As we all know, electric scooters were invented to make our travel easy and comfortable. With electric scooters you don’t need to worry about the traffic on the road, that’s why they are increasing their popularity day by day.
On the other hand, due to covid-19, you cannot travel on public transport, so the best alternative is an electric scooter. And this is the second reason behind the electric scooter’s popularity these days.
But the question arises here, is it legal to use an electric scooter?
The question is increasingly being asked by many people. There are a number of benefits to micro-mobility, including the promise of a cleaner planet, more satisfying commutes, and more upward social mobility, in addition to time and money savings. However, regulators are struggling to keep up with this pace of innovation.
So here is the 2021 comprehensive guide to electric scooter laws. Hopefully, people get all the information, which is our main purpose.
There must be a better distinction between city and state scooter regulations, between regulations applying to electric scooters as opposed to other form factors (like mopeds) used in place of specific scooter regulations, and between the law that applies to scooters used for sharing and the types of rules that apply to all scooters. The legislation for each scooter category (sidewalks/helmets/etc.) has also been summarized.
It has been challenging to complete this project. If a law is complex, early or late, or even not enforced (or even known for that matter), it can be challenging to understand. The legality of electric scooters was thoroughly examined from all available, current documentation.
Our more research will soon be published for other countries even though we are based in the United States. Moreover, this content will be updated on an (at least) annual basis. Finally, we will take a closer look at smaller subsections of regions (for example, a post about only London, New York, or Tennessee).
This project’s lifespan will change and change with changes to the legal landscape of riding electric scooters. Therefore, throughout this document, we will also include links to new resources as they become available.
National Scooter Laws in the U.S.
Is it Legal to Ride Electric Scooters on the Street?
Every scooter rider wants to ride scooters on the street, but wait a minute, have you read street laws about scooters? If not, take a look at this topic. There are some high-speed streets where scooters are not allowed (streets with a speed limit above 35 mph, for example); however, few riders will want to do that.
In addition, Delaware and Pennsylvania have laws prohibiting scooters on city streets. So despite the fact that niche communities are developing for very fast scooters, most people will feel safe and enjoy themselves at 15 mph or 20 mph as long as they get there quickly.
Can I Ride An Electric Scooter On Sidewalks?
Depending on where you live, you may have to adhere to more complicated laws regarding scootering on sidewalks. Whether this is legal or not always should be confirmed with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Despite this, sidewalks are only banned for scooters at the state level in 10 states (with Pennsylvania and Delaware being the only states that do not allow scooters on public streets at all). The tricky infrastructure conversation, though, entails a lot more since the world we live in presently is built for the efficient movement of cars, not humans.
Which Speed is Legal to Ride on an Electric Scooter?
It is common for electric scooters to be governed by a maximum speed limit. For example, many states within the United States restrict electric scooters to 20 mph. However, a few states permit scooters to travel as fast as 30 mph. In addition, the maximum speed of some electric scooters offered by sharing services is 10-15 mph. Check your state’s laws for further information.
What is the minimum Age to Ride Electric Scooters? Or do I need to wear a Helmet?
In most places in the U.S., 16+ is the minimum age to ride an electric scooter, and riders under the age of 18 need to wear helmets. Most states that require helmets for electric scooters apply the same regulations that apply to mopeds. Riders are generally expected to wear helmets, and no governing bodies recommend not doing so. Especially notable is that riders are expected to make responsible decisions for their health and wear helmets.
License and Registration
In North Carolina, electric scooters do not require DMV registration, which is great news for scooter owners. In contrast, drivers of motorcycles and mopeds will not have such luck. The reason for this is that scooters are among the most readily accessible vehicles. Shared scooters have been shown to commonly lead to injuries (most commonly on the first ride), but privately owned scooters allow people to test them in a safe environment and thus get past the dangers of their first or second ride.
In addition, studies have shown that riders learn to operate scooters very quickly, unlike cars where, after taking driver’s ed courses, young adults still pay excessive insurance premiums. Nine states require driver’s licenses for electric scooters as an attempt to create some order in the chaos. Still, this system is not likely to become the norm since micro-mobility can offer opportunities for people who cannot afford cars.
Now it’s time to know about electric scooter laws according to the U.S. states.
Scooter Laws by States
A state law was passed in July 2019 legalizing electric scooters but allowing cities and local municipalities to develop regulations independently. In some Alabama cities, electric scooters are viewed with suspicion, but others are embracing the freedom and convenience they provide. A motor vehicle license and registration tag are required for electric scooters in Birmingham. As of now, scooters are not legal on city streets in Auburn and Tuscaloosa.
You will not likely run into trouble if you ride an electric scooter in Alaska, as it lacks true regulation (and they will not be common). As electric scooters are considered motor-driven cycles in Alaska, they are regulated by the motor vehicles division of the state government. Electric scooters must have a maximum power of 750 watts. A rider 14 or 15 years old is required to have an M2 permit, while those 16 years or older need either an M1 or M3 permit provided that they were on their permit for six months beforehand (similar to getting a driver’s license).
Electric scooters have been legal in the state of Arizona since April 2019, after a bill (SB 1438) was passed. Electric scooters are considered to be similar to bikes, and they are defined as scooters that weigh less than 75 pounds and are capable of speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
Since they are not required to be registered or insured, they can be ridden almost anywhere a bike can, including sidewalks and roads without high speeds.
Electric scooters are now legal and regulated in Arkansas following the Electric Motorized Scooter Act in July 2019. According to this regulation, scooters themselves must weigh no more than 100 pounds and have a top speed of no more than 20 mph, but riders cannot ride faster than 15 mph. Minimum age of 16 is also required for riders.
Furthermore, Arkansas grants localities the authority to regulate rideshare programs, requiring liability insurance for private fleet operators and giving the government access to rider data.
Vehicle Code * 21235, passed in California in January 2019, legalizes and regulates electric scooters. The DMV does not require riders to register their scooters, but they must have a valid driver’s license. In public roads or bike lanes, electric scooters are restricted to speeds of no more than 15 mph, and they must stay on sidewalks (and off of sidewalks) with speed limits of 25 mph or less. Additionally, helmets are mandatory for riders under 18 years of age.
Shared scooters started in California (Bird launched in Santa Monica in September 2017) and set the trend for the industry’s growth as Bird, Lime, and Spin launched without government permission in San Francisco in March 2018.
Ultimately, the subsequent years’ events ended up tarring scooters with a bad reputation and bringing light electric vehicles to the attention of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Consumers can protect themselves by staying informed about the many legal actions taking place within our consumer community to prevent the reactionary legal ramifications of the fast-growing e-scooter industry.
It is legal to use an electric scooter on Colorado streets with a speed limit below 30 mph. The scooters can travel at 6mph or less on the sidewalk if this is not an option. The laws applying to scooters are the same as those applicable to bicycles, such as “no ride/no parking.”
A similar set of laws for electric scooters was passed in Connecticut in 2019. Children under 16 must wear helmets. Sidewalks are not allowed for scooters, and speeds over 20 mph must be limited.
As with motorized skateboards, electric scooters in Delaware are not permitted to be used on public roads. A high-traffic road generally means that you will have greater chances of getting into trouble. Even so, keep in mind that not all laws would be enforced, particularly in grey areas that are emerging, so you need to use your discretion and understand your local legal situation. For example, helmets are required for riders under 16 years of age. In addition, title 21 Ch. Some of Delaware’s codes prohibit them from riding on “highways, streets, or sidewalks.” 41 Sc 12 Provision 4198N.
A new law defining and regulating electric scooters was passed in D.C. in October 2020. A scooter is defined by DC law 50-2201.02 as a “personal mobility device.” It is “a motorized propulsion device for transportation of one or two people. It may not be a battery-operated wheelchair.”
Unlike cars or motorcycles, Scooters do not qualify as motor vehicles under DC law, so they do not require a license, registration, or insurance. However, riders must be 16 years old to ride.
On sidewalks in the central business district, helmets are not required, and scooters are not allowed. In addition, DC does not have a speed limit below 10 mph, unlike the rest of the US.
Shared scooters were intended to be covered by this regulation, but privately owned scooters are still affected at the moment. In addition, DC has another rule that prohibits riders from wearing headphones.
The only restrictions that apply to shared scooters are helmets for riders under 18 and the locking of all vehicles to poles and racks.
As of 2019, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has legalized the use of electric scooters statewide. It is not necessary for riders to have a license, but they must be at least 16 years old. Bikes and scooters share the same lanes, and they must adhere to the same road rules. City governments could regulate scooter programs under the legislation, but local authorities could not influence personal scooter ownership. The speed limit for scooters in Florida is 30 mph, although attorney Matt Dolman notes that these scooters qualify as bicycles if their top speed does not exceed 15 mph.
Electric scooters are allowed on Georgia’s bike paths and bike lanes and must be operated on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less if no bike lanes are available. There must be a weight limit of 100 pounds and a maximum speed limit of 20 mph.
Georgia has also said it will leave specific laws concerning electric scooters to local governments, saying, “we don’t want to overregulate this industry; just encourage more innovative uses for this technology.”
There are no electric scooter regulations in Hawaii at the moment. In the state, you can still see a lot of privately-owned scooters on city streets, but sharing scooters never made much of an impact, and one could argue that personally owned scooters may be legal or illegal depending on the context.
Electric scooters and bicycles are not required in the city of Boise or the state of Idaho. Streets, sidewalks, and the Greenbelt are all open to them in Boise. Although Boise has clearly defined rules surrounding the use of electric scooters, the state of Idaho lacks legislation specifically addressing this issue.
There was a bill introduced in Illinois, HB1590 (that has yet to be acted on, although somewhat understandable given the events of 2020) that would classify “low-speed electric scooters” as their own category of vehicles to be governed by the same laws as bicycles. Scooters must have both front and rear lights to ride at night, and riders under 17 must have a driver’s license. Since scooters at present are not regulated at the state level, they are technically unregulated.
Electric scooters are now covered in new legislation in Indiana that went into effect in July 2019. According to the law, bikes must have a weight limit of 100 pounds and a top speed of 20 miles per hour. In these respects, electronic scooters are like bikes in terms of their rights and responsibilities. However, the bikes can be ridden on public streets and paths, and they aren’t insured or licensed. Furthermore, they are not legally classified as motor vehicles (i.e., cars and motorcycles).
In 2019, the Iowa state senate introduced a bill that would define electric scooters as being under 100 lbs, having two or three wheels, handlebars, and a floorboard, and powered by an electric motor no faster than 20 mph. Scooters would be treated like bicycles under the bill and could be used on the roads, sidewalks, and bikeways.
A law has been passed in Kansas legalizing electric scooters. Bike and electric scooter riders are not allowed on sidewalks or highways. They do not need helmets. It is illegal to operate an electric scooter without a valid driver’s license.
Kentucky’s House Bill 258 became law in March 2019. As a result, electric scooters are allowed to operate on public roads as bicycles. The state does not require them to be registered or insured if you do not do either. An individual 16 years of age or older may operate an e-scooter.
Electric scooters are required to have a red light on the rear and a headlight for nighttime use and in low-light conditions, such as fog. Kentucky’s Isaacs & Isaacs law firm recommends that riders use a helmet even though the law does not require it.
- Make sure your helmet is fitting and fastened properly
- Make sure to use a horn or bell to notify pedestrians and drivers that you are approaching
- . Make sure to wear bright clothing at night and during the day.”
2019 marked the year when electric scooters became legal in Louisiana. Louisiana allows electric scooters that are lower than 25 mph to be driven on sidewalks, bicycle paths, and streets with posted speed limits. The scooter can only be ridden by one person at a time. Helmets are required for those under 17 years of age.
The state of Maine allows electric scooters. In some cases, the specific laws applied to electric scooters, such as mopeds, have been reapplied from another classification.
Speeds more significant than 20 mph are not permitted for electric scooters. The front light on a scooter should be white, and the rear light should be red or amber, as well as reflectors. 750 watts is the maximum power available, and wheels cannot exceed 10 inches in diameter. A license is required, but all classes will suffice.
The legislation was passed (SB770) in Maryland in 2019, legalizing electric scooters and designating stand-up scooters as their vehicle class. Under the Maryland Vehicle Law, an electric scooter considered low-speed is considered to be a bicycle. The maximum speed limit for electric scooters is 20 mph.
Massachusetts has legalized electric scooters at the state level. Motorized scooters or mopeds are their modes of transportation since there is no finer regulation. In addition to wearing a helmet and indicating their intentions audibly when passing, electric scooter riders must wear a helmet when riding. The maximum speed is 20 mph, and drivers are required to have a license.
A Michigan law, HB5643, makes electric scooters legal. They are in the same category as electric skateboards. Typical electric scooters have motors of 250-500 watts and can accommodate only one person at a time. They can only travel at 25 mph, and the motor cannot be more significant than 2,500 watts. Streets with speed limits under 25 mph are the only streets where scooters are allowed. Scooters cannot pass other vehicles between lanes of traffic, and their front lights and rear reflectors must be visible from 600 feet away.
In Minnesota, all-electric scooters must be classified as “motorized foot scooters,” which can be driven with either an internal combustion engine or an electric motor, have wheels no larger than 12 inches in diameter, and can reach a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. Helmets are required for riders under 18 years of age, and riders under 12 must have at least one year of experience.
Electric scooters are not regulated statewide in Mississippi, so a city or local municipality is the authority. As a result, the bill (HB14010) failed to pass in 2020. Despite these obstacles, a small pilot program of Blue Duck’s shared scooter company was launched in Vicksburg in late 2020.
Missouri considers electric scooters to be motorized bicycles, which means they are legal in the state. If there are bike lanes, scooters can be ridden in them. In addition, scooters that exceed 30 mph must be regulated as motorcycles.
It is illegal for an adult to ride an electric scooter on a sidewalk in Montana. Electric scooters are considered motorized bicycles and are regulated as such. They must yield to pedestrians whenever possible. If they intend to pass, riders of electric scooters must give a verbal warning and obey traffic controls at all times.
Neither Nebraska nor the Nebraska DMV has enacted regulations regarding electric scooters at the state level. However, the rules of the road must be followed when riding electric scooters on the streets. It is not allowed to ride on sidewalks.
Nevada has passed AB485, which makes electric scooters legal. The scooter’s weight must not exceed 100 pounds, and its maximum speed must not exceed 20 MPH. A 16-year-old must ride the scooter.
Electric scooters are not regulated in New Hampshire. Individual cities have passed regulations regarding shared fleet scooters like Bird and Spin, like Portsmouth and Nashua.
Scooters are not subject to licensing or registration but must meet the same rules of the road as bicycles. A driver’s license is not required for scooters to be driven, and registration is not required. New Jersey legalized high-speed electric scooters in May 2019.
Accordingly, no state-level laws govern electric scooters in New Mexico. Instead, it is left to the cities and local governments. In January of this year, the New Mexico Legislature introduced it, H.B. 292, establishing the legislative framework for “electric foot scooters” at the state level; however, no further action has been taken. From May 2019 to May 2020, Albuquerque had a shared scooter pilot program that was quite popular, but nothing has followed since then.
A monumental step for micro-mobility and the future of cities was taken by New York when it legalized scooters in August 2020. New York has the shortest and most urban trips, with almost 50% of all trips being under 3 miles. Thus, the city of New York, one of the most famous examples of both regulatory and unregulated micro-mobility (in the case of personal scooters), was one of the most famous examples of both regulated and unregulated micro-mobility before this event.
State regulations require rider age to be at least 16, that riders wear helmets if under the age of 18, that riders stay off sidewalks, and that riders stay off roads with speed limits over 30 mph.
It is up to the municipalities to either override or extend these laws, which is not expected. NYC was by far the most noteworthy, passing regulation to apply to all five boroughs in November 2020; NYC also opened up its permit process so that five private companies will be able to operate scooters from March 2021 onward. A scooter can only travel at a speed of 20 mph in NYC.
It was known that New York City took a very long time to legalize scooters and did not enforce or penalize those who railed personal electric scooters frequently.
According to North Carolina Law, electric scooters are considered vehicles, which means they must be registered with the DMV, and the riders must possess a valid drivers’ license. In addition, it is only legal to ride scooters on streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.
North Dakota does not have specific laws regulating electric scooters; however, mopeds are subject to the existing legislation governing mopeds (motorized scooters). Pedestrians and bicyclists must keep their electric scooters off the sidewalks and biking paths. There must be brakes, a lighting system, and a taillight on electric scooters. Riders under 18 are required to wear motorcycle helmets.
Electric scooters in Ohio became legal in January 2021 under H.B. 295. They must not exceed 20 mph or be more than 100 pounds. No license or registration is required. It is legal for them to drive on public roads; however, pedestrians must yield to them and have lights on their front and rear. Riders must be at least 16 to drive.
As no state laws govern electric scooters in Oklahoma, local governments enforce them. The sharing program is available in Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Stillwater. For example, scooters are allowed in bike lanes and on roads with speed limits over 35 mph in Oklahoma City. Motor scooters are also prohibited from being operated or ridden by anyone under the age of 18.
Currently, electric scooters are regulated by Oregon as mopeds, not as electric scooters. Rev. Stat. § 801.348. Scooters are not permitted on sidewalks in Portland, Oregon’s biggest city, and riders must be at least 16 years old and not exceed 15 mph. The Oregon legislature did not pass any legislation about electric scooters but instead clarified guidelines for electric scooters within the category of mopeds, following the Portland legislation.
House Bill 631, which would set guidelines for electric scooters, was introduced in 2019 but has not yet been acted upon by the Pennsylvania Transportation Committee because electric scooters are not compliant with equipment standards and inspection requirements. However, the Pennsylvania DMV has also outlined clear characteristics of “electric personal assistive mobility devices (EPAMDs)” that mirror those of electric scooters.
Segways are even designated as non-motor vehicles by the DMV and are responsible for following the same laws as bicycles. This extreme case of legislative confusion, where the state’s legislature and the DMV say different things, is a perfect example of how micro-mobility adoption can be hindered everywhere.
Electric scooters aren’t covered by statewide legislation in Rhode Island, and cities manage scooter sharing programs. However, driver’s licenses and municipal I.D.s are required by the City of Providence.
In addition to going slow and wearing a helmet, scooters can ride on sidewalks and streets. Riders on the street must obey the rules of the road and traffic regulations.
Electric scooters are not regulated by South Carolina law, but cities can self-regulate the sharing of scooters within their jurisdictions. Since then, neither Charleston nor Columbia have repealed their bans on electric scooters. As far as Pennsylvania’s motor vehicle codes are concerned, e-scooters are not regulated. As of right now, we can only understand what is legal and what isn’t based on laws regarding gas-powered mopeds.
In South Dakota, e-scooters are not regulated by state law; instead, existing moped regulations apply to scooters, including mirrors, brakes, lights, licenses, insurance, and DMV licensing. In order to prevent eye injuries, riders should wear eye protection when driving unless their scooter has a sufficiently large windscreen. In addition, those under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets.
Tennessee passed legislation legalizing and regulating electric scooters in July 2019 (Tenn. Code § 55-8- 302). As of July 1, 2015, scooters were grouped under the same category as e-bikes and were modeled after electric bikes. The law specified that scooters must have brakes, front and rear lights, and rear reflectors to weigh less than 100 pounds. In most cities and local municipalities, scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks.
Electric scooters cannot be ridden on roads with speeds greater than 35 mph and are governed by the DMV rules for motor-assisted scooters (i.e., mopeds) by Texas Transportation Code 551.351. These laws exempt them from safety inspection, registration, and insurance requirements.
Scooters are likely to be left unregulated at the state level in Texas and local, and state governments will be responsible for regulating them. Many Texans are familiar with electric scooters because many cities and colleges have scooter sharing programs.
In Utah, electric scooters are effectively treated as bicycles, which enacted legislation in May 2019 to legalize and regulate them. Motor vehicle licensing and registration isn’t required for electric scooters. It is possible to ride a scooter anywhere bicycles can be hung, particularly only on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph. Speeds over 15 mph are not permitted. Persons under the age of 15 should be supervised by their parents or guardians.
There is no statewide regulation of electric scooters in Vermont, but some rules at the city level (like a 15 mph limit in Burlington) are more focused on shared scooters. A scooter or electric bicycle is considered a vehicle, which must be ridden on a roadway and not on a sidewalk.
In July 2020, Virginia passed legislation to make e-scooters more accessible (* 46.2-908). A source at Ritchie Law Firm, a law firm in Virginia, says the law states scooters must weigh less than 100 pounds, have a top speed of 20 mph, be 14 years old, and not be used on highways. County and city ordinances can also regulate or prohibit micro-mobility vehicles under the law.
Scooters became legal in Washington in May 2019 via legislation that specifically called them “motorized foot scooters.” The state’s Revised Code section 46.20.500 defines a speed limit of 15 mph on public roads and bike paths. It is necessary to use reflectors at night. The eligibility age for riding will depend on the locality, and sidewalk riding will also be determined in each city. The state code also mentions that sidewalk riders may encounter slower speed standards.
In 2020, the state passed a bill regulating e-bikes, but it does not have any laws concerning electric scooters. Within the next few years, likely, these regulations will also apply to scooters. E-bikes were exempt from requiring licenses, registrations, and insurance under the new law. The ordinance also requires e-bikes to follow the same traffic laws as bicycles and mentions that cyclists under 15 must wear helmets.
The Wisconsin legislature approved a bill regulating electric scooters on highways and sidewalks in July. A scooter’s speed or weight cannot exceed 20 mph. The same rules of the road bind riders of scooters as bikers, and they can only ride on sidewalks under certain circumstances. Local governments can also regulate scooter operators and set their own rules within their jurisdictions under the bill.
While the state does not have a law governing electric scooters, it did enact a law allowing e-bikes the same privileges as traditional bicycles and defining a few forms of lightweight vehicles. It is obvious from Wyoming NO. SF0081 that it refers to mopeds through the section regarding scooters.
As a matter of law, electric-powered bicycling and electric skateboarding are exempt from licensing and registration requirements, but scooters (i.e., mopeds) are classified as motorcycles. Thus, according to this law, scooters are treated like electric skateboards and have the same privileges as e-bikes.
What Does Each State Require to Ride?
Electric scooters are not required to be equipped with safety equipment by law, although it is strongly advised for self-preservation. Most riders under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets in 10 states. Wearing safety gear is a good idea no matter your age, but it isn’t required.
If you ride an electric scooter faster than 24 kph, we recommend you wear a full-face helmet.
In our study on scooter safety, we found that scooter riders are less likely to wear helmets than bicycle riders. Riders without safety gear have been involved in accidents involving shared scooters, which have led to the perception that they are unsafe; however, states do not provide any safety equipment for individuals.