Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Ohio
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), there are specific differences between a motorcycle, a motor scooter, and a moped. The following will help you understand the differences and the requirements and regulations associated with owning and riding a moped or motor scooter. For information about motorcycles, please visit our Motorcycle Section page.
To meet the definition of a moped in Ohio, your bike must meet all of the following criteria:
- Either 2 wheels or 3 wheels (1 front and 2 rear).
- Tires must have a minimum inflated width size of 1.75 inches and an inflated diameter of 19 inches.
- The vehicle must be capable of being pedaled as well as carrying a helper motor, which cannot:
―Have a piston displacement larger than 50 cc.
―Be capable of producing more than 1 HP.
―Obtain a maximum speed greater than 20 MPH on a level surface.
If a moped or motorized bike exceeds any one of these specifications, it is legally a motorcycle and must adhere to Ohio BMV motorcycle regulations.
In order to operate a moped, you must be at least 14 years old. If you are between the ages of 14 and 15 years old, or if you do NOT have a valid Ohio driver’s license, you must get a probationary motorized bicycle license.
A motorized bicycle operator license only allows for the operation of a moped. It does not allow you to operate a motorcycle, a passenger car, or any other type of motor vehicle. It also does not take the place of a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) or any other type of Ohio driver license.
Motorized bicycle operator licenses are issued at any deputy registrar agency when required testing is completed.
Applying for Your Motorized Bicycle License
To apply for a motorized bicycle operator license:
- Study the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws to prepare for the knowledge test.
- Take the written knowledge test and a vision test at any Driver License Exam Station.
- After passing your knowledge test, go to a deputy registrar office and obtain your motorized bicycle TIPIC. Bring with you:
―The receipt for your knowledge exam.
―Documents proving your name, birth date, and Social Security number.
- After developing your riding skills with on-road practice, schedule a skills test online. You must present your TIPIC at the exam station.
- Your test will be administered on an off-street course. Be sure to bring your street-legal motorized bicycle, along with a helmet and eye protection.
Once you’ve passed your skills test, bring your motorized bicycle TIPIC to any deputy registrar agency to apply for a motorized bicycle license. You will need to present the following:
- Your TIPIC.
- Your receipt from your on-cycle skills test.
- Payment for the $21 moped license fee.
There are two additional note regarding driver’s license expiration dates:
- if you renew your license more than 90 days before its expiration date, then it is only good until your birthday in the 4th year after issuance.
- If you are under 21 years old, your license will expire on your 21st birthday regardless of how long you have had it.
While you don't need to have a title for your moped, you do need to register it annually and buy license plates. The process is the same registering a car. The minimum registration fee is $24.50.
The following rules apply to all mopeds:
- All mopeds must have a rear license plate and a rear-view mirror.
- You must keep within 3 feet of the right side of the road whenever possible.
- You may not carry any passengers.
- Drivers under 18 years old need to wear a regulation helmet with the chin strap fastened.
- You may not ride a moped faster than 20 MPH at any time.
- You may not ride your moped on freeways.
Motor scooters, such as a Vespa, are classified as a motorcycle in Ohio. In order to be ridden legally, both the rider and the scooter must follow the laws that pertain to motorcycles, not mopeds.
To be allowed on Ohio's public roads, a motor scooter must be deemed "roadworthy." This means the scooter:
- Must have a seat or a saddle.
- Cannot have more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground.
- Must contain the proper brake lights, turn signals, horn, a headlight, and side rearview mirrors.
In Ohio, you must title your scooter in order to legally operate it on the street. You should note that titling is done at your home county clerk’s office, not at the BMV.
In order to title your scooter, you must provide the clerk’s office with proof that the vehicle meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Do this by providing one of the following:
- A letter from the manufacturer stating that the vehicle meets all FMVSS statutes and requirements.
- A picture of the FMVSS sticker on the vehicle, including the VIN.
- The manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO) stating that the vehicle is FMVSS compliant.
Registration & License Plates
After obtaining the title for your scooter, it’s time to get it registered. This can be done at any local BMV office.
In order to register your scooter, you will need to provide proof of insurance.
You will need to pay a registration fee of at least $28.50. Unfortunately, the registration fee does not include any local, or “permissive,” taxes that may apply; those taxes are set by the district in which you live. By law, local tax cannot exceed $20 per vehicle. It also may be prorated by 50% if you’re registering your scooter for a period of less than 7 months.
The same rules for titling, registering, and operating mopeds and scooters also apply to three-wheeled vehicles.
You must first determine which classification your vehicle falls in. You can also check with the BMV for clarification if you do not see your three-wheeler listed.
If your three-wheeler qualifies as a motorcycle, you'll need to follow Ohio's motorcycle laws. This also means you’ll have to have either obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement.
All-Purpose Vehicles (APVs)
Ohio requires that all-purpose/off-road vehicles (with the exception of snowmobiles) must be titled and registered just as any street-legal vehicle. They also added the requirement of having a license plate on APVs.
The process and fees are exactly the same as scooters:
- Titling must be done at your county clerk’s office.
- Registration requires proof of insurance.
- There is a minimum $14.75 registration fee.
- Local taxes may apply, but may not exceed $20.
- A title fee of $15 will apply.
A driver’s license is not required to operate an APV. APVs are considered off-road vehicles and may NOT be operated on any street or roadway in the state of Ohio, except to cross it. To do so, however, you must possess a valid Ohio driver’s license or permit (of any class), and adhere to any restrictions that pertain to it.
Sporting goods and department stores have taken to selling very small motorcycles, or mini-motorcycles as they are often called. Most look like pint-sized replicas of their larger cousins, but they should not be mistaken for actual motorcycles. Mini-motorcycles are not considered roadworthy by the state of Ohio, and as such, cannot be titled, registered, or legally operated on the street.
The only exception to this law is if the mini-motorcycle meets the same roadworthiness standards and titling requirements set for scooters (see the above Scooter section). If it is deemed street legal, you are required to be licensed with a motorcycle license, motorcycle endorsement, or TIPIC in order to ride your mini-motorcycle.
Shopping for a Moped or Scooter
Mopeds and scooters are helpful ways to travel with less environmental impact, and can assist in lowering your overall cost on gas. To help decide if a scooter or moped is right for you, DMV.org has compiled the following list of resources: