Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Rhode Island

Scooters, motorized bicycles, motor-driven cycles, and autocycles are fun ways to get around. Before you get out on the street, make sure you and your vehicle comply with the laws and restrictions outlined by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Motor-Driven Cycles in RI

The Rhode Island DMV defines a motor-driven cycle as a motorcycle or scooter that has a motor rated at 4.9 hp or less. This includes motor-driven cycles with 3 wheels. This category excludes motorized bicycles that are defined in the motorized bicycle section below.

To operate a motor-driven cycle, you must have a:

  • Motorcycle license.
  • Motorcycle endorsement for your basic driver’s license.*

For help getting your motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement, read our guide to obtaining a motorcycle license in Rhode Island.

While riding a motor-driven cycle, you must:

  • Wear eye protection.
  • Wear a helmet IF you are under 21 years old OR you’ve been driving your motor-driven cycle for 1 year or less.
  • Have a rearview mirror attached to your vehicle.

*If your motor-driven cycle fits the criteria for a motor scooter outlined in the section below, then you DO NOT need a motorcycle endorsement for your basic driver’s license.

Motor Scooters in RI

Rhode Island defines a motor scooter as a motorized cycle with a motor that is:

  • Rated at 4.9 hp or less.
  • No more than 50 cc.
  • Unable to propel the vehicle faster than 30 MPH.

You must have a basic driver’s license to ride one of these vehicles in Rhode Island.

Your motor scooter must be registered with the RI DMV. For help with this, jump to our page on registering a motorcycle in Rhode Island.

To ride a motor scooter, the Rhode Island DMV requires the following:

  • Your vehicle must have a rear-view mirror.
  • You must always wear:
    • Eye protection.
    • A helmet IF you’re under 21 years old OR you have been operating a motor scooter for 1 year or less.

Rhode Island Motorized Bicycles

The Rhode Island DMV has a separate classification for motorized bicycles. These vehicles have:

  • 2 wheels.
  • Functioning bicycle pedals.
  • A motor that has a:
    • 4.9 hp or less rating.
    • Top speed capability of 30 MPH or less.

Autocycles in Rhode Island

An autocycle is defined in Rhode Island as a vehicle that has:

  • 3 wheels or fewer.
  • A steering wheel.
  • Been manufactured to conform to the federal safety regulations for motorcycles.
  • Non-straddle seats.
  • Pedals for acceleration and braking.

All you need to ride an autocycle in Rhode Island is a basic driver’s license. Vehicles classified as motorcycles with 3 wheels require a motorcycle license.

Your autocycle must be:

  • Registered.
  • Titled.
  • Insured.
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