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Scooters in PA

When I was in Florida, I had a nice little 49cc, 1.9 HP scooter. It went 45-50 MPH and got right around 100 MPG. Florida law said that you could use a standard driver's license if your scooter was < 50cc and < 2 HP. Several shops rented scooters to beach-goers and vacationers, because they could, and it made a lot of sense.

In PA (and Ohio, and most other states, I guess), scooters are classified as motorcycles regardless of their horsepower or engine size. Carey and I were mildly interested in buying a scooter until we found this out. Now I'd classify our interest as, well, not non-existent, but close.

This post really has no purpose other than to allow me to say: Florida's law, good. PA's law, bad. Pffffffft.

28 Responses to "Scooters in PA"

  1. Here in Minnesota, since the elected state officials didn't have anything better to do, they passed a law that allows children 12+ to operate scooters on public roadway and forbids travel on sidewalks. This describes the new Minnesota law. Basic just is a) you must be 12+ b) You can't have a 'scooter' that goes more than 15 MPH c) Can't have passenger(s) and d) have to wear a helmet unless 18+. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. It's been a few days and there hasn't been anyone killed..... Yet...

    I don't see why a law like Florida would be bad, but the 12-16 year old range just doesn't seem to fit the responsibility that's needed on the streets and county highways.

    1. I was wondering is there does that law classify to electric scooters also?

  2. California has recently switched from a more PA-like system to a more FL-like system. "Motorized scooters" can now (as of 2005-01-01) be driven with a class C license (a normal car license) whereas they used to require an M1 or M2 license. (M1 == all motorcycles, M2 == motorized bicycle or moped)

  3. I am a PA resident who would like to drive a motorcycle. What's stopping me is not PA's laws but a promise I made to my mom 10 years ago. Pennsylvania's motorcycle licensing requirements are actually quite mundane. It's very easy to get a permit, and you can ride indefinitely by having and renewing your permit.

    I've heard from motorcycle-riding friends that the easiest way to get a license is to take the motorcycle safety course that is offered -- for free, I believe. Passing the course essentially gets you a license.

    FL's laws are not necessarily good. While I enjoyed puttering around Key West on a scooter, the state's lax attitude toward

  4. Just get a cheap (~$1000) motorcycle. They're safer, and much more fun. (They're safer because you can keep pace with traffic (avoiding the "car trying to pass you and then unintentionally running you off the road because at the same time there is another car going in the opposite direction" scenario) and occupy a "space" in a lane of traffic, and you're more visible to cars. Unfortunately, they suffer from some of the same drawbacks as scooters, namely if you get hit on one you're probably in trouble.

    If you can take the motorycle safety class for free (per another comment), jump on it. It costs like $280 in Massachusetts, and you have to reserve a seat in the class six months ahead of time. That said, if there's any possibility you'll consider getting a motorcycle, I heartily recommend you take this class. Not only do you qualify for an insurance discount for life, but you get the license as part of the deal and you really will learn how to ride more safely and proficiently than some self-taught -- or worse, "taught"-by-a-friend -- squid wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops on a GSXR.

  5. this is in response to PA's laws on scooters. I dont know who gave you your information but the law in PA is anything under 50CC is good to go. Meaning all you need is a pennaylvania drivers license, and have it insured and registered. I currently drive a 50CC Aprilia scooter. perfect for moving around downtown and occasional like non major highway driving. it will do about 40-50 on a flat road.
    Jim

  6. A letter to your local congressman is the way to go. With Bush's recent State of the Union call to end our addiction to oil, 49cc scooters should be encouraged... don't you think?

  7. Just talked to PennDOT. Here are the requirements:

    <= 50cc

    <= 1.5 BHP

    Max Speed: 25MPH

    automatic transmission (?)

    if it meets these conditions, the vehicle needs a

    $9/year registration. (includes plate.)

    no inspection required

    no helmet/eye protection required.

    Class C license required.

    More than those restrictions, and you need a class M license.

    1. What about age?

    2. Ignore the MOPED portion of the law.

      Go straight to the MOTOR-DRIVE Cycle part where there is an exception for which states the following:

      NOTE: The holder of a Class C, Non-Commercial Driver’s License is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle, which has an automatic transmission and a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters.

      This clearly does not state anything about pedals like the MOPED portion.

      I think a lot of police and PENNDOT people don't know the law. I was able to register and get my 49CC Scooter insured and the insurance agent even said as long as its under 50CC you are ok with your Class C license.

      I truly believe you are OK to get a 49CC scooter and ride in PA with a class C drivers license.

      I misread the law wrong myself originally.

      http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DVSPubsForms/BDL/BDL%20Fact%20Sheets/fs-mm.pdf

    3. David said on November 18, 2015:

      Ignore the MOPED portion of the law.

      Go straight to the MOTOR-DRIVE Cycle part where there is an exception for which states the following:

      NOTE: The holder of a Class C, Non-Commercial Driver’s License is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle, which has an automatic transmission and a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters.

      I think you're right.

  8. Phillip You Missed one very important part of requirement

    Criteria #3 Operable Pedals Required

  9. Phillip Lewis - one other thing you forgot - it must be insured. Otherwise you can't get a registration and tag.

  10. I am curious about the max speed 25mph I can PEDAL MY BICYCLE to 35+mph. and have exceeded 50mph downhill

    Whats up with the 25mph limit? Do I need a motorcycle license if I pedal my bicycle over 25mph?

    1. amen brother i ride every weekend from lancaster to lebanon it takes a little loonger but it works! also i have an out of state id and bycycling is free not tickets and healthy.

    2. For anyone who is still wondering its probably similar wording to the federal electric bike law which is 20mph on the flat for a person that weighs 171 pounds. Don't know the exact wording for PA motor driven cycle law but without qualifications like the federal law find a nice steep hill and most people can probably get their bicycle up over 25 without even pedaling. Also apparently the federal law supersedes any state law if your talking about an actual electric bicycle so it counts as a bicycle and you must follow all applicable state laws for bicycles. Its probably best to print the federal law and carry it with you though if your electric bike fits into the federal definition, that way if you're stopped by some unaware police officer you can show it to him/her.

  11. This is the fact sheet from penn dot a class c is acceptable for a scooter not exceeding 50cc
    FACT SHEET
    MOPEDS, MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLES AND
    MOTORCYCLES
    PURPOSE
    This Fact Sheet provides the most accurate and up-to-date information necessary to operate and register a
    moped, motor-driven cycle or motorcycle in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Specific definitions and criteria
    are listed below to assist in determining the proper procedures for operating the particular vehicle in question.
    Please note that a motor-driven cycle must exhibit a motorcycle plate when driven.
    Owners of these types of vehicles are required to acknowledge the Financial Responsibility Statement and
    provide insurance information. PennDOT will refuse to renew or transfer a registration if the self-certification of
    financial responsibility is not completed on the registration application, as follows:
    1. Name of the insurance company which is insuring the vehicle.
    2. The policy number, effective date and expiration date of the insurance policy.
    A motorized scooter is a two wheeled vehicle that is powered by an engine or an electric motor and does not
    have a seat or saddle for the driver. These vehicles are not exempt from titling and registration requirements
    as set forth by the Department and would be required to pass equipment standards and inspection
    requirements. However, these type of vehicles do not comply with the equipment standards and inspection
    requirements for motor vehicles and cannot be titled or registered within the Commonwealth. In addition, these
    vehicles cannot be operated on Pennsylvania roadways or sidewalks.
    In addition, PennDOT does not title and register all-terrain vehicles (ATV). Application for title and registration
    for ATV type vehicles must be submitted to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR),
    Snowmobile and ATV Licensing Unit, P.O. Box 8553, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8553. All-Terrain vehicles may not
    be reconstructed for highway use and may only be used off road. ATV's used exclusively for farm purposes are
    not titled or registered by DCNR or PennDOT. A multi-purpose agricultural vehicle which is also an ATV is
    exempt from registration.
    MOPED
    DEFINITION: A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated no more than 1.5 brake
    horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission,
    and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour, or an electric motor-driven
    cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.
    CRITERIA: 1. Engine may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    2. Engine may not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower rating.
    3. Operable pedals required.
    4. Automatic transmission required.
    5. Design speed may not be more than 25 miles per hour.
    6. Does not require inspection.
    March 2007 - over -
    7. Moped plate issued.
    8. Annual registration fee is $9.00.
    9. No helmet or eye protection required for driver.
    10. Class C required on Driver’s License.
    MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE
    DEFINITION: A motorcycle, including a motor scooter, with a motor which produces horsepower not to exceed
    5 brake horsepower.
    CRITERIA: 1. Horsepower is not more than 5 brake horsepower.
    2. Inspection required.
    3. Motorcycle plate issued.
    4. Annual registration fee is $9.00.
    5. Individuals who meet the following criteria are able to choose whether or not to wear a
    motorcycle helmet:
    􀁙 The operator or any occupant of a three-wheeled motorcycle equipped with an enclosed
    cab.
    􀁙 A person 21 years of age or older who has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at
    least two years.
    􀁙 A person 21 years of age or older who has completed a motorcycle rider safety course
    approved by PENNDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
    􀁙 The passenger of a person who is exempt, if the passenger is 21 years of age or older.
    6. Eye protection required.
    7. Class M or a Class M with an “8” restriction required on Driver’s License. NOTE: An “8”
    restriction prohibits the driver from operating a motor-driven cycle 50CC or larger.
    NOTE: The holder of a Class C license is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle which has an
    automatic transmission and a cylinder capacity that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    MOTORCYCLE
    DEFINITION: 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.
    CRITERIA: 1. Inspection required.
    2. Motorcycle plate issued.
    3. Individuals who meet the following criteria are able to choose whether or not to wear a
    motorcycle helmet:
    􀁙 The operator or any occupant of a three-wheeled motorcycle equipped with an enclosed
    cab.
    􀁙 A person 21 years of age or older who has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at
    least two years.
    􀁙 A person 21 years of age or older who has completed a motorcycle rider safety course
    approved by PENNDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
    􀁙 The passenger of a person who is exempt, if the passenger is 21 years of age or older.
    4. Eye protection required.
    5. Annual registration fee is $18.00.
    6. Class M required on Driver’s License.
    NOTE: Side-cars are not titled in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  12. I'm 16 and want to get something really cheap on gas. There is a nice looking moped for sale nearby and i have the money for it. However, i live on a road that goes 55 and im not sure if that moped is fast enough and ive read that in PA mopeds maximum speed has to be 25 or lower. If anyone knows something that could help me, i would appreciate it.

  13. The key here is the Motor-Driven Cycle Note:
    The holder of a Class C license is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle which has an automatic transmission and a cylinder capacity that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.

    So if you have a drivers license for a car, you can drive a 50cc or less scooter no matter what their speed limit is (typically ~45 mph). Don't confuse a "Motor-Drive Cycle" with a Moped. The Motor-Drive Cycle is what most of us call a scooter. A moped is "a motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals."

  14. Alright here are the facts on this Pa. Motor Scooter Debate. I just called PenDot and was told that a Motor Scooter of 50cc or less is legal to be driven in pa. with a class C drivers license. The woman told me where to find it on their website and here is a copy of what I found. READ THIS ALL THE WAY TO THE LAST FOUR LINES

    CLASS C (minimum age 16): A Class C driver’s license will be issued to persons 16 years of age or older, who have demonstrated their qualifications to operate any vehicles, except those requiring a Class M qualification, and who do not meet the definitions of Class A or Class B. Any firefighter or member of a rescue or emergency squad who is the holder of a Class C driver’s license and who has a certificate of authorization from a fire chief or head of the rescue or emergency squad will be authorized to operate any fire or emergency vehicle registered to that fire department, rescue or emergency squad or municipality(emergency use only). The holder of a Class C license is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle with an automatic transmission and cylinder capacity of 50 CCs or less or a 3-wheeled motorcycle with an enclosed cab.

    There is stuff on Pendot's web site that is misleading, but what I found out is the way it is.

  15. SO what does that mean Chuck? does it have to be registered and insured as a motorcycle? it says I can ride one but this assumes the VEHICLE is legal.

    we need the vehicle side not the driver side.

  16. http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/fs-momo.pdf

    per above link, as far as registration is concerned, $9 per year, no inspection required..

    no indication if insurance is required, but since a moped would do more damage in an accident than would a bicycle perhaps, inquire with your insurance company if moped insurance is available.

    class c driver's licence definitely ok for moped, no need for class m(motorcycle or "motor-driven cycle")

  17. you i wanted to get a scooter but pa has made it a chore to even a moped look its nice here but if u have the choice move some place else if it isnt a big city like philly its really really backward and most tend to fight progress as in fighting off the construction of new cell towers note im am indeed bashing pa even thought i live here ive live in other places and trust me it a big difference maybe even close to culture shock big

  18. I was cited in Lebanon, PA. on my 49cc Honda Metropolitan scooter for not having a class (M) license, i'm going to plea not guilty and show them the facts.

  19. again you need to check also with the boro or township you live in to see if they have a ordinance .we do here in philipsburg.

  20. i talked to brimmers title and registration in lancaster and they said all you need is a state id and proof of insurance for a 49cc scooter and they will issue a plate.

  21. alvin said on May 17, 2013:

    i talked to brimmers title and registration in lancaster and they said all you need is a state id and proof of insurance for a 49cc scooter and they will issue a plate.

    This still seems to disagree with you. It says you need a class M license.

  22. I have a 50cc 1984 Honda Aero 50 NB50MD and I was recently stopped and given a warning for not wearing a helmet. The officer told me my scooter doesn't fit the requirements for a motorcycle or a moped in the state of PA and that because of this I am required to wear a helmet at all times when operating my scooter or I will be cited for Failure To Wear A Helmet. I found this to be odd as I have passed several cops since getting my scooter a couple months ago and never was pulled over before for this and that motorcyclists and moped riders are given a choice to wear a helmet or not and they are at a much bigger risk for head injury as they are operating at a much higher cc then my scooter. So my question is this, Was the officer that stopped me for not wearing a helmet correct in his stopping me and requiring me to wear a helmet or was he just trying to give me a hard time?


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