A motorized scooter is a two-wheeled device that has handlebars, a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding, and is powered by a motor.
The Vehicle Code (VC) does not require registration, license plates to be displayed or the scooter to be insured. Local authorities can regulate the registration for these scooters pursuant to VC §21225.
Even though insurance is not required, owners of these scooters should contact their insurance company to determine if coverage is available.
A motorized scooter may be operated on a bicycle path, trail or bikeway, but not on a sidewalk. An individual shall not operate a motorized scooter:
- Without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet, if they are under age 18.
- Unless it is equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Without a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.
- With any passengers.
- While carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
- On the highway with the handlebars raised so that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the level of his or her shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
- On a highway with a posted speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour (mph) unless it is within a Class II or IV bikeway. However, a local authority may adopt an ordinance or resolution authorizing operation of a motorized scooter on a highway with a posted speed limit of up to 35 mph.
A Class II bikeway provides a striped lane for one-way bike travel on a street or highway. A Class IV bikeway, often referred to as a cycle track or protected bike lane, is for the exclusive use of bicycles, physically separated from motor traffic with a vertical feature. The separation may include, but is not limited to, grade separation, flexible posts, inflexible barriers, or on-street parking. Separated bikeways can provide for one-way or two-way travel.
A motorized scooter may not be operated at a speed in excess of 15 mph on all highways, including bikeways, regardless of a higher speed limit applicable to the highway.
Vehicle Code (VC) §21226(d) prohibits alteration of the exhaust system of a motorized scooter.