Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the rules of the road vary depending on whether you drive a moped, an autocycle, or a scooter. Although some regulations may overlap, it’s important to know exactly what you need to ride your vehicle safely and legally.
Motor-Driven Cycles in PA
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) classifies a motor-driven cycle as a motorcycle equipped with a motor that doesn’t exceed 5 brake horsepower. This category of cycles also includes motor scooters.
If your motor-driven cycle produces no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, skip down to “Mopeds” for operating requirements.
To operate a motor-driven cycle (non-moped) in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Apply for a motorcycle registration plate, which means you must:
- Take your vehicle for safety and emissions inspections.
- Pay the required fee to register your motor-driven cycle: $9 per year.
- *Hold a valid Class M or Class M with an “8” restriction motorcycle license.
- If you have a Class M license with an “8” restriction, you cannot operate ANY cycle that produces more than 5 brake horsepower.
- Wear eye protection.
In PA, wearing a helmet on a motor-driven cycle is optional IF any of the following apply:
- The motor-driven cycle has 3 wheels and seats you (the operator) and any passengers inside an enclosed cab.
- You’re 21 years old and up, and have held a motorcycle license for at least 2 years.
- You’re at least 21 years old and have successfully completed a motorcycle rider safety course through Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety Program OR the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), which offers classes nationwide.
- You are a passenger who is 21 years old and up riding with an operator who is exempt from wearing a helmet due to any of the above criteria.
*NOTE: You can ride a motor-driven cycle with a standard, Class C driver’s license IF the cycle has an automatic transmission and does not have cylinder capacity over 50 cc.
In the state of Pennsylvania, a motor-driven cycle is considered to be a moped if it has:
- Operable pedals.
- A motor that does not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower OR an electric battery-powered motor.
- A cylinder capacity which is no more than 50 ccs.
- An automatic transmission.
- A maximum speed of no more than 25 MPH.
Registration and Licensing Requirements for Mopeds
In order to legally operate a moped in the state of PA you must:
- Have it registered and obtain the proper moped plates following a similar process to registering a motorcycle.
- You do NOT need to have your moped inspected for safety or emissions purposes.
- Pay the registration fees: $9 per year
- Contact your local PennDOT office before heading out to register your moped just to confirm you have all the necessary registration materials.
- Hold a Class C (standard) driver’s license.
It is not mandatory for moped operators in Pennsylvania to wear a helmet or eye protection, though it’s still a good idea to do so! For more safety information, tips, and laws, check out PennDOT’s motorcycle manual.
Motorized Scooters in Pennsylvania
A motorized scooter is classified by the PennDOT as a vehicle:
- With 2 wheels.
- That is powered by an electric motor or an engine.
- That does NOT come equipped with a saddle or seat for the driver.
These vehicles are not exempt from registration and titling, and would need to pass the applicable inspections for safety, equipment, and emissions standards.
However, MOST motorized scooters do NOT meet the inspection requirements necessary for titling and registration. Therefore, most motorized scooters CANNOT be titled or registered and CANNOT be driven on Pennsylvania roadways or sidewalks.
Reference PennDOT’s page on motor scooters for details on the criteria your motorized scooter must meet to be eligible for title and registration, and give PennDOT a call at (717) 412-5300 for further assistance.
Autocycles in PA
According to PennDOT, an autocycle is a motorcycle with:
- 3 wheels.
- A steering wheel.
- Seating that allows the operator to sit without straddling.
- Gas and brake pedals similar to those you would see on a car.
Autocycle Registration and Licensing Requirements
To operate an autocycle in Pennsylvania you must:
- Register it as a motorcycle.
- Hold a valid Class C (standard) driver’s license.
- Follow all motorcycle laws and regulations—check out the Pennsylvania motorcycle manual for laws and safety tips.
NOTE: Autocycles MAY NOT be used to take driver’s skills tests for a Class C or Class M licenses.