Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Iowa

Mopeds and scooters offer affordable and convenient transportation for Iowa residents. However, it's important to be aware of Iowa's special rules and regulations regarding these vehicles.


In Iowa, a moped is a vehicle that has a seat for the use of the rider and is designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels. They are not capable traveling over 39 MPH on level ground unassisted by human power.

Drivers 14 Through 15

A moped license is required. If you are 14 through 15 years old. you will also have to pass a approved moped education course before you can apply for a license.

  • Complete a moped rider education course approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
  • Pass the same knowledge test required for a driver's permit.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass a skills test (this depends on the discretion of the examiner).

Contact your nearest driver's license station for information on courses in your area.

Drivers 16 Through 17

You only need a permit if you don't have, at the minimum, an intermediate license. To apply for a permit, follow the same steps as described in the Drivers 14 through 15 years old. category above.

Drivers Over 18

If you're 18 years old or older and already have a currently valid driver license, you do not need to complete any additional licensing requirements in order to operate a moped. If, however, you don't have a license, you must apply for a moped permit.

Moped Registration

Mopeds must be registered through the nearest county treasurer's office. The process is the same as registering a car or motorcycle.

Iowa Moped Rules of the Road

When operating a moped on Iowa roads, you are expected to obey all traffic laws if you wish to avoid receiving a traffic ticket.

In addition, you must remember the following regulations:

  • A moped is required to display a flag that is 30 square inches and at least 5 feet from the ground to increase the vehicle's visibility while on Iowa roads.
  • It is against the law to carry a passenger on your moped.
  • When operating a moped, you cannot carry a package that prevents you from having both hands on the handlebars at all times.


Electric- or gas-powered scooters that resemble long skateboards with handlebars, a motor, and a seat are popular among teenagers and young adults.

Unfortunately, the Iowa Department of Transportation states that the vast majority of these vehicles do not meet the requirements for vehicle registration. This means that they can not be legally operated on public streets and most bike trails. In some locations, it may also be illegal to operate this type of vehicle on city sidewalks.

Some scooters are considered to be a type of motorcycle. Some have their engines located to the forward of the seat and affixed directly to the frame.

Iowa residents who wish to operate these vehicles must follow standard guidelines for motorcycle licensing and registration.

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