South Carolina Moped and Scooter Laws

South Carolina Moped and Scooter Laws

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Under South Carolina law, mopeds, scooters and other mobility devices are regulated differently than motorcycles, depending on the size of their motors. You'll need a license and registration for some, while others aren't required to be documented by the state to ride.

Mopeds must be registered before they can be operated on public roads. Drivers must also be licensed. Scooters, on the other hand, aren't classified differently from motorcycles under South Carolina law. This means that scooters are required to be registered and to have insurance. Their drivers must also have a motorcycle license.

South Carolina moped laws

There are only two classifications for two- or three- wheeled vehicles in South Carolina. Vehicles can be either mopeds or motorcycles depending on their engine and maximum speed. Mopeds have:

  • Two or three wheels
  • A motor under 50cc / 2 horsepower (combustion), or between 750 and 1500 watts (electric)
  • Maximum speed 30mph
  • No gear shifter

If your vehicle meets that definition, you have a moped. You're required to register your moped with the South Carolina DMV and get a license plate in order to drive it on public roads. You also need a valid driver's license or Class G moped license to ride it.

Unlike a motorcycle license, a moped license test doesn't include a road skills assessment. Instead, riders must pass a knowledge and vision test. A license costs $25, and anyone at least 15 years of age can apply for one — though 15-year-olds can only ride during daylight hours.

Unlike with larger scooters and motorcycles, you don't need to carry liability insurance to ride a moped in South Carolina. Additionally, carrying a title is optional, though it will allow you to prove ownership of your moped if it's ever stolen or lost.

South Carolina moped regulations

Do I need a license?
Do I need liability insurance?
Do I need to register it?
Do I need a title?
Yes, any typeNoYesNo
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South Carolina motor scooter laws

South Carolina doesn't have a separate designation for scooters, but instead considers them to be motorcycles for legal purposes.

Because there's no scooter designation in the Palmetto State, motor scooters in South Carolina are regulated the same way as regular motorcycles. South Carolina uses engine size to classify bikes. This means that if a scooter has an engine under 50cc, it's actually considered a moped.

If your scooter is too powerful to qualify as a moped, you'll need to register it as a motorcycle. That means you'll need liability insurance, a motorcycle license and a title. However, you'll be able to take your scooter on any road, including freeways.

Only riders over age 16 can get a motorcycle license or endorsement in South Carolina. Additionally, riders under 21 must wear a helmet at all times while riding a motorcycle.

South Carolina scooter and motorcycle regulations

Do I need a license?
Do I need liability insurance?
Do I need to register it?
Do I need a title?
Yes, motorcycle onlyYesYesYes
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South Carolina electric bicycle laws

Electric bicycles are not explicitly defined under South Carolina law, so there are a few categories your e-bike may fall into depending on how powerful the motor is.

E-bikes with smaller motors under 750 watts are the most common. These bikes aren't regulated by the state, so you don't need insurance, a license plate, or a license of any kind to ride them. They're just regulated as vehicles, meaning you have to follow the rules of the road.

However, electric bikes are also not legally bicycles, as South Carolina code limits bicycles to those which are powered exclusively by pedals. As such, you may not be allowed to legally ride electric bicycles on bike paths.

Electric bicycles with motors between 750 watts and 1500 watts are considered mopeds. Mopeds need to be registered with the state DMV, and you need a license to ride one — either a regular driver's license or a moped license. However, insurance isn't required, and getting a title is optional.

Electric bicycles with motors over 1500 watts are considered motorcycles, meaning you'll have to register it with the DMV, buy liability insurance, and get a motorcycle license before you can ride.

South Carolina electric bicycle regulations

Do I need a license?
Do I need liability insurance?
Do I need to register it?
Do I need a title?
NoNoNoNo
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South Carolina hoverboard and Segway laws

In South Carolina, vehicles like hoverboards and Segways are considered "electric personal assistive mobility devices" if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Two non-tandem wheels
  • Self-balancing
  • Average power of 750w or less
  • Maximum speed 20 mph

If your hoverboard or similar vehicle meets these criteria, you have all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian. You should ride on the sidewalk if it's an option, though you can ride in the street if there is no sidewalk available.

You don't need a license, registration or insurance to ride a hoverboard, and there's no minimum age to ride them, either.

South Carolina hoverboard and Segway regulations (750w or less)

Do I need a license?
Do I need liability insurance?
Do I need to register it?
Do I need a title?
NoNoNoNo
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South Carolina moped and scooter insurance laws

Some scooters and other mobility devices in South Carolina require insurance, while others do not — it depends on how it's classified under South Carolina law. In general, vehicles with more powerful engines require scooter insurance, while less powerful vehicles do not.

Liability insurance required
Insurance not required
Scooter (over 50cc)Moped
MotorcycleScooter (under 50cc)
Electric bicycle
Hoverboard/personal mobility device
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For vehicles that require liability protection, you must have at least the following amount of coverage, which is the same amount needed for motorcycle insurance in South Carolina:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident

Matt is a Technical Writer at ValuePenguin who works on distilling the complex details of insurance into accessible advice. He previously created educational content at Grovo Learning and MarketSmiths Content Strategists. Matt's consumer-focused analysis of insurance has appeared in publications like CNBC, Yahoo Finance and the Miami Herald.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.