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Story I read on a totally different site: A person in California who is legally blind (but can still see a little bit) buys a motorcycle, rides it, and gets stopped by traffic cops. He has no driving license.

What would happen now? There is obviously driving without license, and driving while not being in a fit state to drive (legally blind is probably worse than quite drunk).

What would happen to the motorcycle? Would it be confiscated to prevent a repeat and possibly destroyed?

What about third party insurance if he hurt someone else (and he took out an insurance contract): Would the third party insurance have to pay a third party's damage? Obviously I expect they would try to get the money back from the rider, but would they have to pay out or could they claim the contract was void?

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    One question at a time please. We don’t charge for questions- ask as many as you like just use one question for each.
    – Dale M
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:23
  • The facts would matter. The scenario in this commercial would probably be legal: youtube.com/watch?v=tAM-E6PApmQ (blind man rides a motorcycle mounted on a trailer towed by his wife in their car).
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 25, 2019 at 22:41

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Driving without a license in CA is what they call a "wobbler", either a misdemeanor or an infraction. As a misdemeanor it can be up to 6 months and $1,000. There is no special provision for driving with impaired vision, but the driving itself could be so bad that it constitutes reckless driving. If that happens in the presence of a peace officer, then a magistrate presented with an affidavit to that effect shall order the vehicle to be confiscated. The vehicle shall be impounded for no more than 30 days. At the end, though, somebody with a valid license must retrieve the vehicle.

Although he could now have auto insurance, it's possible that he has umbrella liability insurance: you'd have to read the policy to see if there is an escape clause.

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My son's eyesight is excellent, but when caught riding his motorcycle on the freeway in possession of only a provisional motorcycle license (freeway not allowed), the bike was towed to the impound lot. The charge was dropped when he showed he was entitled to the full license, even though he hadn't gotten the license upgraded. The outrageous tow and impound fees were not.

Every insurance contract I have ever seen would be voided by lack of license. Nor do they pay for expenses associated with the impoundment.

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  • In Germany, if you drive a car without license and cause damages to a third party before the insurance contract is voided, the insurance company has to pay the damage to the victim. They will try their hardest to get the money back from the driver though. They may void the contract for the future if this was the fault of the insurance holder. But if a car thief steals my car and drives away without a license, it's unlikely that my insurance would be voided.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 18, 2023 at 13:08

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