Scooters, Mopeds, Etc... in Washington DC

Interested in a non-traditional vehicle to get around Washington D.C.?

Make sure you’re aware of all the laws and restrictions the Washington D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles has for motor-driven cycles, motorized bicycles, and low-speed vehicles.

Motor-Driven Cycles in Washington D.C.

All you need to ride a motor-driven cycle in Washington D.C. is a basic D.C. driver’s license. A motor-drive cycle has:

  • Either 2 or 3 wheels.
  • No external gear shifting device.
  • A motor that:
    • DOES NOT go faster than 30 MPH*.
      • If your motor maxes out at 20 MPH, you may have a motorized bicycle, which is detailed in the section below.
      • If your motor-driven cycle DOES go faster than 30 MPH unassisted, it is considered a motorcycle. You’ll need a motorcycle license or endorsement to ride it.
    • Has a maximum displacement of 50 CC (for combustion engines).

While riding a motor-driven cycle, wear a helmet and avoid riding on the sidewalks, though  you may park your cycle on the sidewalk outside the Central Business District, provided you:

  • Leave enough room for pedestrians and wheelchairs to pass by.
  • DO NOT lock your vehicle to a:
    • Tree.
    • Mailbox.
    • Planting area.

You must register and insure your motor-driven cycle. Your registration fee is $30 annually. Motor-driven cycles do not require inspections.

Check out our guide to registering a motorcycle in Washington D.C. for help registering your motor-driven cycle.

Motorized Bicycles in D.C.

You don’t need a license to ride a motorized bicycle in Washington D.C., as long as your bicycle has:

  • Either 2 or 3 wheels that each have a diameter of at least 16 inches.
  • Functioning foot pedals.
  • A motor that CANNOT propel the vehicle faster than 20 MPH* on flat ground.
  • A seat for every rider.

Motorized bicycles DO NOT require:

  • Inspections.
  • Registration.
  • Insurance.

You can park your motorized bicycle on the curb or lock it to a bike rack, as long as you don’t block pedestrian traffic.

You must avoid riding in bike lanes and on the sidewalk (except when parking). Helmets are not required.

*NOTE: A bicycle with a motor that drive faster than 20 MPH is considered a motor-driven cycle.

Low Speed Vehicles in Washington D.C.

Low speed vehicles are those with 4 wheels and have a maximum speed of 25 MPH.

All you need to be able to drive a low speed vehicle is a basic driver’s license. Your low speed vehicle MUST be:

It costs $72 annually to register a low speed vehicle in Washington D.C., and can be done at your local DMV office.

Please contact your local office for registration information that may specifically apply to low speed vehicles.

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