How to Register a Moped in California
You will need the DMV's Vehicle Registration Form 230 (Motorized Bicycle Instructions/Application)
Note: most of the DMV offices in California do not keep moped license plates on hand, so you will have to wait a few weeks for a plate. You can just just mail the 230 form with a check for the fees to keep yourself from wasting time in line at the DMV.
Mail the form with an $20 check to:
Department of Motor Vehicles,
Special Processing Unit - MSD238
PO Box 932345, Sacramento, CA 94232-3540
Processing takes roughly 2-6 weeks, in the meantime you can keep a photocopy of the 230 form as a legal proof of ownership
Understanding the Reg230 Form
Section 1 - Vehicle Information
At the top of the form you need to fill out:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): A series of letters and/or numbers that is usually located on the front-most part of your moped frame, (where the fork attaches to you bike), but the location on the frame can vary by model.
- Engine Number: Another string of numbers usually located on your engine. Or leave it blank, because it doesn't seem to matter.
- Make: Fill out the make. Puch, Peugeot, whatever.
- California License Plate Number: Fill this in only if the bike already has a California license plate, otherwise leave it blank.
Section 2 - Original Application
This is only filled out if the bike has never been registered in California before
First you must answer four yes/no questions. If true mark answer all 4 questions with Yes
1. Two-Wheel or Three-Wheel Device? Yes/No
- Your vehicle can only have two or three wheels (yes tri-peds qualify), no four wheeled vehicles (quads) they are considered either off road vehicles or cars.
2. Fully operative pedals for human power or powered solely by electrical energy? Yes/No
- Your moped must have working pedals (DMV does not verify),
- Nopeds (ie. Honda Express) are considered a Motorcycle or Motor Driven Cycle (Scooter) under California law so the noped's VIN may or may not work, and if it's already been registered as a scooter you're pretty much screwed.
3. Automatic Transmission and a motor with less than 4 gross brake horsepower? Yes/No
- Mark yes, it probably is and they won't check (see the modified bike note below)
4. Maximum speed of 30 miles per hour on ground level? Yes/No
- This one is pretty self explanatory, it refers to the moped model when stock and almost any moped applies, though see the note below
Note for Modified Bikes
- If a cop pulls you over in California and clocked you at over 30mph or you don't have pedals he can legally impound your bike for falsification of registration for your vehicle as a moped rather than a Motor Driven Cycle (Scooter), so register your noped or modded bike as a moped at your own risk.
The next boxes/blank spaces are for the "Registered Owner" the person registering the bike in California for the first time, that's you so print your name and address in the appropriate boxes
Section 3 - Check One
This section is only if you bike is missing an ID Card or a License Plate
Moped ID Card
This is your proof of ownership and ownership transfer paperwork if and when you decide to sell your moped
- you are required by law to keep it with you while you ride, along with proof of insurance and an M1 or M2 driver's license
Note: there is no "Title" for a moped in California, if a cop asks you for your Title or Proof of Ownership they mean your ID Card
Moped License Plate
the plate is for the life of the moped and doesn't need be renewed ever (unlike nopeds, scooters, and motorcycles which need to be renewed yearly)
Section 4 - Ownership Transfer
This is the Ownership Transfer section though the legalese can be a little confusing, so here's what you need to know:
- the line with the X on it titled "releasing signature of owner" is for the previous owner who is selling the bike
- the second line titled "Registered Owner(s) (Last/First/Middle)" is for the printed name of the buyer who is now the new owner of the bike
- the remaining spaces are for the new owner's (you) full address information
- Basically the only information you need would be the previous owner's signature. The rest of the paper you fill out with your own information and the bikes information. IF you cannot get a hold of the previous owner anymore, have a friend sign it. The DMV only wants to see a signature. (this technically is not legal nor recommended, but works for many people that cant reach the previous owner. use at own risk though, the moped army wiki is not responsible for your choosing.)
Section 5 - Certification and Signature(s)
this is the space for the signature of:
- the new owner if you are transferring ownership
- the current owner if you are only requesting a new ID Card or Plate
Registering a Moped for the first Time
If the bike has never been registered, fill out sections A & D, and if you mail the form to the DMV include a check for $21
Replacing lost ID Cards/Licence Plates
Fill out Sections B & D, and if you mail it to the DMV include a check for $21
To transfer ownership (whenever a moped is traded, sold, or given as a gift) fill out sections C & D
Note: You only need the previous owners signature to transfer ownership, not their printed name or address, see the info about Section C above for more details
Moped From Out of State
If the moped is from another state and has never been registered in California before you only fill out sections A & D
If the Moped Has No Plate or ID Card
- First thing you need to do is find out if it has been registered before, which you can do by attempting to send it in with sections A & D filled out along with the current DMV registration fee ($20 as of January 2015), if it has already been registered they will return the paperwork with an explanation
- If the bike has already been registered you need to fill out sections B, C, & D, according to section C of the 230 form:
“The ID Card is the transfer document. If it is lost complete Section B, sign Release of Ownership section (SELLER Signs) and have the new owner(s) complete the information in this section and sign on new owner signature line.”
- In section B you need to mark the “Substitute Plate” and/or “Duplicate ID Card” boxes and then mark the box for “Lost/Stolen”
- In section C you’ll need to have the person who sold it to you sign on the line titled “releasing signature of owner” (the one with the X on it), then you will print your name under “Registered Owner(s) (Last/First/Middle)” along with your address county city state and zip
- Finally in section D you will sign on only the line titled “Signature of New Owner” (the first line with an X)
- As long as the bike has been registered before and is not reported as stolen you will get a new ID card and/or License Plate for you moped