When I decided to take the plunge and commute to work with an electric scooter, I was enticed by them because electric scooters were advertised as vehicles that can be operated without license and registration. I wondered which electric scooters are actually street legal? will I get banned can you ride scooters on the sidewalk?
This article will provide in depth information on what it means for a scooter to be street legal and which scooters to considering buying if you want to do this.
What does it mean for an electric scooter to be “Street legal”
According to Federal law Register Volume 68 “A two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.”
Which in short means if the electric scooter fits inside this category, congratulations it is street legal, and doesn’t require license and registration. The bad news is that the law varies from state to state in most states.
Where is it legal to ride electric scooters?
First of all if you are in the United Kingdom electric scooters are not street legal (Sorry for the bad news) in the United Kingdom you can only buy and ride on private land, if you are caught on public road you will be fined.
However, there have been cases where the police have allowed this and not stopped people riding if they are wearing a helmet and being considerate to pedestrians, but take this information with a grain of salt.
To fit in the tight guidelines provided by law some manufacturers have just put on a pair of pedals onto the vehicles that does not look anything like a bicycle.
This not only looks weird , but also makes pedaling quite hard.However, if you are prepared to get over this, you will be permitted to ride on public roads at speeds of up to 20mph without registration.
If you live in California you can ride electric scooters in cycle lanes and sidewalks as long as you are over 16 and wearing a helmet. But in a state like New York if you are caught doing this you will land a $500 fine!
There a few other states which allow you to ride scooters but have certain requirements.
The state of Florida makes a clear definition/difference between
- Motorized bicycles
- Motor scooters
- Motorized scooters
Florida state Law describes “motor vehicle” is “any self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped.”
Motor scooters are motor vehicles, which means they are allowed on Florida roadways, but must be titled and registered. Also, the driver must own a valid driver’s license.
Moterzied bicycle: “is defined as a vehicle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 mph on level ground.“
Moped: is defined as “any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels; with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 mph on level ground; and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged.”
Basically these vehicles can be used on the roadways, no title is needed, but registration is. Even if the top speed is restricted to 20 mph and it looks like a moped, there is a chance it could be classified as electric bikes and thereby avoid the need for registration requirements for mopeds.
Motorized scooter: is defined as“Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 mph is classified as a “motorized scooter” and is not allowed to be operated on the roadways”.
So if your scooter does not have a seat or saddle and cannot power you to go to more than 30mph it is not allowed on the road.
The state of Texas defines electric bikes as “a device that is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with human power and cannot attain a speed of more than 20mph in electric only mode“. Electric bikes may not surpass a weight of 100lbs. There is no licensing and registration requirements for electric bikes! However electric bikes are not allowed on the highway.
You are allowed to ride motor assisted scooters but not pocket bikes are mini bikes.
Does your electric scooter need a license?
The electric scooter it self does not need a license however you need to own a license to drive one on public sidewalks/cycle lanes.
Also your electric scooter does not need to be registered to drive it. Various states have different laws but below are some common laws you may come across
Although a driving license or learner’s permit is required to drive an electric scooter, no insurance, registration or license plates are required.
- The vehicle must have a working brake.
- You cannot have any passengers.
- The driver should not go over the limit of 25 mph or more on the public road until and unless the scooter is operated in a bike lane.
- It is mandatory to wear a helmet while riding.
- The driver should not cross the speed of 15mph anyhow.
- Scooter should be operated in a designated bike lane when one is available.
- Although one can ride a scooter on a sidewalk or street, he/she should not leave it on path or sidewalk.
- Must have a working brake.
- Driver must have at least one hand on handlebars.
DISCLAIMER: This page is provided as help only and does not constitute legal advice. The information in this article may not be comprehensive or current. You are solely responsible for knowing and obeying the laws which pertain to you.
Street legal scooters
The Gigabike Groove is a powerful 750w Electric Motorized Bike, it goes up to 20 MPH and gets around 35 miles per charge. It is whisper quiet and the braking is very solid.
A problem I find with electric scooter is that is slow to go up hills. If you are asking yourself how How fast does a electric scooter go up a steep hill ? the answer would be about 7-12mph depending on your weight and the incline on steep hills.
If you ever run out of juice on any electric scooter in fact, it’s always better to push as the pedals are electric assisted so if you do this manually unless you have monster legs it will be very hard to pedal.
The company has excellent customer support in the USA and has reasonably priced parts if you ever need to get any replacements.
OjO is an electric scooter that perfectly fills the distance between the average kick scooter that are not intended for streets. However with its wide range of functions, this is a perfect example of an electric scooter suitable for driving.
The OjO scooter has a solid aluminum frame, a headlight and taillight, a horn, disc brakes front and rear.
All components are watertight and the high quality tires for all motorcycle conditions increase stability and grip.
The 500-watt hub motor drives this smart scooter at speeds of up to 20 mph and can travel 25 miles on a single charge.
The list of incredible features also includes the built-in charger with a cable and retractable plug, not one but two waterproof bluetooth speakers that you can use to listen to music as you cruise around.
The jetson is an excellent bike that meets the street legal requirements.
Jetson also have very good returns policy. The downfall with is that it is hard to pedal like a bicycle with out the electric assist. but as mentioned before this is a problem with most electric bikes.
It’s powered by a 500 watt brushless hub motor with a gel lead acid battery. It can travel up to 20mph, and it can take you up to 20 miles on a single charge. The battery itself needs 8 hours to be fully recharged.
This electric scooter is one of the cheapest out there so if you are on a budget this is the one for you.
In most states the electric scooter can be classified as an “e-bike”, Which means you do not need to have driver’s license to ride it, and no registration or insurance. This usually means that the electric motor that powers the scooter itself is up to 750W, and the top speed you can go up to is 20mph on the motor only. If this was helpful share or leave a comment.