Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Washington

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The Washington Department of Licensing has laws and regulations in place that are specific to mopeds, motorized scooters, and other types of vehicles apart from motorcycles. If you are considering one of these vehicles as a method of transportation, keep reading! 

WA Mopeds

According to the state of Washington, a moped is classified as a motorized device that: 

  • Touches the ground with no more than 3 wheels at any time.
  • CANNOT drive faster than 30 MPH on flat ground.
  • Has an electric OR a liquid fuel motor of up to 50 cc.
  • Cannot produce more than 2 brake horsepower.

Mopeds must also meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for motor-driven cycles.

Moped Operation Rules

In order to legally ride your moped in Washington, it must be registered, and you will need a valid driver’s license and license plate. You do NOT need to have your moped insured.

A few additional things to remember before riding your moped:

  • You (and your passengers) must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as eye protection (unless you have a windshield).
  • Mopeds CANNOT be ridden on:
    • Bicycle paths or trails.
    • Sidewalks.
    • Equestrian trails.
    • Bikeways.
    • Hiking and recreational trails.
    • Fully controlled limited access highways.
  • It is against Washington law to remove any muffling or pollution control device from your moped.
  • You may park your moped in valid moped parking.

For more information on how to register your moped, contact the Washington State DOL at (360) 902-3770.

Motorized Foot Scooters

By Washington standards, a motorized foot scooter is a vehicle with:

  • No more than 2 wheels, which are 10 inches in diameter or smaller.
  • Handlebars.
  • A platform for the rider to stand on.
  • Either an internal combustion engine OR an electric motor that can propel the device at a maximum speed of 20 MPH on flat ground (with or without human help!).

Scooter Operating & Safety Requirements

Since motorized foot scooters are NOT authorized for street use in Washington, a driver’s license is NOT required. However, there are still a few other things to know when riding, such as:

  • You may NOT ride on sidewalks or fully controlled limited access highways.
  • If riding anytime between 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, your motorized foot scooter must have reflectors.
  • You may ride most places that bicycles would be allowed, such as bicycle lanes and multipurpose trails, as long as “motorized vehicles” are not expressly prohibited.
    • Make sure to pay attention to any signage around you!
  • The laws and regulations related to the use of bicycle helmets apply to you as well.

Electric Assisted Bicycles

A Washington electric assisted bicycle is classified as a bicycle with:

  • 2 or 3 wheels.
  • A saddle.
  • Pedals that can be used for human power.
  • An electric motor that:
    • Has a power output of up to 1000 watts.
    • Is NOT be able to:
      • Drive faster than 20 MPH on its own.
      • Increase the speed in any way when human power is being used to ride faster than 20 MPH.

WA Electric Bicycle Riding Laws

Since electric assisted bicycles are NOT legal for street use, you don’t need a driver’s license to legally ride one. There are still some legal guidelines to abide by, though, such as the following:

  • You must be at least 16 years old to ride an electric bike.
  • You need to follow all laws and regulations related to bicycle helmets.
  • You can ride an electric assisted bicycle anywhere that bicycles are allowed, such as bicycle lanes and multipurpose trails, as long as posted signage doesn’t ban “motorized vehicles” on the path.
  • You may NOT ride your electric bike:
    • On sidewalks or fully controlled limited access freeways.
    • While pedaling. 

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