Laws for Riding Scooters and Mopeds in Florida
Florida has complex laws about motorcycle, moped, scooter, motorized bikes, and all the other types of small vehicles. Part of the reason for this is that there are so many different kinds of these vehicles. Most of the legal differences depend on how fast the vehicle can go. Motorcycles and motor scooters are the fastest, and they have one set of laws. The laws regarding the other slower vehicles depend mainly on whether the vehicle meets basic Florida safety requirements.
Injuries are on the rise for all these kinds of vehicles. That has many causes, including the increasing population in Florida and the fact that wearing a helmet is optional for most riders.
It’s important to understand, especially with the rise of electric scooters that there are different laws and licensing requirements for all these different classes of vehicles. Some of the laws differ based on the city you live in as well.
What’s the difference between a Moped, Scooter, or Motorized Scooter?
- All three of these are similar in that they are usually two-wheeled, open vehicles. Scooters are the most powerful of the three. Some scooters can travel up to 75 mph. Mopeds have the similar step-through frame to a scooter, but their motor is less powerful. Mopeds got their name because they originally all had pedals and were thus motorized pedal vehicles or “Mo-peds.” These days, some mopeds have pedals, and some don’t. Motorcycles, in addition to being more powerful than scooters, also have their engine forward rather than at the back of the vehicle. Motorized scooters don’t have a seat and max out at 30 mph.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know, including all requirements like:
- Safety Requirements
- Where You Can Ride
- And if it’s legal to lane split in Florida.
Florida Scooter Laws
Florida leads the nation with motorcycle accidents and fatalities. Motor scooters are defined as motorcycles under Florida law, so it is hard to be sure of the exact number of injuries and fatalities to scooter riders versus other kinds of motorcycles. Since they travel more slowly, scooter accidents often are different than motorcycle accidents. Typical scooter accidents are rear end collisions, being sideswiped, or rider loss of control of the scooter.
Florida statues have no specific definition for motor scooters, and scooters therefore fall into the same class as motorcycles for most purposes.
- Motor scooters: As with motorcycles, to legally operate a motor scooter, the rider must have a valid Florida driver’s license. But a motorcycle endorsement is not required. In addition, motor scooters require a title and registration to be on Florida’s roads. If the vehicle has a motor displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters, then it requires a motorcycle endorsement license to ride.
- Motorized Scooters: These scooters are defined as vehicles that don’t have a seat, have no more than three wheels, and cannot go over 30 miles per hour on level ground. (FL Stat. 316.003(44) Motorized scooters cannot be title or registered in Florida, and a driver does not have to have a driver’s license for them. However, Florida state law also makes it illegal to operate motorized scooters on sidewalks or streets. The only legal place to operate them under Florida law is on private property. However, Florida state law allows local governments to pass ordinances that amend the prohibition. So, in some cities you may be able to ride a motorized scooter on the road or sidewalk.
Helmet if under 21 years old.
Motor scooters are basically governed by the same laws as for motorcycles in Florida. Scooters have to be registered and licensed. The motorcycle helmet law applies to them. You can’t lane split on a scooter. Since scooters are considered “motor vehicles” in Florida, the financial responsibility law applies so you need to purchase insurance or meet the requirements in one of the other ways allowed. The main difference is that the laws don’t require a motorcycle endorsement on your license to ride a scooter.
Motorized scooters are technically illegal to ride on any public streets or sidewalks in Florida. However, Florida law allows local governments to amend those rules and allow their use. Check with your local ordinances to find out where its legal to ride a motorized scooter in your city.
Florida Moped Laws
Mopeds are an inexpensive and handy way to get around, but they can be deadly. On recent study found that 90% of moped and scooter drivers involved in crashes were uninsured.
Florida law defines a moped as a vehicle with pedals, no more than three wheels, a motor than can’t go over 30 miles per hour on level ground, and automatic gear shifting. If the motor is an internal combustion system, then the displacement cannot exceed 50 cubic centimeters. It’s important to note that a moped is not a “motor vehicle” under Florida law, and so some of the requirements that apply to scooters don’t apply to mopeds.
Helmet not required unless under 16
Road or sidewalk using pedals only
To ride a moped legally in Florida you need to be at least 16 and have a Class E or “Motorcycle Only” driver’s license. The moped also needs to be registered. Although mopeds aren’t “motor vehicles” under Florida law, you still have to obey the traffic laws in Florida when riding your moped. If you cause a wreck, you will be held financially responsible, so it makes sense to purchase insurance. You can ride a moped on all public roads except highways. Highways require a vehicle with a minimum of 5 brake horsepower, which mopeds don’t have. You can ride a moped on a sidewalk, but only when using the pedals, not the motor. Lane-splitting is not allowed on a moped.
There are some special traffic laws for mopeds that are similar to bicycle laws. For example, a moped is allowed to ride on a roadway at less than normal speed, but it should be driven on the right-hand side near the curb. And a moped being ridden only with pedals can operate as a “pedestrian,” meaning the right-of-way laws regarding pedestrians would apply.
Other Two-Wheeled Motorized Vehicles
Motorcycles have their own set of rules that are similar to motor scooters.
Motorized Bicycles can only be operated on the roads or sidewalks if they meet the requirements of a moped. If so, you don’t need a license, but you need to be at least 16 years old.
Gopeds and Pocket Bikes are treated as motor vehicles and have the same requirements. However, most gopeds and pocket bikes don’t meet Florida safety rules and are thus not legal to ride on any public roadway or sidewalk.
A Dirt Bike would be treated as a motor scooter or motorcycle if it meets the definition of either of these two types of vehicles. If not, then the dirt bike can’t be used on public streets.
Other Laws You Should Know About
Tips for Riding Safely
As a Florida motorcycle accident attorney I have a few tips that can help you enjoy riding your moped or scooter while staying safe.
- Tip 1: Remember that other vehicles may not be on the lookout for a scooter or moped. Drive defensively.
- Tip 2: Try to avoid busy roads with more than two lanes. They are more dangerous for slower moving vehicles.
- Tip 3: Wear a helmet, even if it’s not required.
Have you been seriously injured in a moped or scooter accident in Florida?
An attorney can help with:
- Getting your medical bills paid and your scooter repaired.
- Getting you full compensation so you can put your life back together again.
- Dealing with the insurance companies so you don’t have to.
Contact a Gainesville Motorcycle Accident Attorney who has the experience and desire to get you full compensation for your moped or scooter accident injuries. We offer a free case evaluation. Contact us today.