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Do I Need a Scooter License?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 23, 2024
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Laws vary from state to state, but, in general, if you are a resident of the United States you must have a scooter license or an endorsement to an existing license in order to operate a motor scooter. Most states require that in order to operate a scooter the applicant must be at least 16 years of age and take a separate knowledge and driving test in order to obtain a scooter license. In some states, these licenses are not issued because scooters are prohibited from being operated on public roads and highways.

Because laws vary from state to state and from town to town, it is best to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and find out if you need a scooter license for the type of scooter you have and, if so, what kind. The definition of a scooter varies from state to state. Some states define a scooter as a moped; others define it as a motorcycle. Many states lump a motor scooter in with a motorcycle, hence the “M” class license. In addition, some states, California for instance, issue M1 and M2 licenses that distinguish between the types of motorized vehicles you are allowed to operate.

The type of scooter license you need depends on the type of scooter you have. So, again, check with your local DMV for specific information on what type of license you need, if any. Most states classify types of motorized vehicles by the engine size, weight of the vehicle, and the maximum speed of the vehicle. Therefore, depending on your jurisdiction’s definition, you may need a scooter license, an endorsement to your existing license, or your driver’s license may be enough.

In general, if you are over 16 years of age, you need to get a scooter license. If you are under 16 but over 14 you need a license permit in order to operate a scooter. Some states require a driver to be over 18. The process may require you to take extra driver’s classes and to take an extra motorcycle knowledge test. The most important thing is to make sure you contact your local DMV for the specific details on how to obtain the appropriate license for your needs.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By BambooForest — On May 16, 2011

The question of a scooter license ends up in my regional newspaper now and again. Usually, it is because the rules are still unclear and have no been changed. It seems more trouble than it is worth trying to get one of these things.

By aaaCookie — On May 13, 2011

Most people who drive these don't get the licensure, from my experience. Scooter license requirements are so vague, and often un-enforced, I can imagine why. It seems as though the very invention of them was a mistake, since they are not really roadworthy yet are also too big for sidewalks.

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