Electric Scooter Laws in the United States 2023

Worried the fun police might pull you over if you join the electric scooter bandwagon? Fear not! We're about to answer the most burning questions for budding e-scooter riders!

Imagine that you've just unboxed your shiny Apollo Scooter and are ready to take it for a spin. But then, a niggling thought creeps in – is it legal for you to ride this bad boy? We're here to guide you through the twists and turns of e-scooter regulations! Read on, and by the end of this post, you'll know whether you can hit the streets carefree or need to take a detour to the DMV first. 

Do you need a license to ride electric scooters in the USA?

First and foremost, you’re not obligated to get any kind of special e-scooter license. It doesn’t exist, at least yet. If anything, some states may need you to have a valid driver’s license, but that varies from state to state

In the United States, California is the only state that requires a valid driver's license to operate an electric scooter. California has specific laws that define a "motorized scooter" as a two-wheeled device with handlebars, a floorboard designed for standing, and an electric motor. 

The maximum speed for electric scooters in California is 15 mph. In other states, electric scooters are generally classified similarly to electric bicycles, which do not require a driver's license to operate. However, it's still important to check your local laws, as some states have their own regulations.

Electric Scooter Restrictions and Laws in the U.S.

Are Electric Scooters allowed on the roads in the USA?

It is common for scooter riders not to be able to ride on high-speed streets with a speed limit over 35 mph. Only Pennsylvania and Delaware prohibit scooters on streets completely. While it may cause frustration to people who enjoy riding high-speed scooters, most are content with riding at speeds below 20 mph.

Planning a trip and considering bringing your electric scooter along? The regulations can be tricky. Check out our detailed guide, where we navigate through the specific rules of US airlines regarding carrying electric scooters on a plane.

Is there any age restriction for Electric Scooters in the USA?

In general, most states require riders to be at least 16 years old to operate an electric scooter. Some states may have additional requirements, such as wearing a helmet or having a valid driver's license.

State

Age Restriction

License Required

Street Legality

Alabama

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Alaska

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Arizona

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Arkansas

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

California

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Colorado

None

No

Roads ≤ 30 mph

Connecticut

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Delaware

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Florida

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Georgia

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Hawaii

15+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Idaho

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Illinois

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Indiana

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Iowa

14+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph,

Kansas

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Kentucky

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Louisiana

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Maine

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Maryland

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Massachusetts

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Michigan

12+

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Minnesota

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Mississippi

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Missouri

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Montana

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Nebraska

14+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Nevada

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

New Hampshire

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

New Jersey

16+

Yes

Roads ≤ 25 mph

New Mexico

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

New York

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

North Carolina

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

North Dakota

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Ohio

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Oklahoma

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Oregon

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Pennsylvania

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Rhode Island

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

South Carolina

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

South Dakota

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Tennessee

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Texas

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Utah

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Vermont

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Virginia

14+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Washington

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

West Virginia

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Wisconsin

16+

Yes (DL/Permit)

Roads ≤ 25 mph

Wyoming

None

No

Roads ≤ 25 mph

 

If you're thinking of renting a shared electric scooter from companies like Bird or Lime, you'll need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license, regardless of where you are in the US. These are company policies, not legal requirements.

Legality of electric scooters by state

According to the federal laws, any two- or three-wheeled vehicles powered by motors or a combination of an engine and pedals are perfectly legal as long as the rider's speed does not exceed 20 mph and the motor's power does not exceed 750 watts. Though electric scooters are not explicitly mentioned, they are generally considered to fall under this law.

Alabama

Scooters are legal, but specific laws are left to local municipalities. Scooter-sharing programs may or may not be allowed, depending on the city.

Alaska

Electric scooters are classified as "motor driven cycles" and are subject to similar regulations as motorcycles, including licensing and power restrictions.

Arizona

Electric scooters are treated like bicycles and are allowed wherever bikes can be ridden. No insurance or registration is required, but helmets are mandatory for riders under 18.

Arkansas

Scooters are street-legal, but certain age and speed restrictions apply. Scooter-sharing regulations are left to local municipalities.

California

Extensive scooter laws require valid driver's licenses but no vehicle registration. Speed and road restrictions apply, and helmets are mandatory for riders under 18.

Colorado 

Scooters can be used on streets with speed limits of 30 mph or lower and, in some cases, sidewalks. They are subject to similar laws as bicycles, though some aspects remain undefined.

Connecticut 

Electric scooter laws resemble bicycle laws, with helmet requirements for riders under 16, sidewalk restrictions, and a 20 mph speed limit.

Delaware

Scooters are treated like motorized skateboards and are not allowed on streets, highways, or sidewalks. However, enforcement is inconsistent.

Washington D.C.

Scooters are classified as "personal mobility devices" and have age and sidewalk restrictions. Helmets are required for shared scooter riders under 18, and a 10 mph speed limit applies.

Florida 

Scooters are legal statewide, with age restrictions and similar rules as bicycles. Scooter-sharing programs are subject to local ordinances.

Georgia

Electric scooter laws have weight, speed, and location restrictions, with further regulations left to local municipalities.

Hawaii

Comprehensive scooter laws cover age, helmet, lighting, weight, and speed restrictions.

Idaho

Scooter laws are still developing, with local governments regulating their usage. Inquire with local law enforcement about specific regulations.

Illinois 

Electric scooters are classified as motor-driven cycles, with licensing, registration, and insurance requirements for private owners. Shared scooter regulations vary by municipality.

Indiana

Scooters are known as "electric foot scooters" and have specific criteria to meet. They can be ridden on streets and bike paths, with local governments establishing additional regulations.

Iowa

Scooters can be used on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or slower, sidewalks, and bike paths. Lighting requirements apply, but no licenses or insurance are needed.

Kansas

Scooters are street-legal but not allowed on highways or sidewalks. Licensing and lighting requirements apply, but helmets are not mandatory.

Kentucky

Scooters are treated like bicycles, with age, lighting, and location restrictions but no registration, licensing, or insurance requirements.

Louisiana 

Scooter riders need valid driver's licenses and must adhere to age, helmet, and location restrictions.

Maine 

Scooters are street-legal with speed, lighting, wheel size, engine power, and licensing restrictions.

Maryland

Scooters are street-legal and subject to similar laws as bicycles, with a 20 mph speed limit.

Massachusetts 

Scooter riders must yield to pedestrians, wear helmets, and follow audible signaling rules. Licenses and speed restrictions apply.

Michigan

Scooters fall under the electric skateboard category, with passenger, power, and speed restrictions. Lighting and traffic rules also apply.

Mississippi

Mississippi's scooter laws remain largely unformed, with regulations left to local municipalities. For specific scooter laws in your area, contact local law enforcement.

Missouri

Electric scooters are street-legal in Missouri and treated like motorized bicycles, allowed in bike lanes. Riders need a valid driver's license, and scooters must not exceed 30 mph; otherwise, they'll be considered motorcycles.

Montana 

Montana treats electric scooters like motorized bicycles, allowing them on streets and bike paths but not sidewalks. Scooter riders must yield to pedestrians and follow traffic signals, giving audible warnings when passing others.

Nebraska 

Nebraska's electric scooter usage is mostly unregulated statewide, but the DMV confirmed that scooters don't need registration. Riders should still follow traffic laws and avoid riding on sidewalks.

Nevada 

Electric scooters are allowed on public roads in Nevada, but cannot weigh over 100 lbs or exceed 20 mph. Riders must be at least 16 years old.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire lacks statewide electric scooter regulations, but cities like Nashua and Portsmouth have laws governing shared scooters from companies like Spin or Bird.

New Jersey 

New Jersey classifies electric scooters as "low-speed electric scooters," limited to 19 mph and generally subject to bicycle laws. Regulations for riding on trails and sidewalks vary by city. Riders don't need a driver's license, insurance, or vehicle registration.

New Mexico 

New Mexico leaves electric scooter regulations to local municipalities, but a bill is being considered in the state legislature for statewide governance. As of early 2023, it has not been enacted.

New York 

New York state law permits electric scooter use, requiring riders to be at least 16 and wear helmets. Scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks or streets with speed limits over 30 mph. Local municipalities can extend or override these laws, like New York City's 20 mph limit on streets with 25 mph speed limits.

North Carolina 

North Carolina requires electric scooter registration with the DMV and a valid driver's license. Scooters can't be ridden on roads with speed limits over 25 mph. Other statewide scooter issues remain unaddressed.

North Dakota

North Dakota doesn't specifically regulate electric scooters statewide, but they're subject to existing moped legislation. Scooters shouldn't be ridden on bicycle paths or sidewalks and must have taillights and headlights. Riders under 18 must wear helmets.

Ohio 

Ohio classifies electric scooters as "low-speed micromobility devices" limited to 20 mph and 100 lbs. Riders must be 16 or older, but don't need a driver's license or insurance. Scooters can be ridden on public roads, but riders must follow traffic signals and yield to pedestrians. Nighttime riding requires front and rear lights.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma leaves electric scooter regulation to individual cities, with scooter-sharing programs in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater, and Tulsa, each with unique rules. Consult local law enforcement for specific regulations.

Oregon 

Oregon treats electric scooters like mopeds, allowing motors up to 100w, lights for night riding, and a 24 mph maximum speed. Individual cities can establish their own rules, like Portland's 15 mph speed limit and minimum rider age of 16.

Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania's state-level electric scooter laws are still developing, with introduced bills seeking to establish statewide rules. Currently, regulation is left to individual cities.

Do you need a license to ride an Electric Scooter in Canada?

In Canada, electric scooter laws differ by province, state, and city. In most provinces, a license is not required to operate an electric scooter, but some places do require a driver's license, and there are minimum age requirements.

It's important to remember that regulations surrounding electric scooters are constantly evolving, so it's essential to check your local laws before purchasing or renting an electric scooter. Additionally, wearing a helmet when riding an electric scooter is important, regardless of legal requirements.

Conclusion

On the surface, electric scooters offer a convenient, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. However, it's essential to understand the laws surrounding them to avoid any legal issues, in many cases, disproportionately high fines. They are in place for a reason, and safety being the most significant one. So check your local laws, wear a helmet, play by the book, and enjoy the ride!

FAQ

What are the general electric scooter laws in the U.S. in 2023?

Electric scooter laws vary by state, but generally, they must follow certain safety requirements such as having a working headlight and tail light, and not exceeding a maximum speed limit. Additionally, some states require riders to wear helmets, and there may be age restrictions for using an e-scooter. It is important to check the specific regulations for each state.

Do I need a license to ride an electric scooter in the U.S.?

Licensing requirements for electric scooters vary by state. Some states do not require a license, while others may require a standard driver’s license or a special permit. Be sure to check the regulations for the state in which you plan to ride.

Can I ride my electric scooter on roads in the U.S.?

In most states, electric scooters are allowed on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less, and they are often permitted to ride in bike lanes. However, the specific rules can vary from state to state, so it is important to familiarize yourself with local regulations before riding.

Are there any age restrictions for riding electric scooters in the U.S.?

Yes, there are age restrictions for electric scooter riders in some states. These can range from a minimum age of 12 to 16 years old, depending on the state. Always check the regulations in the state where you plan to ride to make sure you’re not breaking any laws.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7544631/
  2. https://highways.dot.gov/public-roads/spring-2021/02
  3. https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0610/chapter_0080/part_0060/section_0020/0610-0080-0060-0020.html
  4. https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title32/rs32-300-1/
  5. https://code.dccouncil.gov/us/dc/council/code/sections/50-2201.04a.html
  6. https://delcode.delaware.gov/title21/c041/sc12/
  7. https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/ACT/pa/pdf/2019PA-00162-R00HB-07141-PA.pdf
  8. https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/electric-scooters-and-bicycles-and-other-unregistered-vehicles

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