License to Ride an Electric Motorcycle in the United States

Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Motorcycle in the United States

You might already know and understand how the law classifies standard vehicles and what license is required to use them. But some people do think that electric motorcycles do not need a driver’s license to operate them.

Is it true that you can ride an electric motorcycle without a driver’s license?

We are going to debunk this mystery once and for all in this guide. So keep reading to find which states require a license to ride an electric motorcycle.

What License Do I Need for an Electric Motorcycle?

What License Do I Need for an Electric Motorcycle

You will need a Class M1 license to ride an electric motorcycle. It also includes all full-fledged motorcycles that run on electricity that have more than 150cc horsepower.

Apart from electric motorcycles, you can operate electric scooters, electric mopeds, and electric motor-equipped bicycles. If you have an electric motorcycle with a sidecar, too, or it features three wheels, you will need a Class C driver’s license to operate it.

Another type of this license is a Class M2 license. It is more restive and suitable for those looking to ride electric mopeds and electric bicycles in the streets with top speeds not exceeding 28 miles an hour. If such a vehicle exceeds this top speed, it will require a Class M1 license to ride an electric motorcycle for such speeds.

What Electric Motorcycle Models Can I Ride Without a License?

Electric Motorcycle Models Without a License

One cannot ride any type of motorcycle without a driver’s license. All motorcycles, including those mopeds and scooters that run on electricity, require a driver’s license to operate them.  You can only ride without a driver’s license on an eBike or an electric bike. You do not need a license to operate all types of electric bikes.

These include the Class 3 electric bikes that can reach a top speed of up to 28 miles an hour, according to HB 727. But, for motorcycles that come with a top speed of over 28 miles an hour, you may require a license to ride an electric motorcycle such as these.

The current development and fast evolution of electric bikes are thinning the differences between these bikes and electric motorcycles. Newer electric bikes can run as fast as electric motorcycles. For instance, HPC Scout Pro, HPC Revolution, Vintage Electric Tracker, M55, and Nyx Bike.

Some bikes might look more like electric motorcycles than eBikes. These include the Stealth electric Bike, Retro Onyx, Caterham Carbon, Black Trail, and Juiced Scorpion. All these eBikes that we have mentioned can exceed the maximum speed of 28 miles an hour, so you need a driver’s license to operate them in the US. But the license requirements do vary from one state to another.

All eBikes come with pedals. It is a must-have feature for all eBikes. However, not all 2-wheeled vehicles come with pedals, so not all of them fall in the bike category. For example, mopeds are motorcycles with pedals. Therefore, you will always need a license to ride a moped, even if it goes slower than an eBike.

Driver’s License Requirement for Electric Motorcycles by State

Before you choose an electric motorcycle to ride, you must understand the licensing requirements of your state. You need a license to ride an electric motorcycle no matter in which state you are.

Since these laws vary by state, we will talk about each state and its licensing requirements for electric motorcycles briefly in the below section.

Alabama

A license to ride an electric motorcycle is a must in this state. In the State of Alabama, all 50cc or under motorized vehicles fall under motor-driven cycles. These include scooters, motorized bikes, and mopeds. You might operate them at a younger age. However, you will need to apply for a B Class restricted motorcycle license with ALEA. The same goes with motorized vehicles over 50cc. These include electric motorized vehicles.

Alaska

The State of Alaska requires a rider to have a Class M1 (over 50cc) and Class M2 (under 50cc) motorcycle license to operate either an electric motorcycle that is under or over 50cc horsepower. It also includes electric motorcycles, mopeds, and eBikes.

Arizona

A driver’s license is required for any motor-driven cycle, including electric motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. The speed of vehicles that exceed 20 miles an hour is considered motor-driven vehicles in this state. And for that, you will need a driver’s license or endorsement.

Arkansas

In this state, you will need a driver’s license Class M or Class MD to operate any motor-driven cycles, including electric motors. These include scooters, small motorcycles (under 250cc), and mopeds. Class MD license is for riders between 14 to 16 years old.

California

Driver License Requirement in California

In California, motorized scooters are street legal, but they do not need a driver’s license. But you will need to have a Class M1 license for any motor-driven cycles or motorcycles with 2 or 3 wheels greater than 150cc horsepower.

Colorado

Electric mopeds need to have 50cc or 4476W of electric motor. And the same goes for electric scooters. If it is over 50cc and has 2 or 3 wheels, then it is considered a motorcycle. And for that, you need to have a driver’s license.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, any vehicle under 50cc should at least feature a 26-inch high motor-driven cycle. Anything over 50cc and a sat height over 26 inches is considered a motorcycle. Therefore, you will need a Class D driver’s license.

Delaware

There are no laws for electric motorcycles in this state. But the state does define mopeds as 2-wheel bicycles with no pedals with an engine size less than 55cc and top speeds of over 25 miles an hour.  But you do need to have a driver’s license to ride this moped.

District of Columbia

DC defines motorized bicycles as any vehicle with 2 to 3 wheels that are 16-inch in diameter and have a maximum speed of 35 miles an hour with no more than 50cc horsepower engine. If it is higher than, then DC considers it a motorcycle and includes electric motorcycles. To operate them on roads, you will need a valid driver’s license.

Florida

Driver License Requirement in Florida

In Florida, a moped has a seat, pedals for propulsion, three or fewer wheels, 50cc displacement, and a top speed of 30 miles an hour. Anything over these mandatories and a vehicle will be considered as a motorcycle, and for that, you need a driver’s license in Florida.

Georgia

Georgia defines all vehicles as mopeds if they have displacement under 50cc and a top speed of under 30 miles an hour. If it is more than that, then your vehicle is considered to be a motorcycle. And for that, you will need to have a driver’s license and must be at least 15 years old.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, motorized scooters are considered similar to motorcycles. They both have similar laws, and you will need to have a valid driver’s license to operate them.

Idaho

In Idaho, mopeds and motor-driven cycles are considered the same. They need to have pedal and motor propulsion with top speeds not exceeding 30 miles an hour. They can have 2 or 3 wheels with an engine displacement of under 50cc, along with the automatic drive. If the vehicle does not meet these criteria, it is considered to be a motorcycle. And you will need a valid driver’s license for that.

Illinois

Illinois considers a vehicle a moped if it does not exceed 30 miles an hour and has a no bigger engine than 50cc. It includes electric-powered vehicles too. If it exceeds these limits, it is considered to be a motorcycle. Therefore, you will need a Class L driver’s license.

Indiana

For mopeds, the top speed should not exceed 25 miles an hour with an engine displacement of no more than 50cc. It also needs to have automatic transmission. Otherwise, it will be considered a motorcycle. Scooters and motorbikes also fall into the same categories. You will need a valid driver’s license to operate any vehicle that falls into the motorcycle category.

Iowa

Iowa considers mopeds similar to bicycles with 2 to 3 wheels and a top speed of up to 30 miles an hour without human propulsion. To operate it, you will need a permit if you are under 18 and an intermediate license if you are between 16 and 17. If you are over 18, you will need a driver’s license if your vehicle is more powerful than 50cc and can surpass the speeds of 30 miles an hour.

Kansas

If your vehicle has 2 to 3 wheels, has pedals or motor, and features a motor no bigger than 130cc, it is considered a moped in Kansas. If it exceeds these specifications, it is a motorcycle. You will need to have a driver’s license to operate it.

Kentucky

Driver License Requirement in Kentucky

If your vehicle features a 50cc engine, does not exceed 30 miles an hour top speed, and has an automatic transmission, it is considered a moped. Vehicles exceeding these specifications fall in the motorcycle category, and you will need a valid driver’s license to operate them.

Louisiana

You will need a driver’s license in Louisiana if your vehicle has more than 50cc engine displacement and exceeds 25 miles an hour speed. But, you do not need a license to operate a vehicle that does not meet these specifications.

Maine

If your vehicle is not bigger than 50cc or 1500W and has 2 to 3 wheels that are 10 inches in diameter, features an automatic transmission, and does not have a top speed of over 30 miles an hour, it is not considered a motorcycle. You will need a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle that exceeds these specifications.

Maryland

Scooters and mopeds in Maryland have 50cc or less displacement and a top speed of fewer than 30 miles an hour. They must have a standing base and step-through design with automatic transmission. Otherwise, it’s a motorcycle, and you will need a driver’s license to run such a vehicle.

Massachusetts

Mopeds and scooters in Massachusetts should not exceed a top speed of 30 miles an hour. They should also feature an engine that is smaller than 50cc. Otherwise, it is classified as a motorcycle, and you will need a valid license to run it.

Michigan

If your vehicle is not able to exceed 30 miles an hour and it does not feature a bigger displacement than 50cc but does come with an automatic transmission, it is categorized as a moped. If it exceeds these specs, it is a motorcycle, and you must have a driver’s license to run this vehicle.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, a vehicle is considered to be a moped if it does not have a displacement bigger than 50cc and it cannot go over 30 miles an hour. If it does, it is a motorcycle, and to operate it, you will need a driver’s license.

Mississippi

Mopeds and motorcycles are considered to be the same in Mississippi. Therefore, the laws that apply to motorcycle operations also apply to a moped operation. And you will need a driver’s license to operate them in this state.

Missouri

Vehicles that have 2 to 3 wheels and automatic transmission, along with an engine under 50cc and a top speed of fewer than 30 miles an hour, are considered to be moped. Anything more than these specs and is categorized as a motorcycle. Missouri requires all motorcyclists to have a driver’s license.

Montana

In Montana, a moped or motorized bicycle has 2 or 3 wheels and a max speed of 30 miles an hour with an engine no bigger than 50cc. A vehicle more powerful than this will require you to have a driver’s license.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, a vehicle is considered a motorcycle if it has a bigger engine than 50cc and it can go with a top speed of over 30 miles an hour. The vehicle should have automatic transmission and should not have any pedals. To operate it, you will need a driver’s license.

Nevada

Any vehicle under over 50cc or 1500W output with a top speed of over 30 miles an hour and without automatic transmission is considered a motorcycle. To ride this, you will need a valid driver’s license.

New Hampshire

A driver’s license is mandatory to operate a vehicle with a top speed of over 30 miles an hour and an engine bigger than 50cc. It must not come with automatic transmission, too.

New Jersey

A vehicle with a top speed of over 25 miles an hour and an engine bigger than 50cc is considered a motorcycle. And to ride it, you are required to have a driver’s license.

New Mexico

You will need a driver’s license to ride a vehicle with a top speed of more than 30 miles an hour and an engine more powerful than 50cc. It must not feature automatic transmission and should come with 2 to 3 wheels.

New York

Driver License Requirement in New York

You will need a driver’s license for a Class B motorized bike with a top speed of 30 miles an hour. But for Class A motorized bikes with a top speed exceeding 30 miles an hour, you will need a Class M/MJ driver’s license.

North Carolina

Your bike needs to have 2 to 3 wheels, and it must have a top speed of over 30 miles an hour with a displacement of over 50cc. In this case, you will need a valid driver’s license.

North Dakota

Your vehicle must have 2 to 3 wheels, and it should come with a top speed of over 30 miles an hour. The engine should be over 50cc, and it must not come with automatic transmission. For such a vehicle, you will need a driver’s license.

Ohio

A vehicle with over a 50cc engine, 2 to 3 wheels, and a top speed of over 20 miles an hour is considered a motorcycle in Ohio. So, you will need a license to operate it.

Oklahoma

You will need a license to operate a vehicle with 2 to 3 wheels, an engine bigger than 50cc, and a top speed of over 30 miles an hour.

Oregon

Oregon has similar requirements for driver’s licenses to operate electric motorcycles as Oklahoma.

Pennsylvania

You need a license to operate a vehicle that comes with 50cc displacement and a top speed of over 25 mph.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island requires a license for operating a vehicle over 50cc and has a top speed of over 30 mph.

South Carolina

Similar requirements are in South Carolina for a driver’s license as in Rhode Island.

South Dakota

South Dakota also has a similar requirement for a driver’s license as in the case of Rhode Island and South Carolina.

Tennessee

Again, a vehicle that has over 50cc displacement and a top speed of 30 mph will require a driver’s license to operate.

Texas

The top speed should not be more than 30 mph, and the displacement should not be over 50cc, or you must have a license to run your vehicle on roads.

Utah

If your vehicle has no more than three wheels, any sized displacement without pedals, and you want to ride it on a public road, you will need a license.

Vermont

The top speed should not be more than 30 mph, and the engine displacement should not be more than 50cc, or you will need to have a license to operate your vehicle.

Virginia

The engine displacement should not be more than 50cc, and the top speed should not exceed 35 mph, or you will need a license to operate such a vehicle. Moreover, 24 inches seat height is mandatory, too.

Washington

Driver License Requirement in Washington

The rider must have a license to operate a vehicle with more than a 50cc engine and a top speed of over 30 mph.

West Virginia

The vehicle needs to be 50cc or more, and it must come with a top speed of over 30 mph for the rider to have a driver’s license to operate it.

Wisconsin

A vehicle is a motorcycle if its displacement is more than 50cc in automatic transmission and more than 130cc without pedals with top speeds of over 30 miles an hour. It will need the rider to carry a driver’s license while riding.

Wyoming

There are no statewide regulations for electric motorcycles. These regulations change country-wise, and you need to get in touch with the local authorities to get the details about the requirement of driver’s license and minimum specs of vehicle required.

Conclusion

Different states have different conditions. But in most cases, you will see that vehicles that have two or three wheels, have higher displacement than 50cc and top speeds of ranging over 25 to 35 mph you will require a license to ride an electric motorcycle such as these. Different states have different fines, and penalties in place too.

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