The ultimate guide to US kick scooter laws in 2022
July 5, 2022
Are electric scooters legal everywhere in the US? Where can I ride an electric scooter? What are the local scooter laws by state?
These questions have become increasingly common as more companies launch kick scooters and enter the micromobility industry. The recent popularity of kick scooters as a “last-mile” transport option has given rise to a number of ride sharing services. However, personal ownership of kick scooters has also seen an increase, as users realize the convenience of a portable mobility option for everyday life. Many have already discovered the benefits of electric scooters as a commute alternative to a car.
In this article, we have assembled the most important electric kick scooter laws and policies to be aware of in the US, and for each specific state as well.
Please note that laws are constantly changing and updating. You should always confirm the most current electric scooter laws and regulations in your area by contacting your local transportation authorities.
National scooter laws in the US
Scooter sharing services have seen explosive growth and are available in many major cities now, which has brought micromobility to the forefront of US lawmakers’ attention.
Although electric kick scooters are generally legal to ride in the US, where and how you can ride may differ between states. Here are some general guidelines for electric scooters throughout the US:
What is the speed limit for electric scooters?
Electric scooters cannot exceed 20 mph in many states within the US. Other states allow scooters to travel up to 30mph. However, some sharing services have actually limited their electric scooters to a maximum speed of 10-15 mph. For more details about local speed limits, view individual state laws below.
Are electric scooters street legal?
Kick scooters are not allowed on highways or high-speed streets (with a speed limit over 35 mph). Some states may limit scooters to riding on roads with even lower speed limits (see below). At this time, only two states have completely banned scooters from riding on the street: Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Can electric scooters ride on sidewalks?
The laws for riding scooters on sidewalks may be more complicated. It’s always best to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles as to whether this is legal or not. Although only officially banned in 10 states, riding on the sidewalk is at the very least frowned upon in many urban areas, as it can interfere with pedestrian traffic.
What is the minimum age to ride a scooter? Do I need to wear a helmet?
Many states have a minimum rider age of 16, and states also often require a helmet for minors under 18. Others have extended this law to require helmets for all ages, and even if you are not legally obligated to wear a helmet, it is still highly recommended for your safety.
Do electric scooters require a license, registration, or insurance?
For electric kick scooters, North Carolina is the only state that requires registration right now. Nine states have decided to require driver’s licenses to ride a kick scooter, as well. However, this does not apply to other types of electric scooters or mopeds, which would require a license and/or registration. Do I need insurance for my electric scooter? That will also depend on your state’s laws, so check below for more details.
Scooter laws by state
Although electric scooters are legal in Alabama, the state has allowed local governments to further develop upon these laws. For example, in Birmingham, electric kick scooters are classified as motor vehicles and require similar licensing and registration to a motorcycle. Other cities like Auburn and Tuscaloosa do not allow scooters on city streets.
Because Alaska lacks regulations specific to electric kick scooters, they are considered “motor driven cycles”, which means riders will need a motorcycle permit. For 14 and 15 year olds, an M2 permit is required, while an M1 or M3 permit is required for those 16 and older. The power output of electric scooters should not exceed 750W.
In Arizona, electric kick scooters are classified similar to bikes. So long as they weigh less than 75 lbs., have handlebars, and do not exceed 20mph, no license, registration, or insurance is required.
Despite the legal top speed of 20 mph for electric scooters in Arkansas, users are generally not permitted to ride faster than 15 mph. These scooters should also not exceed 100 lbs. Riders must be at least 16 years old to operate an electric kick scooter.
Electric scooters are not allowed to exceed 15 mph on any public roads or bike lanes in California. They are also restricted to streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. Users under 18 are required to wear a helmet when riding.
Colorado laws allow for electric scooters to ride on streets with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. Unless otherwise specified, electric scooters should also follow the same rules as bicycles when traveling on the road. If that is not possible, then you may ride your scooter on the sidewalk, but must travel no faster than 6 mph.
Similar to other states, electric scooters must abide by similar laws to bicycles. Riders under 16 must wear a helmet. Electric scooters in Connecticut are limited to a speed of 20 mph and riders are not allowed on sidewalks.
Unlike most other states, Delaware has very tight restrictions on kick scooters. Electric scooters are not currently allowed on streets, sidewalks, or highways. That effectively bans users from riding their electric scooters in any public places. In the event you are able to find a legal location to ride, helmets are required for any riders under 16.
District of Columbia
Electric scooters do not require a license, registration, or insurance in Washington D.C. as they are not classified as motor vehicles. Helmets are not a requirement, but riders must be 16 years old and cannot ride on sidewalks. You are also prohibited from wearing headphones while riding a scooter. For sharing scooters, all riders under 18 must wear a helmet and scooters should be locked to racks or poles when not in use.
In Florida, those who ride electric kick scooters must be at least 16 years old. No license is required to ride. Scooters should stay in bike lines and operate under bicycle laws. Scooters are also limited to 30 mph.
As far as US scooter laws are concerned, Hawaii does not have At this time, Hawaii lacks specific regulations for electric kick scooters, and does not clearly allow or ban scooters on roads. Though you may not be stopped, you should ride at your own risk.
The state of Idaho does not have specific laws related to electric kick scooters. However, in the city of Boise, electric scooters can be used on streets and sidewalks. There are also no helmet requirements for scooters, similar to bikes.
Although not officially passed yet, Illinois has introduced legislation to classify electric scooters and establish laws so that they should obey the same laws as bicycles. If you are under 17, you must have a valid driver’s license to ride. Scooters should be equipped with front and rear lights in order to ride at night.
Iowa has not fully passed electric kick scooter regulations as of yet. However, in the bill, electric scooters should weigh less than 100 lbs. and cannot exceed 20 mph, similar to other states. The laws, if passed, would classify electric scooters similar to bikes, which would allow them to ride on roads, sidewalks, and bike paths.
Although electric kick scooters are legal in Kansas, riders should have a valid driver’s license to operate one. Helmet are not required when riding, but scooters are prohibited on sidewalks and highways.
Electric scooters are not allowed to exceed 20 mph in Maine. For night riding, electric kick scooters must also have a functional white light on the front, and red light on the back, along with reflectors on the vehicle. The vehicle is also limited to 10″ diameter wheels and maximum motor power of 750W. Riders must also have a license to use their scooter.
Without laws specific to electric kick scooters, these vehicles would fall under similar laws to mopeds within Massachusetts. All riders must wear a helmet and have a valid driver’s license. Scooters cannot exceed 20 mph, and riders must yield to pedestrians and provide audible signals when passing.
Within the state of Michigan, electric scooters fall under “electric skateboard” classification. They cannot exceed 25 mph, nor can it surpass 2500W of motor power. Electric kick scooters must stay on streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. The scooter should be equipped with a white front light that is visible from 500 ft and a rear reflector visible from 600 ft away.
Electric scooters in Minnesota are limited to traveling at 15 mph or less. These “motorized foot scooters” must also have wheels that are maximum 12″ in diameter. Riders need to be 12 years old, and helmets are a must for anyone under 18.
As of the publishing of this article, the state of Mississippi currently has no statewide regulations applicable to electric kick scooters. If you plan to ride in this state, check with your local authorities for specific laws regarding scooters.
For kick scooters in Missouri, a driver’s license is required. Scooters can travel in the street or in bike lanes as well. If the scooter can travel above 30 mph, then it will be classified separately as a motorcycle rather than a “motorized bicycle”.
Similar to Missouri, electric scooters fall under a “motorized bicycle” class in Montana. Scooting on the sidewalk is not allowed, and riders must yield to pedestrians. When riding an electric kick scooter, you need to provide a verbal warning when passing and obey all normal traffic laws.
Although Nebraska has yet to pass state legislation regarding electric scooters, riders should still obey standard traffic laws when riding on the road. Operating a scooter on the sidewalk is still considered illegal. Registration for kick scooters is not required.
In order to meet the New Jersey state classification as “low speed electric scooters”, the vehicle should not exceed 19 mph. Otherwise, bicycle laws are generally applicable for kick scooters. New Jersey does not require a license, insurance, or registration in order to ride. However, you should consult your local government authorities regarding sidewalk riding laws.
Without specific regulations for electric kick scooters throughout New Mexico, local governments are left to regulate scooters their own communities. Check with your local authorities to see what scooter laws apply in your area.
In accordance with New York state laws, electric scooter riders must be 16 years old and anyone under 18 is required to wear a helmet while riding. Sidewalk riding is not permitted, and riders must also stay on streets with a speed limit of 30 mph or less.
Electric kick scooters are classified as normal vehicles in North Carolina. Therefore, they must be registered and riders are required to have a valid driver’s license. When riding, scooters are only allowed on streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or lower.
Due to a lack of laws applicable to only electric kick scooters, legislation regarding mopeds would be applicable in North Dakota. Riders cannot travel on sidewalks or bike paths, and must wear a motorcycle helmet if under 18. All electric scooters should be equipped with a front and rear light, and brakes.
Similar to other states, Ohio has legalized electric scooters that do not exceed 20 mph or 100 lbs. in vehicle weight. Ohio also does not require a license or registration to operate kick scooters on a state level.
Without statewide electric scooter laws at this time, scooter legislation is left to local communities in Oklahoma. Riders should check with their local authorities to confirm legal riding practices in their area.
While also lacking specific regulations for electric scooters, Oregon’s moped laws are applicable to kick scooters in this case. Riders should be 16 years old, and should not exceed 15 mph on their vehicles. Scooters are not allowed on sidewalks as well.
At this time, Pennsylvania is one of the only states where it is illegal to ride electric scooters on public roads. Although the DMV classifies scooters similarly to bikes, there is conflicting information from the state government, and thus, electric scooters cannot legally operate on the street.
For now, Rhode Island has not passed statewide law to regulate electric scooters. That being said, city governments are taking initiative to pass their own scooter laws. Some cities require a valid driver’s license (or ID), and will allow riders to use streets or sidewalks. Riders should check with their local authorities for additional details, and always follow normal Rhode Island traffic laws when using the road.
In an absence of state electric kick scooter laws, South Carolina has allowed cities to create their own regulations. Some cities, such as Charleston and Columbia, have banned electric scooters outright. If outside one of those two cities, you should confirm with local authorities about relevant scooter laws.
With moped laws applied to electric scooters in South Dakota, that means riders will need a vehicle with mirrors, lights, and brakes. Plus, license, registration, and insurance are required to ride as well. Riders also need eye protection in order to ride legally, and anyone under 18 needs a helmet.
Categorizing electric scooters similar to e-bikes, they must weigh less than 100 lbs. and cannot exceed 20 mph. They cannot ride on sidewalks unless otherwise specified by local authorities. They should also include front and rear lights (or reflectors), and brakes.
Electric kick scooters are only allowed on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or lower. There are no license, registration, or insurance requirements for scooters at this time. Electric scooters in Texas should have a motor that does not exceed 750W of power.
Like other states, Utah has classified electric kick scooters similarly to bicycles. They do not require a license or registration. Although they can travel on roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less, riders are not allowed to scoot more than 15 mph. Utah also requires parent or guardian supervision for riders under age 15.
Kick scooter riders in Vermont are required to stay on roads, are not permitted to ride on sidewalks. Some cities have also imposed their own speed limits on scooters, so be sure to check with local authorities for those details.
Although allowing electric scooters on both streets and bike lanes, they are not to exceed 15 mph in Washington state. The vehicle must also have reflectors when riding at night. On a state level, riders must be 16 years old (unless specified by a local authority). Riding on the sidewalk is determined by local authorities, so check first before doing so.
Although not specific to electric scooters, West Virginia recently passed laws to regulate e-bikes. Also, they do not require a license, registration, or insurance. It’s likely that the state will adopt similar rules for electric scooters, when regulated.
While not specific to electric kick scooters, the state of Wyoming law does not require a license or registration for e-bikes and electric skateboards. Thus, electric scooters should adhere to electric skateboard and e-bike laws.
Even if your state does not require it, we always recommend wearing a helmet, using clearly visible lighting for night rides, and taking any necessary safety precautions to ensure you and others are protected while riding an electric scooter.
If you are interested in possibly owning an electric scooter yourself, check out the NIU KQi3 kick scooter, which is now available in the US. It features a wide deck for comfortable riding, a high visibility headlight and rear light, wider tires for extra grip, and much more, all in a variety of color options.
Thank you for reading and enjoy your scooter adventure!