law and policy| legal knowledge on California scooters and electric bicycles
California law defines and distinguishes between mopeds, scooters and electric bikes.In California, scooters and e-bikes do not require a motorcycle license or DMV registration.Mopeds, on the other hand, require a valid registration and an M1 or M2 license.Operating mopeds on California roads also requires liability insurance.
California Electric Scooter Law
In California, electric scooters are defined as vehicles that perform the following functions:
A floor where you can stand while riding a horse
An electric motor that powers a vehicle
Electric scooters allow the operator to sit down, but that is not the main feature of a scooter under California law.
You can operate a pedal motorcycle with any level of license in California.This means you don't need a license specifically for scooters, but you do need a regular license.And while scooters are street legal, they don't need to be registered in the DMV or carry a license plate.
While on the road, minibike drivers must abide by the same traffic and safety regulations as all other vehicles.However, California also has some restrictions specific to scooters:
Drivers must always wear helmets that comply with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
You cannot pedal a scooter on a road with a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour unless there is a bike lane. In this case, you can only ride a scooter inside the pedals.
Like other vehicles, electric scooters should not be operated on sidewalks.
There can be no passengers on the pedals, only the driver.
Electric scooters should not travel at more than 15 miles per hour on the road.
These rules apply to standard electric scooters.Motorized scooters, on the other hand, can travel at up to 30 miles per hour on the road.However, the law applies only to motor scooters operated by elderly or physically disabled persons.
California e-bike Law
E-bikes (also known as e-bikes) are similar to mopeds, but California law treats them differently.Electric bikes are defined by pedals and motors smaller than 750 watts.
E-bikes are divided into three categories:
Class 1 Electric bike: A bike with an electric motor that activates when the rider pedals and deactivates when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour.
Class 2 Electric bicycles: A bicycle with an electric motor that pushes a bicycle without pedaling.
When the bike reaches 20 miles an hour, the motor doesn't help.
Class 3 electric bikes: bikes with speedometers and pedal-assisted electric motors that stop powering the bike once it reaches 28 miles per hour.
You must be at least 16 years old to operate a level 3 e-bike.
E-bikes are legal on the streets in California, but you don't need a license or registration to operate them on the roads.However, if an e-cyclist is under 18 or operating a level 3 e-bike, he or she must wear a DOT approved helmet.Also, e-bikes can only be ridden by one person at a time - you can't carry passengers.
Do you need to insure mopeds or scooters in California?
In California you need insurance to ride a bicycle, not an electric scooter.
When operating an electric scooter in California, you do not need to bring insurance. This insurance is completely optional.Mopeds, on the other hand, have the same insurance requirements as motorcycles.In order to ride a bicycle in California, you need minimum liability insurance:
$15,000 per person for bodily injury insurance
$30,000 per accident bodily injury insurance
$5,000 per accident property damage insurance
If you have already leased or financed a motorcycle, the lender may enforce its own set of insurance requirements as part of the loan agreement.These may require you to buy insurance above the state minimum.