filled out registration waiver form, and your Standby Certificate with you. At the bottom of the Certificate, you will see a line marked, "Session". This line tells you which portions of the class you must retake in order to obtain a completion certificate.

The three portions of the class are: C1, the first classroom session; R1, the Saturday riding session; C2, the second classroom session and the Knowledge test; and R2, the Sunday riding session including the Skills Exam. Please arrive at the class session you need to retake at least 15 minutes prior to the session start time. If there is a vacant seat available, it will be made available to
standby students on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You may have to appear more than once to obtain a seat. Persistence is the key! Information on class status is available by calling us during business hours. We will be glad to inform you if there are vacant seats in a class. Of course, we cannot accurately predict whether a full class might have seats available due to student's non-attendance or other reasons, which is why persistence is the key to redeeming your Standby Certificate.

If you do not wish to remain in a standby status, you may re-reserve a specific class upon payment of a re-reservation fee (fees may vary). If you decide to re-register, please call us during business hours and we will be happy to assist you.

I need to cancel my reservation: Can I receive a refund? How do I obtain a refund if one is approved?

NorCal Moto has a 7 day change policy. You must notify us by phone, a minimum of 7 days, prior to the start of your class, if you wish to cancel or change your reservation. We can not honor cancellation requests sent by email or voice mail left outside our office hours.

Change requests made within the 7 day window, can request a Standby
Certificate. Fees will not be refunded.

Rescheduling options are available for an additional fee.

To receive a refund: Students MUST call the office Monday - Friday 8:00 am -
5:00 pm.

NOTE: All registrations are subject to a $100.00 cancellation fee.

What if I am not proficient in English?

The knowledge test and study materials are available in Spanish as well as English. If you require help in a language other than English, you can bring someone with you to translate the class and test.

Can I use/bring my own vehicle?

It Varies. Please contact the helpful NorCal Moto staff for more details.

I am under 21, how do I get my M1 license?

A current DMV checklist for an M1 (Motorcycle/scooter) license can be found by clicking here. Please make sure to read the checklist carefully and contact your local DMV directly if you have questions.

The NorCal Moto staff does NOT work for DMV and can only provide estimations on the process.

Course Policies

This course operates under the provisions of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). The following policies are consistent with the CMSP Policies and Procedures:

A paid in full registration allows a student to take the class one (1) time. In addition, one (1) re-test is allowed for failing students to be completed within 60 days of the originally failed class. No refund or partial refund will be given to failing students.

Student Status Classifications:

1. Passing Student - A passing student is one who completes each class session in order and receives an 80% or higher on the Knowledge test and 20 points or lower on the Skills test.

2. No Show - Class registration and payment is only applicable to the class in which the student is enrolled. If a student fails to show up to the first classroom session or shows up late, they forfeit their place in the class. No show students are not eligible for a refund but may purchase a Stand-by Certificate for a non-refundable fee of $200.00. If a no show student wants a guaranteed place in a future class, they must pay the full registration fee. No refund or partial refund will be given to no show students.

3. Dropped Student - A student may be dropped from the class for any of the following reasons:

a. Unsafe. Students may be dropped from the class at any time if they are deemed unsafe to continue in training. This determination will be made at the sole discretion of the Instructor in accordance with CMSP standards.

b. Late arrival. Students are required to be on time for all sessions and must arrive to the riding sessions 15 minutes before the start of each session. Classroom and riding sessions will start promptly at the assigned time. Any student who is not present at the assigned start time of any session will be dropped from the class.

c. Unprepared. Students must have their ID (license, passport, permit, or etc..) all of their proper riding gear (long sleeve shirt, sturdy long pants with no holes/thin spots, sturdy over the ankle footwear, full-fingered street specific motorcycle gloves or 100% leather gloves, helmet [3/4 or full-faced], and face-mask). Students who arrive without ID or proper safety gear will be dropped from the class.

d. Self drop. A self drop student is a student who participates in part of the course, but voluntarily withdraws before completion.

Dropped students may either purchase a stand-by letter for a non-refundable fee of $100.00 or a guaranteed seat in a specific class for $200.00. Either option must be purchased and use within 60 days of the original class date — after 60 days the dropped student must re-register and pay the full enrollment fee. No refunds or partial refund will be issued to dropped students.

Stand by policy: Stand-by letter is good for 60 days upon purchase. If the student uses the letter within 60 days of their original class date, they may return to the class at the point where they left off. After 60 days the stand-by student must re-register. Stand by letters are good only for the original student and are non-transferable.

Re-test policy: Re-tests for any student that fails must be completed within 60 days of the original class date. All re-tests are scheduled through the office; Skills evaluation retests require a fee of $100.00 and knowledge test re-tests are free if they are taken with a subsequent class during that classes testing time. If a skills evaluation re-test student wishes to retake any portion of the riding session again, they may purchase a stand by letter for a non-refundable fee of $200.00 to be used within 60 days of the original class date.

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