Re: california laws on motorized bicycle help!!!!
Enforcement, or lack of it, varies from city to city. From my experience, most beach city cops are pretty strict on the rules, and most inland cops don't care. But all it takes is one jerk cop to ruon your day, no matter where you ride.
You can usually get around with just the plate and a DOT helmet, but it's not that tough to be fully legal. Even just getting an M1 permit is easy. Good for a year, but you can't ride at night.
To be fully legal, you need a plate, DOT helmet, M1 or M2 license, and your bike needs a headlight, taillight, brakelight, horn, and left mirror.