20 years ago all you needed was a permit, and to be 15 &1/2 now this is the requirement: Copied from the California DMV Website:
You will need to obtain a Class M2 license if you choose to go the way of the scooter or the moped with a maximum speed limit of 30 mph.
To secure your Class M2 license simply:
Make an appointment. at your local DMV,
Submit an original DL 44 application form.
Provide a thumb print.
Have your picture taken at the DMV.
Pay the $27 application fee.
Pass a vision exam.
Pass the traffic laws and signs test.
If you are under 21, complete the California Highway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle training course and present the Certificate of Motorcycle Training (DL 389) to the DMV. You won't have to take the motorcycle driving test if you already have a current California driver license.
If you are over 21, choose between taking the CHP course and submitting the certificate of completion, or scheduling an appointment to take the driving test.
For additional information on the motorcycle classes offered by the California Highway Patrol call (877) 743-3411 or visit the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.