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 don't require documentation from the state.

Mopeds must be registered before they can be operated on public roads. Drivers must also be licensed. Scooters, on the other hand, are classified like motorcycles under South Carolina law. That means scooters require registration and insurance, and their drivers must have a motorcycle license.

South Carolina moped laws

There are two classifications for two- or three- wheeled vehicles in South Carolina. Vehicles can be 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 of 30mph
  • No gear shifter

If your vehicle meets that definition, it's a moped, and you're required to register it with the South Carolina DMV and get a license plate to drive 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

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 motorcycles. South Carolina uses engine size to classify bikes. This means that if a scooter has an engine under 50cc, it's 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 to 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?

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 750 watts or less
  • Maximum speed of 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.

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?

South Carolina moped and scooter insurance laws

Some scooters and mobility devices in South Carolina require insurance, while others don't — 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 don't.

Liability insurance required
Insurance not required
Scooter (over 50cc)Moped
MotorcycleScooter (under 50cc)
Electric bicycle
Hoverboard/personal mobility device

For vehicles that require liability protection, you must have at least the following amount of coverage, 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

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