Do you know there are electric scooter laws in the US covering almost every aspect of scooter riding?
Over the last few years, the electric scooter industry has undergone a massive explosion in popularity and sales. As e-scooters establish themselves as a convenient and zero-carbon urban mobility solution, more and more people are considering trading their bulky, smoky vehicles for this ride of the future!
However, many interested buyers or even people who own e-scooters do not know electric scooter laws in their country. This is why we have decided to bring you all the legal technicalities of using electric scooters in the United States.
In this detailed guide, we will discuss electric scooter laws in the US for all of its 50 states. So, sit back and read on as we take you through all the important legal details and policies regarding electric kickscooters!
Electric Scooter Laws by State
For your convenience, we have divided this guide into two groups; states that require a license and/or registration for operating electric scooters and states that do not. Also, we have left out Pennsylvania since it’s the only US state that has effectively banned electric scooters. So, here are the electric scooter laws in the rest of the 49 states.
States that Don’t Require License and/or Registration
Arizona Electric Scooter Laws
You will see throughout this article that the definition of an electric scooter is either heavily debated or doesn’t formally exist. Different states classify scooters in different ways – for example, in Arizona, an electric scooter falls within the same category as a bike.
Electric scooters are therefore legal in Arizona. However, the state has some restrictions on the construction of the scooter, such as:
- It must have handlebars
- The net weight of the scooter must not exceed 34kg (75 pounds)
- The rider must not go faster than 32km/h (20 mph)
If you’ve got all of that sorted out, you are free to ride your electric scooter in Arizona with no need for a license, insurance, or registration whatsoever.
Delaware Electric Scooter Laws
Next up, we have Delaware. Depending upon the type of your motor-driven vehicle, Delaware has different rules. Since the main subject of this guide is electric scooters, let’s look at Delaware’s legal policies regarding them first.
The state defines a motorized scooter as follows.
- Must have two wheels
- Must have a chassis/standing floorboard close to the road
- Operated by standing or sitting on it
- Features handlebars or a throttle/brake controlled by your hand
- Must be propelled through a motor without human intervention
Motor-driven vehicles with the attributes described above do not fall under the category of motorcycles; therefore, you do not need to register them to the Delaware DMV. Furthermore, other vehicles such as mopeds or tripeds also have a separate class.
With that being said, if you have a low-end scooter, it may be classified as what Delaware DMV refers to as a minibike. The criteria for this class are given below.
- Must have a wheel diameter of fewer than 10 inches
- Must be shorter than 40 inches in length
- Has an engine displacement smaller than 45cc
- The driver’s seat is less than 25 inches away from the ground
So, if you find that your scooter checks these boxes, then you have a minibike on your hands. Similar to scooter regulations, you do not need to register minibikes either.
District of Columbia / Washington D.C. Electric Scooter Laws
District of Columbia defines electric scooters as PMDs or ‘personal mobility devices’ designed to transport only one person. Since the DC laws don’t group them with other motor vehicles (motorcycles and cars), e-scooters are exempted from all kinds of registration, licensing, or insurance requirements.
However, there’s a minimum riding age of 16 years, the speed of riders cannot exceed 10 mph, and scooters are not allowed on sidewalks in the central business district. Moreover, riders cannot wear headphones.
In the case of shared scooters, riders are required to wear helmets if they’re under 18 and lock the scooters to city infrastructure (like poles or racks) when parked.
Florida Electric Scooter Laws
When it comes to electric scooter laws, Florida is very straightforward. It has a short definition of what electric scooters are and doesn’t require much from the riders. This is how Florida defines an electric scooter.
- It must not have a saddle or driver’s seat
- It must travel on a maximum of 3 wheels
- And, it does not go any faster than 32km/h (20mph)
You are not required to have your electric scooter registered with the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department. Furthermore, you are not allowed to operate it on sidewalks or public roadways. If you’ve got all that covered, you’re good to go and take your electric scooter out for a spin – with no legal trouble whatsoever.
Idaho Electric Scooter Laws
Idaho’s legal policies concerning electric scooters can be very confusing, as there is no formal distinction between them or motorcycles. Scooters and other motor-driven vehicles are lumped together into what’s referred to as motorized toys.
If you have a scooter that does not match the following criteria that describe motorcycles, you have a motorized toy.
- Has 50cc engine displacement
- Features 2 wheels for travel
- Self-propelled without human assistance
If you own an electric scooter that does not fit in with the aforementioned criteria, you are unfortunately not allowed to operate it on public roads. Idaho State considers motorized toys to be “not manufactured for public roads”; therefore, there is no requirement of registration or licenses. However, if you’re unsure about what kind of a motor-driven vehicle you have, we encourage you to contact your local DMV office to find out.
Minnesota Electric Scooter Laws
Minnesota clearly defines electric scooters as follows.
- Weighs about 10kg
- Has motor of 100-750W
- Doesn’t go faster than 48km/h
You must be at least 12 years old to operate an electric scooter and wear a helmet until you turn 18.
Maine Electric Scooter Laws
Maine is perhaps the most straightforward state when it comes to explicitly defining scooters.
- Must have 2 or a maximum of 3 wheels, with a diameter of 10 inches
- Features a 25 cc or less gas motor or a 750W electric motor
Furthermore, you can operate your electric scooter without needing any sort of license or permit at all. Even better, you won’t even have to register it. However, the scooter must have a tail and front light that is noticeable from 200 feet away. Lastly, you are not allowed to ride faster than 32 km/h (20mph).
Michigan Electric Scooter Laws
Michigan defines electric scooters as electric skateboards that:
- Have a floorboard
- Feature a motor with maximum 2500W power output
- Don’t go faster than 40 km/h
The scooter must have front lights noticeable from 500 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from as far as 600 feet.
Mississippi Electric Scooter Laws
Mississippi has amended its law to define “standup” electric scooters as follows.
- Must weigh less than 45kg (100lb)
- Features a floorboard
- Has 2 or 3 wheels with an electric motor for propulsion
The state does not allow riders to go faster than 32 km/h or 20mph. The rest of the rules are the same as the rules for bicycles.
Montana Electric Scooter Laws
Montana also classifies electric scooters as motorized bicycles. Riders are obliged to follow the rules below.
- Do not drive on sidewalks
- Give a verbal warning to pedestrians before passing them
- Obey all normal traffic laws
Nebraska Electric Scooter Laws
Nebraska currently does not have formal legislative policies concerning electric scooters. Following are some rules that are compulsory to follow nonetheless.
- Do not operate your scooter on sidewalks
- Obey standard laws
No registration is required for electric scooters.
Nevada Electric Scooter Laws
Nevada allows e-scooters, provided that they:
- Must not weigh more than 45 kg (100lb)
- Must not exceed 32 km/h
Furthermore, riders must be at least 16 years of age.
New Hampshire Electric Scooter Laws
New Hampshire categorizes electric scooters as e-bikes; therefore, all the rules that apply to bicycles also apply to e-scooters. The law states that electric scooters must have a braking mechanism.
The standard traffic laws also apply. Furthermore, you must be 16 years or older to operate an electric scooter.
New Jersey Electric Scooter Laws
New Jersey has the following laws associated with electric scooters:
- Must not exceed 32 km/h (20mph)
- All standard bicycle laws apply
- Must not block pedestrians when parked on sidewalks
Everyone under 17 years of age must wear a helmet. No registration or license is required for electric scooters.
New Mexico Electric Scooter Laws
Unfortunately, there are no state-level, formal legislative policies about electric scooters in New Mexico. Local governments are allowed to make rules for their regions; therefore, we recommend you inquire your local authorities about regulations concerning e-scooters.
New York Electric Scooter Laws
New York electric scooter laws allow you to legally ride an e-scooter. However, the NYC electric scooter laws mandate the following things.
- The e-scooters must have handlebars
- They must not go faster than 24 km/h or 48 km/h in bike lanes
- Helmets are mandatory for 16 and 17-year-olds
North Dakota Electric Scooter Laws
Due to a lack of official laws concerning electric scooters specifically, they are grouped with mopeds. North Dakota does not allow mopeds to be driven on sidewalks, and a helmet is required for riders younger than 18. Your electric scooter must also have breaks, a rear and front light.
Ohio Electric Scooter Laws
As long as your electric scooter weighs less than 45 kg (100 lb) and doesn’t exceed 32 km/h (20 mph) on the road, it is legal. You also do not need any license or registration to operate an e-scooter in Ohio.
Oklahoma Electric Scooter Laws
Oklahoma does not allow operating an electric scooter on sidewalks and has strict laws against parking in odd places. All standard traffic rules apply to electric scooters as well. You are free to ride your electric scooter in bike lanes and streets.
Oregon Electric Scooter Laws
Much like the other States, Oregon has only a brief set of regulations about electric scooters. Using turn or hand signals is mandatory. E-scooters are allowed on roadways but prohibited on highways. All riders, regardless of their age, are required to wear helmets.
Rhode Island Electric Scooter Laws
Rhode Island has left it to local governments to decide what goes and what doesn’t in terms of electric scooters. Some regions require registration, licensing, and ID – others don’t. It is best to check with your local authorities and see how it works around in your area.
South Carolina Electric Scooter Laws
Similar to Rhode Island, South Carolina has no formal state-level legislation concerning e-scooters. Some cities like Columbia and Charleston have banned electric scooters completely. It is advised to confirm the legal situation with your local authorities.
Tennessee Electric Scooter Laws
Tennessee categorizes electric scooters as e-bikes. Therefore, they must not weigh more than 45 kilos (100 lb) or go faster than 32 km/h. Front and rear lights, in addition to brakes, are also mandatory.
Texas Electric Scooter Laws
Texas clearly defines its laws for electric scooters by stating that they must not have motor power greater than 750W. The speed limit is 56 km/h (35 mph), and there is no registration or license required.
Utah Electric Scooter Laws
Utah classifies electric scooters as motorized bicycles. Therefore, the same laws and regulations apply. You cannot exceed the speed limit of 24 km/h. Furthermore, Utah requires guardian/parent supervision for riders younger than 15.
Vermont Electric Scooter Laws
In Vermont, most of the laws are made by local governments. However, you are not allowed to ride on sidewalks anywhere in the state.
Virginia Electric Scooter Laws
Virginia limits the vehicle net weight to 45 kg (100 lb) and the speed limit to 32 km/h (20mph). The minimum age for riding an electric scooter is 14. Please note that riding on highways is illegal.
Washington Electric Scooter Laws
Washington puts the speed limit at 24 km/h and requires the rider to be at least 16 years old. Reflectors are mandatory if you’re riding your electric scooter at night.
Wisconsin Electric Scooter Laws
Wisconsin follows along the same path as several other states when it comes to e-scooter laws. The vehicle weight must be 45 kg or lower, and the speed limit is 32 km/h. Riding on sidewalks is illegal.
Wyoming Electric Scooter Laws
While Wyoming doesn’t explicitly define laws for electric scooters, it is made apparent that the laws of electric skateboards and e-bikes apply to e-scooters as well. You will not need a license or registration for operating an electric scooter in Wyoming.
States that Require License and/or Registration
Alabama Electric Scooter Laws
Like Arizona, Alabama also categorizes electric scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles the same way. They are considered as “motor-driven vehicles” and thus share the same laws. However, since the state has given local governments the authority on developing these laws further, the policies may vary.
Unfortunately, the law here isn’t as lenient as in Arizona when it comes to electric scooters. If you are 16 years of age or older, you will need a full motorcycle license that allows you to operate these motor-driven vehicles.
If you’re younger, for instance, say 14 years old, you can apply for a “B”-restricted license at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which you will have to renew every 4 years.
Missouri Electric Scooter Laws
In Missouri, electric scooter riders must follow the rules given below.
- Only drive on roadways and not on sidewalks
- Do not drive on highways
- Follow the indicated speed limit
- Must be 18 and hold a valid driver’s license
Alaska Electric Scooter Laws
In Alaska, there are detailed laws about motor-driven vehicles. There are two classes of licenses that one can get; one is the M1 and the other M2. Let’s look at both so we can help you figure out which one is right for you.
The Class M1 license allows you to operate more types of motor vehicles. With this license, you can legally operate motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, or any kind of motor-driven vehicle. You can ride a motorcycle with a horsepower of more than 50cc, and other motorized scooters with engine displacement less than 50cc.
On the other hand, we have a Class M2 permit. This one allows people of 14 or 15 years of age to legally ride motorized scooters, mopeds, etc. However, you can only operate motor-driven vehicles with less than 50cc engine displacement with this license. To get the permit, you can either complete a course by Motorcycle Safety Foundation or complete 3 tests. Two of these tests are of written knowledge, and the last one is a road test.
Massachusetts Electric Scooter Laws
Massachusetts defines a scooter as a sitting or standing ride that:
- Features 2 or at most 3 wheels
- Has handlebars
- Comes with gas/electricity-powered motor for propulsion
There’s no need to register your e-scooter in this state, simply get a learner’s permit or a driver’s license, and you’re good to go.
Illinois Electric Scooter Laws
Thankfully, Illinois has an extensive and easy-to-follow rulebook when it comes to electric scooters. Let’s see how they define it.
- Can go as fast as 32 km/h (20 mph) but no faster than 48 km/h (30 mph) in under an hour
- Features a motor with a maximum power output of 2 horsepower
- Can be possibly powered like a motorcycle or pedaled on foot
- Features a system that doesn’t require the rider to shift gears
If your electric scooter deviates from the aforementioned rules, then it will be considered as a motorcycle, and you will need proper registration and licensing. However, even if it doesn’t, you still need to have a driver’s license (any kind) and register the motor-driven vehicle to your local Illinois DMV office.
Following are some compulsory safety measures the state has imposed on scooter riders.
- Must feature a headlight visible from 500 feet away
- Must have a tail light visible from 100-600 feet away
Arkansas Electric Scooter Laws
Arkansas allows its citizens to operate motor-driven vehicles such as electric scooters, motorcycles, and mopeds based on two different licenses – Class M and MD.
Class MD is for drivers of ages ranging from 14 to 16 years. Arkansas Office of Driver Services (ODS) will provide you with this license or a certificate if you meet all the necessary qualifications. You must submit the relevant documents, testing, and registration fee first. Furthermore, you will have to register your electric scooter the same way as one registers a regular motorcycle. The Class MD license is valid for 1 year only without extension; therefore, you are also obliged to dutifully renew it as you continue operating your scooter.
A Class MB permit is also an option for those that want to operate a small motorized bike with an engine displacement of fewer than 50cc. However, if you already have a Class MD or Class M license, you don’t need this one. The method of application is the same as described earlier for Class MD. This one expires after one becomes 16 years old.
Maryland Electric Scooter Laws
Maryland lumps electric scooters together with bicycles, stating that they:
- Must feature 2 or maximum 3 wheels, at least one of which has a diameter of 10 inches
- Feature no pedals
Since they are referred to as bicycles, you must also follow all the same rules as cyclists. Furthermore, you are legally allowed to operate a motor scooter with any driver’s license.
Indiana Electric Scooter Laws
Indiana groups scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles in the same category, known as motor-driven cycles. However, there are different classes of these motor-driven cycles (A and B) and different rules and regulations that apply. Indiana categorizes motor-driven cycles as follows.
- Class A:
- Equipped with an engine that produces a maximum of 5 hp brake power
- Has at most 3 wheels in contact with the ground
- Has a saddle or seat for the rider to sit on
- Class B:
- Has a maximum engine displacement of 50 cubic centimeters
- Has at most 3 wheels in contact with the ground
- Equipped with a saddle or seat for the rider to sit on
Class A and Class B both have registration and licensing requirements. Furthermore, there are also some obligatory rules that the operator has to follow.
Owners of motor-driven cycles are obligated to register their vehicles to the Indiana DMV. Proof of ownership, in addition to other important documents, is required for registration. Furthermore, there is a registration fee and vehicle excise tax that the rider has to pay.
California Electric Scooter Laws
Let’s now look at electric scooter laws in California. This state does a good job of nicely distinguishing between motorcycles, mopeds, and electric scooters. California defines an electric scooter as having the following attributes.
- Two wheels
- Electric Motor
- A floorboard for standing while riding
- Optional driving seat
The optional driving seat, however, must not restrict the rider from operating the electric scooter while riding. Furthermore, it must not enable or propose human propulsion. So, a scooter that fulfills those legal demands is good to go in California.
With that being said, you do need a license for operating your scooter. Luckily, if you have a valid California driving license at all, you can legally operate a motorized scooter. You won’t even have to register the scooter with the CA DMV.
North Carolina Electric Scooter Laws
North Carolina considers electric scooters exactly like normal vehicles. Therefore, they must be registered, and you need a license to operate them. Furthermore, you are not allowed to operate them on streets exceeding 32 km/h of speed.
Colorado Electric Scooter Laws
The legal policies regarding electric scooters in Colorado are relatively complicated. There are two classifications of electric vehicles. One of them is low-power electric scooters, and the other is low-speed electric vehicles. Let’s see what the two mean and how they are different.
Low-power electric scooters are defined as vehicles that are, first of all, self-propelled. They have at most 3 wheels and feature no manual clutch. Furthermore, low-power electric scooters must either be powered by internal combustion through a cylinder with a maximum capacity of 50cc, or a battery with a capacity of 4476W.
Colorado does not allow low-power electric scooters to be operated on sidewalks, any interstate, or limited access roads except in areas where they are explicitly allowed. You can, however, ride your electric scooter in bike lanes or roadways. Helmets are mandatory for everyone younger than 18 years – that applies to passengers as well. Lastly, it is important to note that low-power electric scooters do not include motorized bicycles.
Whether you’re an adult or a teenager, the state requires only a basic license for operating low-power scooters. You can get a Class R permit from your local DMV office. Lastly, you will need to insure and register your electric scooter. Once everything is cleared, you will get a registration decal that lasts for 3 years.
Louisiana Electric Scooter Laws
Louisiana refers to scooters and mopeds as motorized bikes. Following are the criteria for a vehicle to be a motorized bike.
- Can be propelled by a motor, human or both
- Equipped with a maximum 1.5 brake horsepower
- Must not exceed 50 cc
- Features automatic transmission
- Has a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25mph)
You must be 15 years old with a driver’s license to operate a scooter in Louisiana. Furthermore, you would also have to register it with the Louisiana vehicle department.
Connecticut Electric Scooter Laws
Connecticut has its own definition for an electric scooter – a motor-driven vehicle that features an engine displacement less than 50cc and a 26-inch or more seat height. Let’s see what the rest of the regulations are.
A Class D permit which is a basic driver’s license is required for both adult and teen drivers. You can acquire this license from your local DMV office if you meet the necessary qualifications. Moreover, there is no need to register your electric scooter, moped, or any motor-driven vehicle officially. Riders are not allowed to take their scooters onto limited-access highways, sidewalks, or turnpikes. In most cases, you should be riding in the right lane.
The state has two other motor-driven vehicle classifications, namely, pocket bikes and three-wheeled vehicles. If your scooter is tiny in the sense that it has a seat height of fewer than 26 inches, then it counts as a pocket bike. Connecticut does not require registration of these motor-driven cycles, and you are not allowed to operate them on highways or sidewalks.
Iowa Electric Scooter Laws
The Motor Vehicle Division of Iowa has registration and license requirements for electric scooters and everything alike. But first, let’s see how an electric scooter is defined in Iowa. It must:
- Have a saddle or seat for the rider
- Travel on 3 or fewer wheels
Everything other than these two specifications is the same as that for motorcycles. The licensing and registration process for electric scooters is, therefore, also the same as other motor-driven vehicles.
Georgia Electric Scooter Laws
The trend of changing definitions of electric scooters continues, as Georgia has its own definition as well. Let’s see how Georgia’s Department of Driving Services deals with electric scooters.
Here, minibikes, electric scooters, and motorcycles are grouped into one entity, and the same rules apply to all of them. Following is the formal definition of this classification.
- Features a saddle or seat for the rider to sit on
- Has a greater engine displacement than 51cc
- Travels on at most three wheels
In Georgia, you need to register your motor-driven vehicle with the Department of Driving Services (DDS) before you can legally operate it. Furthermore, you need a Class M instructional permit which you can get from your nearest local DMV office. Registration is carried out the same way as for any other vehicle in Georgia, so once you’ve got all the qualifications sorted out, you’re well on your way to riding your scooter freely and legally in Georgia.
Hawaii Electric Scooter Laws
Next up, we have Hawaii. This State does not clearly define an electric scooter; rather, it defines what it’s not – a moped. Following are the criteria that would categorize a motor-driven vehicle as a moped, and a motor scooter is considered as what a moped is not – coupled with the fact that it does not exceed the 5 horsepower limit.
- Travels on 2 or a maximum of 3 wheels
- Features a motor with a power output of no more than 2 hp and a maximum engine displacement of 50 cc
- Does not go faster than 48 km/h (30 mph) on flat surfaces
So, that’s what an electric scooter is not. Furthermore, you must register and insure your motor-driven vehicle with the Hawaiian DMV department. You must have a Class 2 license, which follows all the same procedures and includes the same tests as those for a normal motorcycle license.
Additionally, there are some safety measures that you are obliged to take. These are given below.
- You must wear a helmet if you are 18 years old or younger. The helmet must have a chin strap as well.
- You must wear safety goggles or install a face shield in your scooter if it doesn’t come with a windshield.
- You are not allowed to ride any sort of motor-driven vehicle if you are 7 years old or younger.
Kansas Electric Scooter Laws
When it comes to electric scooter laws and regulations, Kansas and Indiana are quite similar. Kansas refers to scooters and motorcycles as motor-driven cycles, and the only distinguishing factor is that motor-driven cycles have a maximum power output of 5 horsepower.
Because they have much higher power outputs, the Kansas Division of Vehicles classifies scooters and motorcycles differently than mopeds. However, due to this grouping of motor-driven cycles, electric scooter users are obliged to get licensed and register their vehicles to legally operate them.
Kentucky Electric Scooter Laws
Unfortunately, Kentucky only has a formal definition for mopeds and does not officially classify electric scooters or scooters in general. We will describe what a moped is considered to be, and you can check if your electric scooter falls in the same category or not.
- Must have an engine with 2 hp brake power
- Features automatic transmission so the rider does not need to manually shift gears, etc
- Must not go faster than 48 km/h (30 mph)
If your electric scooter does not fall in the aforementioned category, you have what’s known as a motor-driven cycle in Kentucky. These vehicles are not allowed to be operated on public roadways, sadly. If it does fulfill the criteria given above, then you do not need to register it. However, some important credentials are necessary, which is a license that is available for only ages 16 years or older.
And, that was it!
In this guide, we tried to cover all details concerning electric scooter laws in the US. However, it must be noted that your local laws and policies are changing all the time, so it is best to confirm them with your local transportation authorities.
Hopefully, it has been an informative read for you!