California 2 stroke motorcycle laws

California 2 stroke motorcycle laws DEFAULT

“But you can’t have out-of-state plates in California. You got lucky.”

If you ride a street legal dirt bike in California and you’re just passing through, you’re fine.

If you’re new to California or planning to take up a permanent residence there, things are a little different.

The California DMV rules state that you must register your vehicle(s) in California within 20 days of establishing residency. “Residency” is loosely defined as working, living, paying rent, or receiving bills at a California address on a permanent basis.

The thing is, most states have laws like this and most of the time they’re only enforced in strange circumstances. If you have so much as a mailing address in another state you have nothing to worry about.

But what about CHEATERS?

California has a program called CHEATERS that basically allows other drivers to narc on you if they think you’re dodging the registration process. So if your neighbor is the type to grab a bottle of Lubriderm and break out the DMV Handbook late at night, you might get a call from an officer.

But as someone who lived in California, worked in California, got pulled over in California, and got tickets in California, all with out-of-state plates over the course of several years, I have to say the risk of anyone caring about your plate is pretty low – especially on a street legal dirt bike.

Keep your registration current and you won’t attract undue attention riding a street legal dirt bike in California. That is, unless you do something reckless. But you wouldn’t do that, right?

California dirt bike ban

California is at it again, making news with its ambitious energy directives, including an executive action that would ban the sale of new gas and diesel burning passenger cars and trucks, as well as all off-road vehicles, which includes dirt bikes, side-by-sides and ATVs by the year 2035. Purchase of new medium- and heavy-duty trucks (think commercial) would be phased out by 2045. 

Note this directive does not challenge ownership of fuel-burning vehicles purchased before 2035.

It also fails to mention the fate of street-legal motorcycles like our beloved adventure and dual-sport models, which has our hopes up that the Golden State, which encourages motorcycle riding to reduce congestion on its busy freeways, is giving a further nod to their inherently small carbon footprint. In any case, the motorcycle industry is already self motivating toward e-power, as we reported last week. 

Further evidence the omission of street legal motorcycles from California’s rigorous plan was intentional is a recent report from MCN that states the UK’s Department of Transportation has confirmed it is not including motorcycles in that country’s similar ban on sales of new petrol and diesel passenger vehicles by 2035. On the other hand, the 13 additional countries committed to phasing out sales of non-zero emissions vehicles by 2035, including China, France and Germany, have not made an exception for two wheelers.

California dirt bike ban

So at least for now, as far as two-wheelers go, it looks like it’s only dirt bikes on the chopping block for 2035. Not great news, but imagining electric-or-nothing adventure bikes feels like a far greater compromise.  

And while it might seem like this directive came out of left field, it’s hardly idle chatter. “As California goes, so goes the country” is an oft-used adage rooted in fact, especially when it comes to the state’s pollution-bashing measures. Just take a look at the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) track record. Back in the fifties and sixties the state had the worst pollution in all of the country and much of the world. Fast forward to the eighties and air quality was back at healthy levels, thanks in large part to California’s very strict rules about emissions levels emitted by new vehicles sold within its borders. 

Remember when there were “California bikes?” What a bunch of hoops manufacturers had to jump through to create a separate version of each model to conform to California’s demands. Today most motorcycles are delivered as 50-state models. How many civilians even noticed?

The point being, California is once again foretelling the future of what will someday be the entire country’s reality. 

California dirt bike ban

Still, California’s plan to phase out our beloved petrol-burning dirt bikes, side-by-sides and ATVs has hurdles to jump, some of them self-implemented, such as the caveat that implementation needs to match with “technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness.”

On this note, the governor’s talking points include how his ballsy directive is intended to spur forth the creation of viable infrastructure to support more growing numbers of zero-emissions vehicles already being purchased in the golden state. Just yesterday, in the California Bay Area, I had to chuckle at a long queue of Teslas waiting for a “quick” charge. 

Certainly it’s hard to wrap your head around having enough infrastructure to power just the new vehicles to be sold in the year 2035. For reference, California saw nearly two million new car sales in 2019. And how to make all that juice green enough? 

A possible stumbling block is that Newsom’s order could be challenged at the federal level. California has long led the country in emissions standards, having been granted a waiver to set stricter standards than those of the federal government under the 1970 Clean Air Act. California is currently battling the Trump administration in the courts over its desire to remove the waiver, which could block California’s ability to set tougher state-level emissions standards. Whether this attempt to revoke the waiver will happen, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, a decade and a-half is a lot of good days of grabbing that ol’ petrol-igniting throttle until new gas-burning dirt bikes are phased out in the state. And while the visceral elements of the combustion engine make us feel so alive today, motorcycles in the year 2035 are probably going to be pretty fantastic. They may well prove less expensive in cost and maintenance, too.

And besides, no one said we couldn’t keep a real toy or two tucked away in the garage. Measures like this might put the traditional gas station on the endangered list, but it’s unlikely we’ll see a total extinction of braaping in our lifetime. 

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.
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California Just Killed Dirt Bikes as We Know Them

You may have already seen the news from yesterday, where California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the Golden State to be zero-emission vehicles by the year 2035. 

The order also goes on to say that the state will phase out all new medium and heavy-duty trucks that are not zero-emissions by the year 2045, thus setting up the state to push electric vehicles onto its roadways in a big way.

There is a third provision in this executive order though, and it is getting far less attention than the other two, but it will greatly impact the motorcycle industry.

This is because Gov. Newsom’s executive order also says that by 2035 California will ban the sale of all new off-road vehicles that are not zero-emissions, where feasible.

Effectively, California has just set an expiration date on the sale of new dirt bikes, side-by-sides, and ATVs within its borders.

Before we get too much further, it should be pointed out that this executive order applies only to the sale of new vehicles, and does not stop one from owning a gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle, nor does it stop one’s ability to sell a used gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle to a private party.

Also important to note is that plated dual-sport motorcycles, along with all street-legal motorcycles, would be exempt from this executive order, as motorcycles are not specifically targeted by the order’s mandates.

What it does stop though is the ability for manufacturers to build and sell new non-zero emissions vehicles in the State of California, including what is being sold by the powersports industry for off-road use.

There is a major caveat in the executive order though, and that is that CARB is directed to “act consistently with technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness” in implementing the order’s directives.

This could create a scenario where OEMs could argue that the production and sale of something like an electric dirt bike is so expensive, that it is not a reasonable replacement for what is available with an internal combustion engine.

The burden will be on the manufacturers to show this unreasonableness, however, and that will be a tall order for them to do so. There are two reasons this is the case:

First, entries like those seen from Alta Motors already show us that performance parity from electric dirt bikes is within grasp of the motorcycle industry.

Second, with a 15-year lead-up to the ban’s implementation, the state of technology is only going to progress further, and that duration should give OEMs plenty of time to plan, develop, and build zero-emission alternatives for this sector.

The real crux of this executive order is what it will mean for the powersports industry as a whole.

With California accounting for a large portion of the off-road sector sales in the United States, the Golden State holds tremendous sway over powersport OEMs.

As such, Gov. Newsom’s order will likely force powersport manufacturers to finally take electric vehicles more seriously, which will likely see a rippling effect in other states in the USA.

Source: Office of Governor, California

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California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division

Carnegie Nov 1 - Apr 30 Clay Pit Nov 1 - Jun 30 Hollister Hills Oct 1 - May 31 Hungry Valley Oct 1 - Apr 30 Ocotillo Wells Oct 15 - May 15 Oceano Dunes Sep 15 - May 15 Prairie City Oct 15 - Apr 15 Mammoth Bar Oct 1 - May 31

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Bakersfield District Office

Clear Creek Management Area Oct 1 - May 31 Bishop Resource Area Year-round

BLM Norcal

Fort Sage OHV Area Year-round Samoa Dunes Year-round Black Sands Beach Year-round Chappie-Shasta ORV Oct 1 - May 31 South Cow Mountain RA Year-round Knoxville Recreation Area Year-round

California Desert District Office

Olancha Dunes Year-round Spangler Hills Oct 1 - May 31 Jawbone Canyon/Dove Springs Oct 1 - May 31 Dumont Dunes Nov 1 - Apr 30 Stoddard Valley Oct 1 - Apr 30 Johnson Valley Oct 1 - Apr 30 Superstition Mountain Oct 1 - May 31 Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis/Gecko) Oct 1 - Apr 30 Plaster City Oct 1 - May 31 Imperial Sand Dunes (Buttercup Valley) Oct 1 - Apr 30 Lark Canyon (McCain Valley) prohibited Rasor Oct 1 - Apr 30 Imperial Sand Dunes (Mammoth Wash) Oct 1- Apr 30 Arroyo Salado prohibited El Mirage/Shadow Mountains Nov 1 - Mar 15 Rice Valley Dunes Year-round Parker Strip Year-round

United States Forest Service (USFS)

Angeles National Forest

Mt. Baldy Ranger District Dec 1 - Jan 31 Rowher Flat Nov 1 - Mar 31 Tujunga Ranger District Dec 1 - Jan 31 Littlerock Nov 1 - Mar 31

Cleveland National Forest

Corral Canyon prohibited Wildomar D ec 1 - Feb 28/29

Eldorado National Forest

Mace Mill/Rock Creek Oct 15 - May 31 Barrett Lake Year-round

Inyo National Forest

Poleta Year-round

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Kings Beach Year-round

Los Padres National Forest

Alamo Mountain Oct 15 - Apr 30 Ballinger Canyon Nov 1 - Mar 15 Black Mountain (Pozo-LaPanza) Oct 1 - Apr 30 Santa Barbara Ranger District Nov 15 - Mar 15 Ortega Trail Nov 15 - Mar 15

Mendocino National Forest

Davis Flat Year-round Lake Pillsbury Year-round Elk Mountain Area Year-round

Plumas National Forest

Gold Lake Year-round Dixie Mountain Year-round Mosquito Creek/Antelope Lake Year-round Lights Creek/ Canyon Dam Year-round Deadman Springs/Snake Lake Year-round Cleghorn Bar/Poker Flat/La Porte Year-round Big Creek/Four Tees Year-round French Creek/Bucks Summi Year-round

San Bernardino National Forest

Lake Arrowead Area Nov 1 - Feb 28/29 Big Bear Lake Area Nov 1 - Feb 28/29 San Jacinto Area Nov 1 - Feb 28/29 Lytle Creek Area Nov 1 - Feb 28/29

Sequoia National Forest

Tule River Ranger District Nov 1 - Apr 30 Frog Meadow Area Nov 1 - Apr 30 Kennedy Meadows Year-round

Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Hayfork Area Year-round McCloud Ranger District Year-round

Sierra National Forest

Kings River Nov 1 - May 31 Shaver Lake Area Nov 1 - May 31 Hites Cove Nov 1 - May 31 Miami Creek Nov 1 - May 31

Six Rivers National Forest

Smith Rivers NRA Year-round

Stanislaus National Forest

Niagara Ridge Area/Herring Creek Year-round Date Flat Area/Moore Creek Area Oct 1 - May 31 Deer Creek Area/Hull Creek Area Oct 1 - May 31 Corral Hollow/Spicer Oct 1 - May 31

Tahoe National Forest

Foresthill OHV Area Oct 1 - May 31 Fordyce Jeep Trail Fordyce Jeep Trail Truckee Ranger District Year-round Prosser Hills Area Year-round Downieville Ranger District Year-round

Cities, Counties, or other Jurisdictions

Frank Raines-Deer Creek OHV Park Oct 1 - May 31 La Grange ORV Park Nov 1 - Mar 31 Park Moabi Year-round Riverfront Park ORV Area Year-round Co. of Santa Clara Motorcycle Park Nov 1 - Apr 30 Black Butte Lake Year-round


2 motorcycle california laws stroke

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No more dirt bikes?? - UPDATE

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