Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has specific license and registration requirements for mopeds and motorized bikes, motorized scooters, limited use motorcycles, and low-speed vehicles. Let’s find out how each of these vehicles are defined and what you’ll need to do to legally ride them in MA.
What Is a Moped in MA?
A moped or a motorized bicycle is a bicycle with or without pedals that:
- Has an automatic transmission.
- Has an engine cylinder capacity of no more than 50 cc.
- Can travel no faster than 30 MPH.
NOTE: If the vehicle can travel faster than 30 MPH but no faster than 40 MPH, the MA RMV might qualify it as a limited use motorcycle.
Moped & Motorized Bike Registration
The MA RMV requires registration for mopeds and motorized bikes, but a title is not required.
To register your moped or motorized bicycle, head to your nearest MA RMV service center with:
- Proof of ownership; if the moped/motorized bike is:
- Used: Bill of sale.
- New: Manufacturer's certificate of origin.
- Completed Motorized Bicycle (Moped) Registration Certificate (Form T20017).
- The $40 registration fee.
You’ll receive a stamped moped registration certificate and a decal to attach to your moped. Moped registrations are valid for 2 years.
Moped Operation Laws
When operating a moped or motorized bike, you MUST:
- Wear a helmet and make sure any passenger you’re carrying also wears a helmet.
- Stay on the right side of the road when passing another motor vehicle.
- Signal by hand your intention to turn or stop the vehicle.
- NOT drive faster than 25 MPH.
- NOT drive on limited access or express state highways or off-street recreational bike paths.
- You CAN travel in on-road bike lanes.
Massachusetts Motorized Scooters
A motorized scooter in Massachusetts is a vehicle that is designed for you to stand on or sit on and has:
- 2 or 3 wheels.
- An electric- or gas-powered motor that can drive the vehicle with or without human assistance.
In Massachusetts, mini motorcycles and pocket bikes are considered to be motorized scooters.
Scooter Operation Laws
There are quite a few scooter-specific laws you should be familiar with before you hit the road.
When operating a motorized scooter, you MUST:
- Wear protective headgear (i.e. a helmet).
- Stay on the right side of the road, including when you’re passing another vehicle.
- Keep your scooter equipped with signals for turning and stopping.
Additionally, you MUST NOT:
- Drive faster than 20 MPH.
- Travel on limited access or express state highways.
- Carry any passengers.
- Operate the scooter any time after sunset or before sunrise.
Low-Speed Vehicles in MA
A Massachusetts low-speed vehicle (LSV) has:
- 4 wheels.
- A vehicle identification number (VIN) with 17 digits.
- A certificate of origin.
- A gross vehicle weight rating of fewer than 3,000 lbs.
- The ability to operate at 20 and25 MPH.
If you’re not sure whether your motor vehicle qualifies as a low-speed vehicle, you can check to see whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has certified it as an LSV by looking at the:
- Title, certificate of origin, or registration (if applicable) and seeing whether the body style or type is listed as a low-speed vehicle.
- Manufacturer’s certification label and checking if the VIN lists the vehicle type as a low-speed vehicle.
Low-Speed Vehicle Rules & Requirements
You must be at least 16 years old and have a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to operate an LSV. (If you have a learner’s permit, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older and who has had a license for at least 1 year.)
The MA RMV titles and registers low-speed vehicles the same as regular passenger vehicles. However, if the LSV operates solely on an electric motor or batteries, it does NOT need an emissions inspection.
You CANNOT operate your low-speed vehicle on limited access or express state highways, or any roads where the speed limit is more than 30 MPH. Additionally, individual towns and cities can set their own operating regulations for low-speed vehicles.
Limited Use Motorcycles in MA
In Massachusetts, a limited use motorcycle is one that has:
- 2 wheels or more.
- A manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO).
- A vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Met the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for its class.
- The ability to travel 30 to 40 MPH.
You must have at least a basic driver’s license to operate a limited use motorcycle.
The MA RMV titles and registers limited use motorcycles the same as regular passenger vehicles, meaning you will have to have your cycle insured and inspected before you can legally ride. The registration fee for a limited use motorcycle is $20.
The RMV provides a helpful guide which you can reference while trying to decide what type of vehicle you have and the requirements attached to it.