As electric scooters are becoming more popular, more people are asking the question: do you need a license to ride one? The answer is not always clear, as different states have different laws.
First, it is important to understand what makes a scooter street legal and what doesn’t. There are many different classifications for motorized bikes. They range from Class 1 up to Class 9. There are also motorcycles, mopeds and motor scooters. This article will specifically address electric scooters, as those are the ones people ask about most often.
E-scooter laws vary by state, so you need to determine if your e-scooter is street legal in the state that you plan on riding it. The classification that an electric scooter falls into is related to its top speed.
A regular electric scooter or bike has a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour (MPH), and in most cases, does not require registration. As such, it is considered a bicycle and can be used wherever bicycles are allowed. These bikes don’t have gasoline engines; they use electricity stored in batteries that are either rechargeable or replaceable.
Electric scooters that can travel faster than 20 MPH are classified as low-speed vehicles (LSV). These vehicles typically have four wheels and seat one to two people. Some LSVs look like an enclosed golf cart, while others may be smaller with only two wheels. Often LSVs resemble small motorcycles, with a gas tank, exhaust, and other motorcycle parts. In some states, LSVs require registration and a driver’s license to operate. Check with your state’s DMV website to find out if you need a special driver’s license for an electric scooter or small LSV.
In addition to registering the vehicle, drivers of fast electric scooters may need an endorsement on their licenses. Some states require that you wear a helmet and eye protection when riding, while others do not.
What is the process for acquiring a license?
The state’s department of motor vehicles will provide information on the requirements. Generally, you must be at least 14 years old to drive an electric scooter with a top speed of 20 MPH or less.
For LSVs, the licensing process will depend on your state’s laws. These vehicles can typically travel up to 35MPH, so most states require an inspection as well as a certificate of title, registration, and insurance.
Again, states have different laws on electric scooters. Make sure you check your state’s DMV website for more information on licensing requirements and where it is legal to ride.