Do I Need a Driver’s License for Adult eScooters?

ALT: Guy wearing a helmet standing with his Swagger 8 Foldable eScooter on campus.

Deep inside, most people are just dying to zip around the city on an electric scooter. You might even have a picture in your mind of how cool it would be zooming around on two or three wheels. And thanks to SWAGTRON® electric eScooters, that inner dream can now be a reality.

But getting in trouble with the law can quickly turn your exciting daydream into a nightmare. After all, nothing can spoil your scooter fun faster than finding out that your riding status is not exactly “legal.” So, let’s answer the question that’s on many riders’ minds:

Do I need a license to enjoy my adult eScooter?

Licensing statues for eScooters depend on how each individual state classifies adult eScooters and sets the minimum age of the rider. There’s no federal definition of what an electric scooter is, nor are there regulations concerning it. So it’s up to each state—and in some cases, each city—to make their own regulations.

For example, in Arizona, an electric scooter is classified as an electric bicycle, and its speed can’t go over 20 miles an hour. That’s really not very fast, given that some humans can run eight miles an hour faster! (We’re looking at you, Usain Bolt!)

But because of that requirement, the Grand Canyon State doesn’t place any restrictions on riders and doesn’t require anyone to get a license to ride an eScooter in public. At least there’s a benefit to going slower than Usain.

Guy wearing helmet riding a Swagger 7 Folding eScooter.

On the other hand, Iowa sometimes classifies these electronic scooters as mopeds, which means they require riders to be at least 14 years old and have some type of license to use the vehicle in public. However, not everyone who operates an electronic scooter wants to ride one in public, making the point entirely moot. To decide if you need to worry about registering your adult eScooter, take a hard look at state and local laws and how you plan to use your scooter.

Will You Ride in Public?

If you don’t plan to ever take your scooter onto a public path, you don’t have to worry about registering your adult eScooter or concern yourself with any state restrictions. It’s that simple. But you also must make sure to confine your scooter to your own property at all times. The glory of riding on your property, though is, you can ride as fast as you want without worrying about anything but the trees and an occasional chipmunk.

If you do plan to ride in public—especially a crowded public area—you need to look up your state’s requirements and make sure that you’ve followed all of your state’s rules before you venture out on your adult eScooter. Some states allow you to ride anywhere if you have a license, and some restrict you to pathways, but every state has rules to follow on this subject. Break the rules, and you might have to pay a fine.

Guy wearing helmet riding his Swagger 8 eScooter on campus.

Do You Need to Register?

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to ride in public, look into whether you need a simple license, a license and a permit, or nothing at all for your adult eScooter. Some states, such as Maryland and Kentucky, don’t require you to register your vehicle at all. They consider eScooters to be a separate category from mopeds because eScooters don’t have an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, as is the case in Lexington, Kentucky, this distinction also disqualifies eScooters from use on public streets.

Iowa, as mentioned before, technically considers eScooters to be similar to bicycles and expects riders to follow all bicycle rules of the road.

Is Any Special Equipment Required?

Much like cars require seat belts and motorcycles require a helmet, eScooters can come with similar regulations. For example, Michigan expects all riders to wear a helmet until age 19, whereas in Minnesota, it’s 18. Before you hit the road on your scooter, check out if you need any extra equipment. And if you’re in the market for a helmet, why not go all out with Bluetooth capability and LED lights for safety.

Couple holding out their helmets.

What’s the Age Limit?

It might seem weird to talk about age limits for an electronic scooter. Still, eScooters are considered vehicles and may be limited to age 18 and over without a special permit. In many cases, if you have a driver’s license, your state considers you’re covered to ride an electric scooter. Sometimes, however, you might need a little bit of extra documentation.

For example, if you’re under the age of 18, you might need to get a specific permit that says you’re allowed to operate an eScooter in public. As with all situations, you need to check with your state to see if you have any additional requirements.

An eScooter is a great way to move about in style, especially when the weather is at its best. Due to their extreme popularity, state and local governments are continually enacting new regulations to help keep riders safe. Since eScooter laws are changing all the time, check before you ride. That way, you get all the fun without any headaches.

Last Update: November 3, 2021  

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