Electric scooters have been growing in popularity and are becoming more of a common sight on our streets. But are electric scooters street-legal everywhere in the United States? The Parker Waichman team scoured the scooters, mopeds, etc. section of DMV.org for each of the 50 states to learn more about the states’ electric scooter laws. We looked at the following factors: if they are street-legal; if they can be ridden in public areas like sidewalks or bike paths; the maximum speed allowed; the minimum age to ride; whether a license is required and what type; if a title, registration, and/or insurance is required; if a helmet or eye protection is required; and the motor displacement and/or power requirement to be classified as a motorized scooter.
All but two of the 50 states had some electric scooter legislation. In South Carolina, a statewide electric scooter law has yet to be ratified. And Wyoming has no information on electric scooter laws available: DMV.org recommends that residents call their county treasurer and “hope for the best.”
Many of the states allow counties and cities to set their own electric scooter regulations, so we do advise checking with your state or local municipality before riding a scooter to avoid fines and other penalties.
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Are Electric Scooters Street-Legal?
Electric scooters are street-legal in 38 of the U.S. states, while another ten states have deemed them to not be street-legal. While electric scooters are street-legal in a majority of the states, some state have applied additional laws to where and how scooters can be operated while on public roadways. Four states, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York, do not allow scooters on highways, expressways, or limited-access roads due to most scooters not being able to reach safe enough speeds to keep up with the traffic. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, and Virginia have added the stipulation that while scooters are street-legal, they must stay to the right side of the road while being ridden.
States Where Electric Scooters Are Street-Legal
- California (except freeways/expressways)
- Colorado (except interstate or limited-access roads)
- Connecticut (must stay to the right)
- Indiana (must stay to the right)
- Maine (must stay to the right)
- Massachusetts (except interstate or limited-access roads; must stay to the right)
- New Mexico
- New York (except interstate or limited-access roads)
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Virginia (must stay to the right)
- West Virginia
States Where Electric Scooters Are Not Street-Legal
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
Can Electric Scooters Be Ridden on Sidewalks?
Electric scooters can legally be ridden on sidewalks in only five states: Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Virginia. While a majority of the states expressly state that scooters are not allowed on sidewalks, the laws in 19 states fail to mention sidewalk use at all. Many states consider electric scooter speeds to be too dangerous for sidewalks where pedestrians, bicyclists, or even the scooter users themselves could be injured in an accident.
States Where Scooters Can Legally Be Ridden on Sidewalks
- Rhode Island