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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I started researching some laws regarding lights and discovered much insanity. That does not surprise me given California and the attitude of "there is no problem more laws cannot solve" which ends up creating some stupid laws beyond the intent.

While many of these things are not enforced on motorcycles, they could be. Most states have thousands of vehicle codes basically allowing an officer to pull anyone over at any time for any reason, fortunately that does not happen as often as it could. CHP is increasing motorcycle checkpoints, the NHTSA is trying to make a program national to do motorcycle only checkpoints for equipment violations (and some other motorcycle related things).

Disclaimer I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. In addition to State laws there are also city and county laws which may prohibit additional things. These laws can change at any moment yet this post will not be edited in the future, you are encouraged to validate everything here on your own. I have probably missed a whole bunch of laws as well. When in doubt dont do it until you have consulted a lawyer and/or are willing to risk getting a ticket.

I have not observed enforcement of many of these things. Brighter than stock headlamps I see all the time. Tinted motorcycle windscreens I also see. I have observed blue headlamps with no citation forthcoming. I have seen many many motorcycles with the license plate tucked so far under the bike its barely visible at all (dont have the statute but I am sure that is not legal cause the photo systems cant see it). On the flip side I have seen people posting about getting a ticket for under body lights on their car (despite a statute specifically allowing them). When it comes to motorcycles I think the general rule is 'if it increases safety without being distracting and impairing other drivers then its fine'. If you are racing, exhibiting excessive speed, doing stunts, etc then all rules are off and they will probably look for everything they can possibly get you on.

Fender Eliminator Kits
Lack of white rear license plate light (24601 VC)
Rear Reflectors

Headlamp upgrades
It is legal to have a headlamp modulator providing (25251.2 VC)
  • it alternates between high beam and low beam
  • it modulates between 200 and 280 flashes per minute
  • it does not modulate at night
Must be at least 1 but not more than 2 headlamps (pre 1970 only at night)
During darkness (25651 VC)
  • reveal a person at 100 feet when operated at any speed less than 25 mph
  • reveal a person at 200 feet when operated 25-35 mph
  • reveal a person at 300 feet when operated at a speed greater than 35 mph
  • if high/low capable the above applies to high and low must reveal a person 100 feet ahead
  • if single beam, when motorcycle is loaded at 25 feet head the light has to be projected lower than level of the center of the lamp

Exhaust
Must comply with smog rules (27156 VC). See Air Resources Board web site for more info and list of parts that are legal.
New law that takes effect for bikes model year 2013 you will not be able to modify to be louder than stock exhaust


Bling/Misc
All lights must be specifically required by statute or permitted by statute, undefined lights are illegal (24003 VC).
All flashing decorative lights are illegal (25250 VC).
Lights attached to tire valves are illegal (24003, 25250 VC).
Lighted license plate frames are illegal (unless red) (24003 VC).
It is illegal to have illegal lights on a vehicle whether or not they are operating (24003 VC).
it is apparently legal to have underbody lights (25400 & 25401 VC)
  • Must be less than 0.05 candela per square inch of area
  • must be diffused nonglaring light (no visible bulb at all)
  • must not flash or blink
  • must not resemble any official traffic control device
  • must not display red to the front but may display other colors
  • must not resemble any required lamp, reflector, or other device
  • must not be installed within 12 inches of any required lamp or reflector
  • must not be installed in a place that would interfere with the visibility or effectiveness of any required lamp or reflector
brake light flashers are legal providing it does not flash more than 4 times within 4 seconds of pressing the brakes (25251.5 VC)


Windscreen
Cant tint your windscreen. They define "motor vehicle" to include motorcycles. (26708 VC)


Sources (and probably a few I forgot to paste in here)
CHP - Asia Pacific Islander Outreach
http://www.chp.ca.gov/publications/pdf/chp888.pdf
V C Section 25400 Lighting Requirements
V C Section 25401 Diffused Lights Resembling Signs
V C Section 24003 Vehicle With Unlawful Lamps
V C Section 25250 Flashing Lights
V C Section 26708 Material Obstructing or Reducing Driver x2019 s View
V C Section 25251.2 Motorcycles Headlamp Flasher
 

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Discussion Starter #2
If anyone has any additions to things I missed I would appreciate them and I will try to incorporate them into the first post to make it easier to read in the future
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just noticed that the CHP page on illegal vehicle mods is titled "Asia Pacific Islander Outreach", I guess they are trying to say that it is an ethnic thing to put a bunch of illegal crap on your car :/
 

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I live here and ignore many of the laws - the motorcycle mod laws are just the tip of the PRK iceberg. I'm in the Santa Cruz mountains and see illegal "helmets" all the time and no one ever gets pulled over for it so I doubt motorcycle mods get a lot of scrutiny. The risk is that as the state gets increasingly bankrupt some politician will target all this as a revenue source. So....you take your chances. If you loose, you pay the fines and move on. Hopefully, if you live here, you make at least low six figures so the fines are just one more cost of living along with the sky high cost of housing. Once I'm retired, I'm out of here. Some of the pics from TN I see here sure look nice.
 

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I live here and ignore many of the laws - the motorcycle mod laws are just the tip of the PRK iceberg. I'm in the Santa Cruz mountains and see illegal "helmets" all the time and no one ever gets pulled over for it so I doubt motorcycle mods get a lot of scrutiny. The risk is that as the state gets increasingly bankrupt some politician will target all this as a revenue source. So....you take your chances. If you loose, you pay the fines and move on. Hopefully, if you live here, you make at least low six figures so the fines are just one more cost of living along with the sky high cost of housing. Once I'm retired, I'm out of here. Some of the pics from TN I see here sure look nice.
Its kinda funny..all i see on facebook and hear is everyone saying they cant wait to get out of Tn and go somewhere else..lmao..but its like that everywhere all over the country....Even though Tn has the highest sales tax allowed by law thus one of the highest in the nation..the actual cost of living is alot lower than other states that have higher per capita incomes thus making your dollar go alot farther here than in your home state making TN a favorite retirement state in the last few decades alone
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I live here and ignore many of the laws - the motorcycle mod laws are just the tip of the PRK iceberg. I'm in the Santa Cruz mountains and see illegal "helmets" all the time and no one ever gets pulled over for it so I doubt motorcycle mods get a lot of scrutiny.
The helmet thing is only advertising law for now. That is why they are called "novelty helmets" cause they cant be called "crash helmets" or "safety helmets" unless they are DOT stamped. It is 100% legal to wear a novelty helmet providing it has a chin strap and other features.

That’s The Ticket: CHP Grant To Target Motorcycle ‘Safety’ Violators « CBS Los Angeles
There is also a youtube video of a checkpoint that CHP did looking for illegal mods, guy got tagged for a fender eliminator kit (no light on his plate). That was on the AZ border I think.

What started this for me was I wanted to put some underglow lighting to increase my night time visibility. I have seen people get tagged for that and wanted to know what the law was. If done right it is legal (although it seems some cops are still pulling people over anyway). Cities or counties may have additional ordinances on that but vehicle equipment laws are rare on that level.

If the NHTSA gets the money it wants it will pay each state in the nation to do increased checks on everything from how loud exhausts are (now in CA its 100% subjective, if the cop thinks its too loud it is) to VIN/license/registration/insurance checks to whatever else. They really want to do that for some reason.


I live in the foothills overlooking where you live. Other side of the valley though, not in the bay area (technically East of Sac but I can see quite far with the elevation).
 

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Your ability to exercise your personal freedoms will always be in proportion, to your homes vacinity to large groups of people and the sizes of that group.
Hence why none of these silly laws realy suprise me.
 

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Tn has the highest sales tax allowed by law thus one of the highest in the nation..the actual cost of living is a lot lower than other states that have higher per capita incomes thus making your dollar go alot farther here than in your home state making TN a favorite retirement state in the last few decades alone
CA slaps a bunch of taxes on gas in addition to an 8.5% sales tax and mandates a "boutique blend" bringing the cost of a gallon of regular to - as of this morning - about $3.6 a gallon (more in the middle of the major metro areas). What's it going for in TN?
Oh and our electricity must come from "clean sources" and we can't (=won't) build any more dams so it costs anywhere from a low of 0.15 a kwh on up to 0.45 a KwH depending on your usage. Any idea what it goes for in your neck of the woods? A retired cop I know lives right on the Oregan border so he can shop sales tax free, pay .08 a kwh for his electricity from the Oregon grid and still maximize his CA pension.
 

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CA slaps a bunch of taxes on gas in addition to an 8.5% sales tax and mandates a "boutique blend" bringing the cost of a gallon of regular to - as of this morning - about $3.6 a gallon (more in the middle of the major metro areas). What's it going for in TN?
Oh and our electricity must come from "clean sources" and we can't (=won't) build any more dams so it costs anywhere from a low of 0.15 a kwh on up to 0.45 a KwH depending on your usage. Any idea what it goes for in your neck of the woods? .
sales tax here is 9.75%...gas was going for $3.20 a gallon yesterday..electricity is .15 Kw h with a $15 per month residential fee added in also..TVA tells us we have some of the lowest power rates in the country..never did believe them
 
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