Motorized Scooters

Question

Nir asked: I’m trying to find if driving an electric stand kick scooter is legal or not, and where it’s allowed.

For example, the scooter I own is a EcoReco, max speed 20mph, 250 watts, with no seat.

https://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/bulletins/2003/Scooter_fact.htm

this bulletin states: “This type scooter cannot be titled or registered in this state, and cannot be operated on the roadways or sidewalks of this state.”

https://www.flhsmv.gov/courts/latestinfo/ScootersSegwaysMopedsandElectricBicycles.pdf

over here it states: “MOTORIZED SCOOTER.–Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground. ”

and “According to Florida law, motorized scooters, go-peds, and pocket bikes are considered motor vehicles. However, because motorized scooters, go-peds, and pocket bikes are not manufactured to meet the required federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act, they cannot be registered for operation on public roadways, even if the operator has a valid driver’s license.”

http://fdhsmv.rapidinsites.com/answer/scooters-mopeds-and-motorized-bicycles

then I found this from 2014, that states that it is legal: “Mopeds, scooters, motorized bicycles and other two or three wheel motor vehicles that are 50 cc or less are not motorcycles by legal definition, so a motorcycle endorsement is not required.”

“However, they are a motor vehicle, so to operate them on streets and roadways, you must be at least 16 years old and hold at least a regular operator’s license (Class E) or “Motorcycle Only” driver license. Mopeds, motorized bicycles and gas powered scooters are not to be operated with a Learner’s license, regardless of age.”

https://www.flhsmv.gov/handbooks/EnglishMotorcycleHandbook.pdf

This handbook states: “Motorized Scooter: Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground. ”

“3.2.5 – Motorized Scooters: (Not Legal on Public Streets or Sidewalks) Though considered motor vehicles in section 322.01(26) Florida Statutes and tag/registration law, the registration laws do not provide for registration of these vehicles, thus they cannot be operated on public streets or highways. If operated on a public roadway anyway, regardless of a person’s age, law enforcement officers can require the person to show at least a valid operator (Class E) license as per driver license law they are considered motor vehicles (Statute Ref: s. 322.03(1) and 322.01(26). F.S.)”

The amount of information available is so broad that I just can’t figure out if it is legal or not.

Answer

The applicable traffic statutes are more concise. Motor scooters cannot be legally operated on sidewalks or public roads in Florida.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(82) Motorized Scooter – Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.

s. 316.2128 – Operation of Motorized Scooters and Miniature Motorcycles; Requirements for Sales

(1) …. motorized scooters or miniature motorcycles …. are not legal to operate on public roads, may not be registered as motor vehicles, and may not be operated on sidewalks ….

Posted in Ask Geo, Motorized Bicycles
5 comments on “Motorized Scooters
  1. Sir Randall says:

    Would an electric unicycle (EUC) or segway be considered a “motorized scooter”? It has no seat, travels on 1 or 2 wheels and no faster than 30 mph.

  2. Geo says:

    Segways and similar devices are covered by these statutes:

    s. 316.003 – Definitions
    (21) Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device – Any self-balancing, two-nontandem-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system with average power of 750 watts (1 horsepower), the maximum speed of which, on a paved level surface when powered solely by such a propulsion system while being ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour. Electric personal assistive mobility devices are not vehicles as defined in this section.

    s. 316.2068 – Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices; Regulations
    (1) An electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined in s. 316.003, may be operated:
    (a) On a road or street where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.
    (b) On a marked bicycle path.
    (c) On any street or road where bicycles are permitted.
    (d) At an intersection, to cross a road or street even if the road or street has a posted speed limit of more than 25 miles per hour.
    (e) On a sidewalk, if the person operating the device yields the right-of-way to pedestrians and gives an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
    (2) A valid driver license is not a prerequisite to operating an electric personal assistive mobility device.
    (3) Electric personal assistive mobility devices need not be registered and insured in accordance with s. 320.02.
    (4) A person who is under the age of 16 years may not operate, ride, or otherwise be propelled on an electric personal assistive mobility device unless the person wears a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, that is fastened securely upon his or her head by a strap, and that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z Bicycle Helmet Standards), the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation (1984 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling), or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets which are adopted by the department.
    (5) A county or municipality may regulate the operation of electric personal assistive mobility devices on any road, street, sidewalk, or bicycle path under its jurisdiction if the governing body of the county or municipality determines that regulation is necessary in the interest of safety.
    (6) The Department of Transportation may prohibit the operation of electric personal assistive mobility devices on any road under its jurisdiction if it determines that such a prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety.

    A unicycle does not have two or three wheels and is not a bicycle, so the motorized bicycle provision would not apply.

    s. 316 003 – Definitions
    (3) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels.

    Is a motorized unicycle a moped?

    (38) Moped – Any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.

    If so, it must be registered and a driver’s license would be required.

    A non-motorized unicycle would fall under the category of human powered vehicle and the related statutes might apply. It is possible that the operator of a human powered unicycle would have the same rights and duties as other drivers,

    s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
    (1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter ….

    unless the “toy vehicle or similar device” provision of the statute applies.

    (11) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk; and, when so crossing, such person shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians.

    There does not seem to be any prohibition to using a human powered unicycle on the sidewalk but a motorized unicycle would not be permitted.

    s. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path
    (1) …. a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

  3. Nir says:

    Hi.
    Thanks for the response!
    Is there any way to make my scooter legal?
    Does adding a seat/restricting speed etc will affect the legality?
    Thanks!

  4. Nir says:

    Follow up questions:
    1. What could be the outcome of an incounter with law enforcement riding a scooter where not allowed? (Warning, fine, confiscation, arrest, etc)
    2. Is there a difference between riding on road, sidewalk or bike path?

    (Assuming driver is 21, with car drivers licence, riding with helmet and obeying bicycle laws)

    Thanks again!

  5. Geo says:

    Nir,

    Your scooter is not and could not in any way be considered a bicycle or other legal vehicle. Your followup questions are beyond the scope of this site which is intended to present and discuss the laws related to bicycling.

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