Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Minnesota
Minnesota’s Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) has specific requirements regarding licenses, titles, and registrations for low-powered vehicles, and those requirements depend on whether you have a scooter, moped, electric bicycle, or less-common type of cycle. We’ll cover all of that with this guide.
Motor Scooters in Minnesota
Minnesota law doesn’t differentiate motor scooters from motorcycles in terms of licensing, title, and registration requirements.
A motor scooter’s build is what differentiates it from a motorcycle: you know you have a motor scooter if the cycle has:
- Low footrests for the operator.
- An engine located beneath the operator’s seat.
- A step-through design.
- A lower weight and engine capacity than a motorcycle.
- A top speed under 60 MPH.
If your cycle exceeds the specifications of the vehicles below, you probably have a motor scooter (or motorcycle), and must follow the same processes for title, registration, and licensing that are applicable to motorcycles in Minnesota before riding it.
If you’re unsure about whether you have a scooter or would like more information, contact the MN DVS for assistance.
Moped Permits & Licenses
You can operate a moped or motorized bike with a valid driver’s license. If you don’t have a license, you'll need to obtain a moped permit, which you must be at least 15 years old to apply for.
BEFORE going in to apply for a moped permit, you must complete a state-approved moped safety course. You may take the class if you are 14 years old, but you must wait until you’re 15 years old to apply for the permit.
Once you’ve completed your moped safety course, head to your local DVS office and:
- Acceptable documents to prove your identity.
- A certificate of completion for the moped safety course you took.
- A parental approval slip if you’re younger than 18 years old (these slips are available at the DVS).
- The $6.75 moped examination and permit fee.
- Pass the vision and knowledge tests.
- Use the Minnesota Motorcycle and Motorized Bicycle Manual to study for your knowledge exam.
Once you pass your knowledge test, the DVS will issue you a moped instruction permit valid for 30 days*. The instruction permit allows you to practice driving within 1 mile of your home before you take your on-cycle skills exam.
When your instruction period is up, it’s time to take your skills exam and apply for your full moped permit. Before going in for the skills test, review the Minnesota Motorcycle and Motorized Bicycle Manual for a quick refresher on moped riding laws and best practices.
When you feel prepared to take your on-cycle test, go back to the DVS office with:
- Your moped instruction permit.
- Proof of insurance for the moped on which you'll test.
- DOT-approved helmet and eye protection.
- A parental approval slip (if you’re younger than 18 years old), which is available at the DVS.
- The applicable full moped permit fee:
- Under 21 years old: $9.75.
- 21 years old or older: $15.75.
*NOTE: If you’re younger 16 years old, you can only carry a parent or guardian with you as a passenger during this period.
Moped Operation Restrictions
When riding your moped or motorized bike in Minnesota, you must abide by the following moped-specific rules:
- You may not ride on bicycle lanes, trails, or interstate freeways.
- You must operate as close to the right side of the road as possible.
- If you are younger than 18 years old, you must wear a helmet.
- Your moped must have a working headlight and taillight for nighttime operation.
- "Nighttime" means 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
- If you are younger than 16 years old, you may not ride with passengers unless the passenger is a parent/guardian.
Other Types of Cycles
If your vehicle doesn’t fit into the moped or motorized bike category, you might have a low-power or unconventional vehicle. We’ve outlined some of the most common types below—including their licensing, title, and registration requirements—but you can refer to the state’s descriptions and regulations for traffic law details as well as additional vehicles.
Motorized Foot Scooters
A motorized foot scooter is a device that:
- You can stand or sit on (although a seat isn’t required).
- Has handlebars.
- Is powered by an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.
- Has wheels no larger than 12 inches in diameter.
- Has a maximum speed of no more than 15 MPH on a flat surface.
You must be at least 12 years old to operate a motorized foot scooter, and you DO NOT need a license or registration.
An electric bicycle is one that has:
- 2 or 3 wheels.
- A saddle and operable pedals.
- An electric motor of up to 1,000 watts.
- A motor that disengages when you brake.
- A maximum speed of 20 mph.
You DO NOT need a license or registration, but you must be at least 15 years old to operate an electric-assisted bike.
In Minnesota, pocket bikes have various names: mini-bikes, mini-motorcycles, mini-choppers, etc.
Regardless of what you call it, you have one if it:
- Resembles a miniature motorcycle with wheels approximately 10 inches in diameter.
- Has a saddle approximately 2 feet from the ground.
- Is powered by a gas engine with a displacement of no more than 49 CC.
- Some models have electric power.
- Weighs anywhere from 30 to 100 pounds.
- Has a maximum speed ranging from 30 to 50 MPH.
MOST OFTEN, pocket bikes aren’t allowed on public roads, so you don’t need to title or register them or have a special license. However, because models vary, it’s safest to contact the DVS for requirements specific to your bike.