Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Ohio
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Mopeds, motorized scooters, and related vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, so here's a little information that Ohioans should know about these types of transportation.
To begin, it's important to know what constitutes a moped, according to Ohio lawmakers. A moped is defined as any vehicle with "two tandem wheels or one front and two rear wheels which is capable of being pedaled and is also equipped with a helper motor."
Additionally, the helper motor can't be more powerful than one brake horsepower, allow the vehicle to travel over 20 miles per hour on a flat surface, or have a piston displacement of greater than 50 cubic centimeters.
As technical as this is, it's important to take note of this information. Why? Because if a vehicle exceeds any of these standards, it's classified as being a motorcycle. Then, you'll be dealing with a different set of rules. See our section below on three-wheeled vehicles for more information.
To help clear up any confusion, the state provides a list of bikes it considers to be mopeds. If you still have questions, call the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) at (800) 589-TAGS or (614) 752-7800. Your local branch agency should be able to help you out, too.
Now that you know the Ohio legal definition of a moped, let's take a quick look at moped regulations.
License and Registration
For starters, most of the licensing and registration procedures and rules for car drivers apply to moped riders. You don't need to have a title for your moped, but you will need to buy plates for your vehicle. The minimum registration cost is $24.50.
You'll need to be at least 14 to operate a moped. But, if you're under 16, or if you don't have a current driver's license, you'll need to pass the written, vision, and road tests to receive a moped license. However, unlike applying for a "regular" driver's license, you don't need to take a driver's education course.
Moped licenses cost $21, are good for four years, and will expire on the driver's birthday.
Those under age 16 will first receive a probationary license. If you're under age 16 and have one traffic infraction or moped-specific violation, you can have your probationary license revoked until you reach 16.
Remember, moped riders need to follow the same rules as car or motorcycle drivers.
Additionally, all mopeds must have a rear license plate and a rear-view mirror.
When driving a moped, you must keep within three feet of the right side of the road when possible. Also, even if you have a two-seat moped, no one is allowed to ride with you. And, if you're 18, you'll need to wear a regulation helmet with the chin-strap fastened.
When driving a moped, you're not allowed to go over 20 mph. Mopeds are not permitted on freeways, and are not encouraged to be used on any road that has a speed limit of over 35 mph.
A motor scooter is classified as being a motorcycle in the state. However, to be allowed on Ohio's public roads a motor scooter must be deemed as being "roadworthy." State lawmakers define this as a scooter that has:
- A seat
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Rear-view mirror
- Three or fewer wheels
For more information on this, contact the BMV at (614) 752-7800.
License and Registration
Just because a scooter is considered to be roadworthy, though, doesn't mean you can go for a ride. The vehicle will need to be registered (for a minimum of $24.50) and titled ($5 fee). For information on how to do this, see our titling and motorcycle registration sections.
You also must have the proper insurance or financial responsibility coverage. And, your scooter will need to have a motorcycle plate.
To drive a scooter, you'll need to be at least 16 and have either a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement on your license. See our Motorcycle License section for details on how to do this.
Additional Scooter Information
Be sure to check out the informative articles about scooters in our Fun Stuff section.
You can register and title your three-wheeled vehicle as a motorcycle, as long as its Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin shows that the bike meets the federal motorcycle standards.
Of course, if you register your vehicle as a motorcycle, you'll need to follow the state's motorcycle laws, and have either a motorcycle license or endorsement.
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