This is a page where users can post the various laws that apply to Vespas and scootering in general in their area. For example, helmet and gear requirements, licensing process, vehicle registration process, traffic issues, sidewalk (pavement) parking, etc.
NOTE: This is not intended to serve as legal advice and may not be completely accurate or current. Contact your local vehicle licensing authority for current information.
In the United States, the laws regarding scooters (and motorcycles) are mostly a patchwork of state-by-state legislation, making the task of describing the legalities of riding a scooter fairly difficult. Here's a rundown of the high-points of state law as we know them.
A MOTORCYCLE is defined as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor.
A MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE is defined as every motorcycle and motor scooter:
- with a motor which produces NO MORE than five brake horse-power
- does NOT exceed 150 cubic centimeter engine displacement
- weighs LESS than 200 pounds fully equipped
All persons over the age of 16 must have a vaild drivers license with an "M" endorsement to operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.
Persons who are at least 14 years of age may apply for a restricted license to operate a motor-driven cycle only. This license will be valid for only four years and will carry a "B" restriction, in addition to the "M" endorsement.
Rules of the Road
Cyclists shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat and shall not carry any other person unless the cycle is designed and equipped with footpegs to carry more than one person.
Cyclists shall not operate a motorcycle while carrying any package, bundle or other article which prevents the cyclist from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless wearing approved protective headgear (helmet).
No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle without wearing shoes.
No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars more than fifteen (15) inches in height above the portion of the seat occupied by the operator.
No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between rows of vehicles. (i.e. no lane-splitting)
Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
The State of Alabama also ENCOURAGES cyclists to:
Use a plastic faceshield attached to an approved protective helmet to ensure protection for the face and eyes.
Wear appropriate protective clothing, including jacket, pants, gloves, boots, or sturdy shoes, to provide protection in a collision or in cold or wet weather.
and list of California Vehicle Codes at the Department of Motor Vehicles
Licensing, Registration, and Insurance
In California, all scooters, including all Vespa models, (even 50cc) require an M1 (Motorcycle) license. The only Piaggio-made scooter that can be operated without one is the MP3, which requires a class C (Car) license, at this time. All scooters (even 50cc) must be registered each year and carry liability insurance, at a minimum.
Helmets are required by law and apply to all riders while operating a scooter on a public road in California. This applies to the MP3 as well.
Lane splitting (riding between cars, whether moving or stopped) is
legal. There are literally no laws in the California Vehicle Code prohibiting it. Instead, we have a single statement from the California Highway Patrol:
Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.
The CHP has finally
provided guidelines regarding what "safe and prudent" means, but it is still entirely up to the judgement of the witnessing officer.
It is never legal for scooterists (even 50cc) in California to use bike lanes, except in the last 200 feet before making a right turn. See CVC 21209
Definitions - Mopeds and Scooters
The definition of a moped (Motorized Bicycle) under Colorado law is a two-wheeled vehicle that has an engine capacity of under 50cc, an automatic transmission, and cannot go more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface.
Colorado law does not differentiate between mopeds and scooters meeting the above requirements, most notably the 50cc displacement rule.
Definitions - Motorcycles and Scooters
The definition of a motorcycle under Colorado law is a two-wheeled vehicle that does have an engine capacity of over 50cc.
Colorado law does not differentiate between motorcycles and scooters meeting the above requirements, most notably the 50cc displacement rule.
You do not need a motorcycle endorsement to ride a scooter less than 50cc, but you do need a valid driver's license.
Riding a motorcycle, or scooter over 50cc, does require a valid driver's license and a "M" (Motorcycle) endorsement.
Registering your Scooter - under 50cc
You'll need the following:
A completed and signed application for "motorized bicycle" registration.
You must complete an Affidavit of Cylinder Capacity located on the second page of the application. Cylinder capacity cannot exceed 50ccs for scooter registration.
Proof of ownership. This can be a bill of sale, Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO), or an affidavit of ownership.
Payment of $5.25 (as of 2007).
Registering your Motorcycle - over 50cc
Motorcycles have the same registration requirements as other motorvehicles. You must have a title, identification, and proof of insurance.
Colorado doesn't require scooter (under 50cc) insurance.
Colorado requires insurance for Motorcycles.
Colorado doesn't require motorcyclists or scooterists to wear helmets.
Eye protection is required.
Colorado does require motorcyclists, motorized bicycle riders, and scooterists to obey all normal traffic laws.
District of Columbia
Class E Driver License
: Any non-commercial motor vehicles with Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) less than 26,001 pounds, including passenger cars, 15 passenger vans including the driver, trucks or recreational vehicles and two or three wheel motor vehicles 50 cc or less, such as mopeds or small scooters.
For those authorized to operate motorcycle, the following abbreviation will appear on the front of the driver license under the expiration date: MOTORCYCLE ALSO or MOTORCYCLE ONLY.
Starting July 1 2008, new motorcyclists must take and pass the Basic Rider Course through the Florida Rider Trainer Program before they can have the motorcycle endorsement added to their license, per Section 322.12(5)(a)., Florida Statutes.
After July 1 of 2008, everyone will have to take the Basic Rider Course
and pass the test, no matter their age. Upon successful completion, the sponsor will submit the pass results electronically to the department records. Upon receiving the results, the applicant will be processed for a motorcycle endorsement.
Information for registering motorcycles and mopeds is contained in the DMV Procedures Manual, procedure number RS-61 (pdf)
. All motorcycles, mopeds and disability access vehicles are issued a regular motorcycle style license plate. These license plates must be renewed annually.
Motorcycles (not mopeds) as defined in 320.01(27)
, Florida Statutes, are titled and
registered pursuant to s. 319.20, Florida Statutes.
What are Scooters and Mopeds
? Scooters are usually two-wheel motorcycle-type motor vehicles 50 cc or less or 2 brake horsepower or less gas engines that have automatic transmissions. Mopeds also have 50 cc or less engines with two wheels, but have pedals and may be operated solely by human power.
Is insurance required for motorcycles in Florida
Under certain circumstances Yes. Insurance is not required to register motorcycles as with four-wheel motor vehicles. However, if a motorcycle operator is charged in a crash with injuries, then the owner or owner/operator is financially responsible for bodily injuries and property damage to others. If no liability coverage was in effect, then bodily injury/property damage liability insurance must be purchased and kept for three years to avoid license and tag/registration suspension or to reinstate license and tag/registration after suspension.
What about motorcycle passenger insurance?
If you plan to carry passengers it is a good idea to ask your insurance carrier about the need for carrying passenger insurance coverage.
Is there a minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers?
Florida law does not address a minimum age for passengers. However, other laws may apply such as endangering a minor.
Motorcycle Helmet Exemption
Only those individuals who are:
* 21 years of age or older and
* covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits
Georgia requires a motorcycle license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, class appropriate. An 'M' endorsement is required to operate a motorcycle or tricycle on Georgia roads. Mopeds are regulated a bit differently in Georgia. They are defined as motor-driven vehicles that will not exceed 30mph and do not require clutching or shifting. A license tag is not required on a moped. You are allowed to drive a moped at 15 years of age with a learner's permit, or older with a driver's license, instructional permit, or limited permit. A motorcyle helmet is required, and all traffic laws must be obeyed. Mopeds are not permitted on limited-access highways or roadways where the minimum speed is greater than 35mph―this includes interstates. Georgia does support the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course as an alternative to testing for the 'M' Endorsement.
Any vehicle to be used on public roads requires registration and a tag, with the exception of a moped. Mopeds are regulated a bit differently in Georgia. They are defined as motor-driven vehicles that will not exceed 30mph and do not require clutching or shifting. A license tag is not required on a moped. You are allowed to drive a moped at 15 years of age with a learner's permit, or older with a driver's license, instructional permit, or limited permit. A motorcyle helmet is required, and all traffic laws must be obeyed. Mopeds are not permitted on limited-access highways or roadways where the minimum speed is greater than 35mph―this includes interstates.
33-7-11 (a)(1) No automobile liability policy or motor vehicle liability policy shall be issued ... unless it contains an endorsement or provisions undertaking to pay the insured all sums which said insured shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle, within limits exclusive of interests and costs which at the option of the insured shall be: (A) Not less than $25,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to such limit for one person, $50,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and $25,000.00 because of injury to or destruction of property...
40-6-315 Required by law. (a) No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of motor vehicle safety.
40-6-312 (b) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. (c) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
Enforcement in Georgia is a spotty at best, and the interpretation of what constitutes a moped is poorly understood even among law enforcement in Georgia. If you intend on riding a vehicle classified as a moped in Georgia, carry a printed copy of the moped definition and law on the bike at all times to minimize risk of wrongful prosecution. Is a Georgia Title Required for My Vehicle?
and Applying for a Motorcycle License
Scooters Under 50cc
Scooters under 50cc need no tag, no insurance, and no motorcycle license. They are classified as "motor scooters" which are "motorized vehicles" under the Transportation Article of Maryland Code but not "motor vehicles." Either a regular drivers license or a scooter permit is required. No helmet is required except for passengers under 16 years old. Motor scootors must be ridden in the shoulder lane unless it is unsafe. They may be parked on the sidewalk if they do not obstruct pedestrian traffic. They may be chained to parking meters on the sidewalk but not near fire hydrants or street corners. HOWEVER, in Baltimore City only, motorized vehicles with no tag are illegal and will be impounded. The law banning 50cc scooters in Baltimore is actually directed at dirt bikes and quads used by criminal elements. Police enforcement of law as it pertains to 50cc scooters is either non-existent or close to non-existent. City council is looking to amend law to narrow it to specifically target dirt bikes and quads and exclude scooters.
Scooters 50cc and Up
Scooters 50cc and above are motorcycles. Used motor vehicles, including motorcycles, must pass a state inspection when they are sold before they can be tagged by the new owner. Vehicles under 70cc are illegal on roads with posted speed limits above 50 mph. Helmets are required for all motorcycle riders and passengers, period. As of 2008, the state Code was revised to include 3-wheelers as motorcycles. Lane-splitting is illegal but lane-sharing by 2 scooters seems to be ignored by most law enforcement.
A motorized bike (moped) is a pedal bicycle with a helper motor, electric or gas-powered,
and is exempt from inspection requirements.
Vehicles without pedals cannot be registered as mopeds.
Scooters and Motorcycles
You need 6 points of ID for any NJ MVC transaction or you will not be able to complete it!
All residents operating a motorcycle in New Jersey must have
a motorcycle endorsement on their existing driver license or a separate motorcycle license.
A motorcycle permit is required before obtaining the endorsement or motorcycle license.
For details, see: Getting a NJ Motorcycle License
All scooters must be registered as motorcycles
To title or register your motorcycle, visit an MVC Agency with proof of insurance, title and registration fee payment and one of the following:
* Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MSO or MCO)
* New Jersey or out-of-state title
* Registration and a notarized bill-of-sale from the previous owner with vehicle description and sale price (motorcycles from non-titled states only)
If the manufacturer does not appear on the "approved list" (see Important NJ Links), you must also provide:
* A color photo of the NHTSA label
* A color photo of the EPA Noise Emissions label**
* A color photo of the EPA Exhaust Emissions label**
* A color photo of the side of the motorcycle
* Proof of insurance and pay the title and registration fee
The NJ MVC will then check all of this information with the Federal authorities before giving you a registration and title.
Approved helmets come in three types: one-half, three-quarter and full face.
Meet U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Standard (FMVSS) 218.
Be equipped with a chinstrap and have at least four square inches of red, amber or white reflectorized tape on each side.
Lack obvious defects, such as cracks, loose padding or frayed straps.
Visors that are integral with the helmet (such as on fullface helmets) are assumed by the state to be compliant with federal safety law.
All other eyewear must be stamped with the ANSI safety standard of Z87.1.
To pass inspection, you must have:
License plates with current decal and current registration
Proof of insurance
Valid motorcycle driver license
During motorcycle/scooter inspections, they check your safety gear first and you can fail the inspection for:
* a non-fused DOT marking on your helmet
* eyewear that is not stamped Z87.1
* not having the required reflective material on your helmet
Lane Splitting / Sharing
Lane splitting is not permitted in New Jersey.
Mopeds and Scooters up to 50cc
You must be 16 years of age or older. No Motorcycle endorsement is required. You must have a restricted Moped Class C license or any other valid license to operate. Must be speed limited to 30MPH max, or else is classed as an over 50cc M/C. If equipped with pedals, a moped may use a bike lane while being pedaled. No passengers are allowed in this class.
Scooters and Motorcycles over 50cc
You must be 16 years of age or older. A motorcycle endorsement is required. A learner's permit allows operation of a motorcycle or scooter when under the direct supervision of a licensed motorcycle rider over the age of 21.
Wearing a DOT approved helmet is compulsory for all motorcycles and mopeds.
Insurance is compulsory for all motorcycles and mopeds. (25/50/10)
Lane Splitting / Sharing
Lane splitting is not permitted in Oregon. Motorcycles may ride two across in a lane, but this practice is not recommended.
Licensing, Registration, and Insurance
Compulsory Liability (Minimum Limits)(15/30/5)
Helmets are optional for a person 21 years of age or older who either has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for not less than two full calendar years or has completed a motorcycle rider safety course approved by the department or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The passenger if the passenger is 21 years of age or older.
The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. In other words, no lane sharing, splitting, or filtering.
Effective September 1, 1997, persons at least 21 years old are exempt from wearing a motorcycle helmet if they:
- have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course, or
- are covered by a health insurance plan providing the person with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding upon a motorcycle.
If a helmet is worn it must be DOT certified.
A scooter is not a legal vehicle classification so it will need to be registered as either a moped or motorcycle and you will be require to have a class M license (with or without the "K" restriction). By legal definition a moped must meet all three of the following criteria and be on our online Certified Moped List (see link below) prior to registration. If the moped in question meets the criteria, but is not on our list it may be added by following the directions on our website for submitting a Moped Affidavit (see link below). If a two-wheeled vehicle does not meet all three criteria it must be registered as a motorcycle.
- cannot attain a speed more than 30 miles per hour
- has a piston displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less and
- does not require the operator to shift gears
The operator of a motorcycle on a public highway must hold a valid motorcycle license (Class M driver license). This requirement also applies to operators of motor-driven cycles and mopeds.
To receive a license to operate a motorcycle, applicants must pass a written test covering traffic laws pertaining to motorcycles and a road test. The road test portion of the license may be waived if you complete the basic MSF course and provide proof of completion.
Texas Department of Safety Motorcycle Operator's Manual:
In Utah it is illegal to even lean over a double yellow line. Just ask anyone who rode the 2008 Cannonball.
of motorcycle laws, by state
List of links
to DMV/DOT and similar departments for each state
In the United Kingdom, at the age of 17 you may ride a scooter up to 125 cc with L plates on either a provisional or full car licence, but you must validate this part of your licence by undertaking Complusory Basic Training.
Compulsory Basic Training is a one day course which is available from most motorcycle schools. After receiving a passing certificate, you may ride for two years on L plates before the certificate expires. After that, you may renew your certificate by undertaking the course again, or taking the full test so that you can ride without L plates, and machines at a higher capacity of 125cc.
The current full motorcycle test in the UK is being revised. You are advised to contact your local motorcycle school to assess your training needs. Before undergoing any practical training for your full test, you will need to pass a basic theory test of road laws, more details of this test are available from the following link Theory Test
Helmets are compulsory in all states and territories of Australia. Helmets must be Australian Standards (AS) approved and bear the AS sticker which must not be removed from the helmet after purchase.
Israel has a three tiered MC licensing system; A, A1 and A2.
A2 is for 125cc and smaller. kids from 16 - 18 are restricted to this license and must pass the Israeli equivalent of the MSF course on a scooter or MC and then pass the DMV theory and road test.
A1 is for anything up to 500cc. Anyone 18 or older can apply for this but must pass the Israeli equivalent of the MSF course on a geared MC and then pass the DMV theory and road test.
A is an unrestricted MC license that anyone 19 or older can apply for after they have held a clean A1 license for at least one year. This requires passing a new DMV road test on a geared MC of at least 500cc.
Helmets are compulsory for both rider and passengers in all areas and territories of Israel. Although Israeli law requires that all helmets adhere to either the European or American DOT standard, in practice many helmets seen on the roads here, especially 'brain bucket' half helmets, are Asian imports with no such standard.
Many municipalities in Israel have designated motorcycle/scooter parking areas in commercial areas, but it is very common to see both motorcycles and scooters parked on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas. There seems to be no legal allowance for this arrangement, but so long as pedestrain traffic is not blocked it is almost unheard of police or traffic agents issuing tickets.
It is worth noting that although legal, it is not common to see PTWs parked in regular parking spots unless no alternative PTW parking or sidewalk area is availible.
Lane splitting is legal in Israel and is nearly universally practiced. Drivers of cars are used to seeing PTWers filtering at intersections and in traffic jams and are legally required to check for PTWers before opening doors or extending arms from windows.