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In Illinois, different rules apply to scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles. If you have one of these vehicles or you'd like to get one, you'll need to know about licensing rules, operating laws and insurance coverage. You'll typically need to register and insure scooters and mopeds, but not motorized bikes. Scooters require special licensing (Class M or L), but you can ride mopeds legally using any class of driver's license. No license is required to operate a motorized bike.
|Moped||Yes (any class)||Yes||Yes|
|Scooter (Motor-driven cycle)||Class L or Class M||Yes||Yes|
Helmets are not required in Illinois for moped, scooter or electric bicycle riders.
Illinois moped laws
In Illinois, moped riders need a current valid driver's license of any classification. In most cases, you can drive mopeds on public roads as long as you:
- Obey traffic signs.
- Travel in the same direction as other vehicles.
- Register your moped (typically comes with a fee of $41).
- Buy liability insurance.
- Install one rear-facing license plate.
Not sure what's considered a moped? Here's how Illinois classifies them:
- Within one mile, the vehicle can reach a speed of 20 mph to 30mph.
- The engine can produce up to 2 horsepower.
- For internal combustion engines, the displacement doesn't exceed 50cc.
- The rider doesn't have to shift gears.
Any vehicles that don't meet these four criteria are considered motor-driven cycles, which require a class L license.
Pocket bikes (or mini-bikes) are usually not legal in Illinois. In general, if you can't register a vehicle with the state of Illinois, you can't legally drive it on public roads.
Chicago moped laws
Moped drivers in Chicago are subject to the same state laws and restrictions, but they also must purchase a city motorbike vehicle sticker, which costs around $48 per year. Moped owners that reside outside of Chicago but ride and park their moped within the city are also required to purchase the sticker.
Illinois scooter laws
In Illinois, scooters are officially designated motor-driven cycles. These are vehicles with two, three or four wheels and an engine of less than 150cc. Scooter owners must:
- Use a Class L or M license.
- Register the scooter.
- Maintain at least the minimum amount of liability insurance.
- Wear eye protection or a protective transparent windshield.
- Install a headlight that's visible from 500 feet away.
- Install a tail light that's visible from 100 to 600 feet away.
Illinois laws for electric kick scooters
Electric kick scooters have been brought to national attention by short-term rental services such as Bird and Lime. These vehicles don't require special licensing. People can generally ride electric kick scooters on public roads, but local laws may impose limitations. Scooter riders don't have to wear head protection, as there are no helmet laws in Illinois.
Illinois electric bicycle laws
Illinois residents can generally ride low-speed electric or gas-powered bicycles on streets and bike paths, as long as they abide by local restrictions. This type of vehicle has fully functioning pedals and an electric motor (less than 750 watts) or gas motor that produces less than 1 horsepower. They also:
- Are subject to the same laws as bicycles.
- Don't require registration.
- Don't require insurance.
- Are restricted to people who are 16 or older.
Low-speed electric bicycles are split into three classes:
- Class 1: The motor provides power when the operator pedals up to 20 mph.
- Class 2: The motor provides power even when the rider is not pedaling, but isn't capable of doing so when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
- Class 3: The motor engages only when the operator is pedaling and provides assistance up to 28 mph.
Local municipalities may have additional laws or regulations surrounding these vehicles.
Illinois scooter and moped insurance laws
Illinois requires all registered vehicles — including mopeds, scooters (or motor-driven cycles) and motorcycles — to maintain liability insurance. This type of insurance pays for 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.
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
After checking insurance rates for an 18-year-old living in Chicago, we found that 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.