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In Ohio, there are different laws and regulations for scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles in terms of licensing, operation and insurance. Motor scooters are subject to the same requirements as motorcycles and require a motorcycle license or endorsement as well as a motorcycle insurance policy. Mopeds and motorized bikes, on the other hand, generally can be ridden without insurance or a special license — though they do have to be registered with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Ohio electric and motorized scooter laws
In Ohio, to legally operate a scooter you must have a motorcycle/motor scooter endorsement or license. Additionally, from a laws and regulations standpoint, motor scooters are effectively the same as motorcycles in that these vehicles are required to be insured and registered with the state. The annual registration fee for a motor scooter is $28.50.
Motor scooters are defined by Ohio law as vehicles that have the following characteristics:
- Designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground
- A seat for the driver and floorboard for the driver's feet
- A motor with a piston displacement between 50cc and 100cc that produces no more than 5 horsepower
- Is capable of going faster than 20 mph on flat ground
Electric sit-down scooters — such as electric-powered Vespas — that are designed to travel at speeds greater than 20 mph on a level surface are subject to the same laws as motor scooters.
Ohio laws for electric kick scooters
Electric kick scooters — such as those associated with pay-per-minute rental services such as Bird and Lime — are classified differently than motorized scooters in Ohio. To ride these electric scooters, you don't need a motorcycle or motor scooter license. These electric scooters are generally legal to ride on streets or in bike lanes, though regulations about where you can ride may vary based on city ordinances. Ohio helmet laws do not require that electric scooter riders wear helmets.
Ohio moped and motorized bike laws
From a rules and regulations standpoint, the Ohio BMV does not distinguish between mopeds, motorized bikes and electric bikes. In Ohio, a motorized bicycle or moped is defined as a vehicle with two wheels or three wheels (one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear) that may be pedaled and is also equipped with a motor. Mopeds are defined as having the following characteristics:
- Motors no larger than 50cc
- Total power output of at most 1 horsepower
- Not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph on flat ground
Ohio moped license requirements
Individuals who have a valid driver's license do not need to have any sort of extra endorsement or license to operate a moped or motorized bike. However, moped owners are required to register their moped with the BMV and display a rear license plate. The annual vehicle renewal registration fee for a moped is $24.50.
Ohio residents who don't have a valid driver's license must obtain a moped license before riding their mopeds and motorized bikes on the road. Getting a moped license involves passing a vision, knowledge and road test and paying a fee of $19.50.
Younger individuals who are between 14 and 15 years old are also allowed to operate a moped in Ohio, though they have to first obtain a probationary moped license, also known as a Moped Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC). The process for getting a Moped TIPIC is the same as it is for the nonprobationary moped license — you have to pass a vision, knowledge and road test — though the fee is slightly higher at $21. Probationary moped license holders are restricted from the following:
- Riding at night
- Riding with passengers
- Riding on interstates or congested roads
- Riding without a helmet and protective eyewear
Ohio moped and motorized bike operating laws
When operating your moped or motorized bike on public roadways in Ohio, the following rules apply:
- Your moped must be equipped with a rearview mirror.
- When practical, your moped must be ridden within three feet of the right edge of the road.
- You cannot carry passengers.
- If you are under the age of 18, you must wear a helmet with the chin strap fastened.
- You must obey the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles and bicycles, which include obeying signs, traveling in the same direction of traffic and signaling before turns.
Ohio scooter insurance laws
Ohio motor scooter owners are required to maintain the same minimum level of liability insurance as motorcycle owners. If you ride an electric kick scooter, moped or motorized bicycle, you do not have to have insurance. Below, we've included a breakdown of Ohio's insurance requirements for motor scooter and motorcycle owners.
|Bodily injury liability||$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident|
|Property damage liability||$25,000 per accident|