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In Illinois, there are different laws and regulations for scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles in terms of licensing, operation and insurance. In general, scooters and mopeds are required to be registered and insured while motorized bikes are not. Furthermore, scooters require special licensing (Class M or L) while mopeds can be ridden legally in Illinois with just any class of driver's license, and no license is required to operate a motorized bike.
|License required||Registration required||Insurance required|
|Moped||Yes (any class)||Yes||Yes|
|Scooter (Motor-driven cycle)||Class L or Class M||Yes||Yes|
Illinois Moped Laws
Illinois laws state that mopeds can be ridden with a current valid driver's license of any classification. Mopeds can be ridden on on public roads in most cases are subject to many of the same operating regulations that apply to bicycles—meaning moped riders must obey traffic signs and travel in the same direction as other vehicles. Additionally, mopeds must be registered with the state of Illinois, have liability insurance and have one rear-facing license plate displayed. Registering a moped is the same as it is for a motorcycle and comes with a $41 fee.
In Illinois, a moped is classified as a two-wheeled vehicle that has the following characteristics:
- Is capable of attaining a speed of between 20 mph and 30 mph within one mile
- Has with an engine that is capable of producing no more than two horsepower
- If equipped with an internal combustion engine, the displacement cannot exceed 50cc
- Doesn't require the rider to shift gears
Any vehicles that do not meet these four criteria are classified as motor-driven cycle which require a class L license to be ridden.
Pocket bikes (or mini-bikes) are usually not street legal in Illinois. In general, if a vehicle cannot be registered with the state of Illinois, they cannot be legally ridden on public roads. Since mini-bikes typically can't be registered, their operation is restricted to private property.
Chicago Moped Laws
Mopeds in Chicago are subject to the same laws and restrictions that we outline above for the state of Illinois as a whole. Additionally, Chicago moped owners are required to purchase a city motorbike vehicle sticker—which costs $46.49 per year. Moped owners that reside outside of Chicago, but ride and park their moped within the city are also required to purchase a city vehicle sticker.
Illinois Scooter Laws
In Illinois, scooters—officially designated as motor-driven cycles—can be ridden with a Class L or M license. They also have to be registered and have the minimum amount of liability insurance.
Scooters or motor-driven cycles are defined as vehicles having two, three or four wheels and an engine of less than 150cc. When operating a scooter, you are required to wear eye protection or a protective transparent windshield. Additionally, to be legally ridden at night, a scooter has to have a headlight that is visible from 500 feet away and a tail light that is visible from 100 to 600 feet away.
Illinois Laws for Electric Kick Scooters
The electric kick scooters that have been brought to national attention by short-term rental services such as Bird and Lime do not require any special licensing. Generally, these vehicles can be ridden on public roads, though local laws may limit where or whether they can be ridden. Furthermore, scooter riders do not have to wear head protection, as there are no helmet laws in Illinois.
Illinois Electric Bicycle Laws
Low-speed electric or gas powered bicycles are can be legally ridden on streets and bike paths in Illinois, unless local authorities have restricted their use within their jurisdiction. These vehicles are subject to the same laws as bicycles, do not require registration or insurance, and can only be ridden by those that are 16 or older. Low-speed electric or gas powered bikes are defined as having fully functional pedals and an electric motor (less than 750 watts) or gas motor that produces less than one horsepower.
Low-speed electric bicycles are split up into three classes:
- Class 1: Motor provides power only when the operator is pedaling and does not do so when the bicycle is going 20 mph or faster.
- Class 2: Motor can be used to provide power even when the rider is not pedaling, but isn't capable of doing so when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
- Class 3: Motor engages only when the operator is pedaling and provides assistance up to when the bike reaches 28 mph.
Illinois Scooter and Moped Insurance Laws
Illinois requires all registered vehicles—including mopeds, scooters (or motor-driven cycles) and motorcycles—to maintain liability insurance, which covers damage to others and their property in the event of an accident. Below, we outline the required forms of liability insurance and their minimum limits in Illinois.
|Coverage Type||Minimum Coverage Limit|
|Bodily Injury Liability||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage Liability||$20,000 per accident|
Illinois Insurance Costs: Moped vs. Scooter vs. Motorcycle
According to our research of insurance rates for an 18-year-old living in Chicago, insuring a moped is 8% more expensive than insuring a scooter. Annual insurance costs for a moped were $301 compared to $280 for a scooter. However, both of these rates are less expensive than the cost of insuring a motorcycle in Chicago, which we found to be $548 per year.