Before you purchase a scooter, it is important to study the laws for scooters in your state to see what is and isn’t allowed. You can also take a look at some of our other articles where you can find good electric scooters that you can buy for a low price.
In the informative article below, we will explore all of the aspects one needs to consider before getting a scooter, and answer the question of whether a license is required or not.
Scooter laws in the US
While scooter laws are different in each state, this two-wheel vehicle can generally be operated on the road without requiring a motorcycle-specific license. A motorized scooter, also referred to as an electric scooter is defined as having a floorboard that a person can stand on while riding, two wheels, handlebars, and a motor that powers the vehicle.
While in most states it is not required from the rider to have a motorcycle-specific license in order to ride a scooter, you will still need to have a driver’s license. Furthermore, even if scooters are street-legal vehicles, you will still need to have them registered with the DMV or carry license plates.
While you are on the road, you will need to obey the same traffic and safety laws as any other driver on the road. With that said, each state may have specific restrictions for scooters that you might need to check out beforehand. For example, in California, the rider needs to wear a helmet that is U.S Department of Transportation-compliant at all times.
Other laws that are shared among states say that just as is the case with other vehicles, scooters should not be operated on sidewalks. Restrictions are also enforced depending on the type of scooter that you have since motorized scooters should not be ridden at speeds higher than 15 mph on the road, while mobility scooters can be ridden up to 30 mph.
There are also states that are more lenient with scooters. In Texas, for example, a scooter that is motor-assisted and has a motor under 900W can be ridden manually like a kick scooter. Electric scooters are also allowed on the paths that are set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles, and in Texas, they can also be ridden on sidewalks and on streets that have a speed limit of 35 mph.
As a general rule, if the scooter is limited to under 20 mph, you will most likely not need a license to operate it, but it is important to research the law of your state since there might be age or other restrictions that you may not be aware of.
If you do choose to ride a scooter without a license, or if you are underage, and you are stopped by the police, it is very likely that you will get a ticket and you will have to get someone to come and pick you up or walk home. It is all up to the officer, but it is better not to risk it.
It is important mentioning that in New York electric scooters are prohibited entirely and they are not allowed on any street, parking lot, highway, or sidewalk. As electric scooters gain even more popularity, it is expected that these laws will be modernized.
Another factor to consider is that even if scooters may seem safe, they still require knowledge and skill, and the necessity of a license can be quite useful and help protect both the scooterist and the other motorists on the road.
Many scooter accidents happen because the rider is simply not experienced with riding a two-wheeled vehicle on the road and taking the courses required for a motorcycle license can help in this regard.
Thus, even if your state does not require you to have a driver’s license or motorcycle license in order to operate a scooter, it might still be good to consider getting one for your own safety.
Laws and legislation in Canada, the UK, and Europe
In Canada, scooter laws vary from province to province across the country. In Alberta, the driver is required to have a Class 7 License, and the minimum learning or licensing age is 14. In British Columbia, on the other hand, moped riders can operate their scooter with any class of driver’s license. All the other provinces require some sort of a license.
In the United Kingdom, you need to be at least 16 to ride a 50cc scooter and a provisional license is required. On the other hand, just as is the case in New York, electric scooters are not legal in the UK and they can only be used on private property. The same is true for hoverboards, twist-throttle electric bikes, and electric skateboards as well.
Across the European Union, the AM driver’s license is required to ride scooters and mopeds with no more than 50cc and a maximum speed of 28 mph. Furthermore, many E.U. countries don’t require state-issued plates, only special issued plates.
At what age can you ride a scooter?
The age required to ride a scooter varies depending on the state. The minimum age can be 14 in some states while in others it is 16. In Europe, the age required to ride a scooter is between 15 and 18 years of age. For the UK the age limit is 16, while for Canada if you are under the age of 18 you will need parental consent to obtain the license.
Is insurance required?
In most states, moped and scooter riders are required to have some form of insurance, and the laws do not always align with the motorcycle laws of the state so you will need to take the time and check whether a policy is required before taking your scooter on the road.
Different states can have different rules for mopeds and scooters than they do for motorcycles, and some require coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. A handful of them even requires personal injury protection.
Most companies will cover scooters under the motorcycle insurance policies and they include property damage, liability coverage, and bodily injury. Just as is the case with every motorcycle insurance policy, they cover any property damage or bodily injury that a rider might cause while operating his or her vehicle, but they do not cover the rider of the scooter himself/herself.
With that said, there are of course other coverage options available for scooters as well, but for a high price. Medical payments coverage, for example, can pay for the hospital bills of the passenger and driver in case of an accident. Collision and comprehensive coverage will pay for the cost of repair and even for the replacement of your vehicle in case of a serious accident.
As far as the cost is concerned, insuring a scooter or moped is much cheaper than if you were to cover a traditional motorcycle. Since mopeds and scooters have smaller engines, they can’t travel as fast and the potential for damage is lowered. The average cost of a basic insurance policy for a scooter is around $250 per year.