To Drive a Moped, Do You Need a Motorcycle License?
Last updated Thursday, October 6th, 2022
Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a moped?
Want to drive a moped? Let’s first dive into the history of these interesting vehicles.
The moped first got its name because it was a bicycle with a motor, and a bicycle has pedals. Or to further clarify, it was a motorized bicycle with pedals, hence the name “moped.”
All older moped models had pedals like a bicycle, but today’s models can come either with or without pedals. So even though mopeds seem like a bicycle, they are definitely more.
Because they are powered by a motor, some states require a motorcycle license to drive a moped, and others just require a driver’s license. Still, others require no license at all. Each state dictates its own laws for drivers.
The lists below will tell you the basics on if you need a license to drive your moped in your state, and some other information for each.
States where a motorcycle license is necessary to drive a moped:
Alabama – In Alabama, because mopeds are classified as a type of motorcycle, a motorcycle license is needed to operate one. A standard operator’s license is not enough to legally drive a moped.
California – You must have an M1 or M2 motorcycle license to drive a moped. You must be at least 16 years old or older to drive a moped, and you must also wear a helmet while you ride.
Kansas – Mopeds capable of exceeding 30 mph are considered a motorcycle and a motorcycle operator license is required.
Montana – A motorcycle endorsement on a valid driver’s license is required to drive a moped on a public street or highway in Montana.
Rhode Island – In Rhode Island, all moped and scooter operators are required to have a valid motorcycle license.
Vermont – A motorcycle endorsement is required to operate a moped in the state of Vermont.
Wyoming – Wyoming requires moped drivers to get a motorcycle license to drive a moped.
States where a motorcycle license is not necessary to drive a moped:
Alaska – A moped with less than a 50cc motor may be operated with a standard driver’s license.
Arizona – In Arizona, a moped is considered a type of motorcycle, but a motorcycle-specific license is not required to ride one; a driver’s license is enough. You’ll need to get moped insurance and register your moped, but you don’t need a title proving you own the vehicle.
Arkansas – A moped driver is required to have a standard operator’s license to drive a moped, but a motorcycle license is not required. To drive a motor-driven cycle, there is no age limit, however, drivers above the age of 16 must have a valid driver’s license.
Colorado – A motorcycle license is not required but registration is. A valid driver’s license is required to operate a moped legally.
Connecticut – A moped falls under the motor-driven cycle category if it has an engine size of less than 50cc and a seat height of at least 26 inches. A motorcycle license is not required but a valid motor vehicle operator’s license is required to operate it.
Delaware – A motorcycle endorsement is not needed to operate a moped or a triped, but the operator does need to be licensed.
Florida – A driver’s license is not required to drive a moped legally in Florida. The operator must be at least 16 years old and have either a Class E or “Motorcycle Only” driver’s license.
Georgia – A moped operator must be at least 15 years of age and have a valid driver’s license, instructional permit, or limited permit. Helmets must also be worn.
Hawaii – Any class of driver’s license is required to operate a moped; or if the driver only wants to drive a moped, a Class 1 license is enough.
Idaho – A motorcycle endorsement is not required to operate a moped.
Illinois – A current valid driver’s license of any classification is needed for moped operators.
Indiana – Moped operators do not require a motorcycle license, but they must possess a driver’s license or a BMV-issued identification card.
Iowa – A moped with a 50cc motor or under that has a maximum speed of less than 39 mph does not require a motorcycle license. A moped driver must be at least 14 years old to ride a moped with a moped permit. A driver over the age of 16 must have a valid driver’s license.
Kentucky – Moped drivers that do not have either an operator or motorcycle permit or license must complete a moped license application. They must complete the general knowledge and vision tests, but a skills test or permit is not required.
Louisiana – Moped drivers must possess a driver’s license to drive a moped.
Maine – Moped drivers need to possess either a valid operator’s license of any class, an operator’s license endorsed to operate a motorcycle or moped, or a permit for moped operation.
Maryland – A moped driver must have a valid driver’s license of any class, however, a Class M motorcycle license is not required.
Massachusetts – A valid driver’s license is required to operate a moped and moped drivers must be at least 16 years old and possess a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit.
Michigan – A moped driver must have a valid driver’s license or a chauffeur’s license. For operators that do not have a driver’s or chauffeur’s license, they must be at least 15 years old to apply for a moped license.
Minnesota – A moped driver may legally operate a moped-legal scooter with a valid driver’s license. A motorcycle endorsement is not required. Protective eyewear is required and moped riders under 18 years of age are required to wear a DOT-approved helmet.
Mississippi – A moped driver is not required to have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement if the person does not own the moped and is only renting it for 48 hours or less.
Missouri – A moped operator must possess a valid driver’s license, but a class M license or class M endorsement is not required.
Nebraska – A valid operator license is required to drive a moped.
Nevada – A Class M motorcycle license is not required to operate a moped, but a driver’s license of any class is required to operate a moped on public streets. Helmets are required.
New Hampshire – A moped operator with an operator, CDL, motorcycle, or motor-driven cycle license does not need any additional licensing. If none of those are possessed, a moped license to drive a moped only is required.
New Jersey – A valid driver’s license is all that is needed to operate a moped in New Jersey.
New Mexico – A driver of a moped on a highway in New Mexico is required to hold a valid driver’s license or permit.
New York – A driver’s license is required to operate a moped, and the moped must be registered to operate on streets and highways.
North Carolina – Moped owners are required to register their mopeds with the DMV, and a license plate and liability insurance is required. A motorcycle license or driver’s license is not required to ride a moped, but the driver does need to be at least 16 years of age.
North Dakota – A moped operator only needs a valid driver’s license to drive a moped. However, the moped is required to be insured, titled, and registered just like any other vehicle.
Ohio – Moped operators are required to have a valid driver’s license or they must obtain a moped license before riding a moped on the road.
Oklahoma – Moped drivers must have a Class A, B, C, or D license to operate a moped.
Oregon – Moped riders are required to have a driver’s license in order to operate a moped and must have a special Class C driver’s license to be legal. Drivers must be at least 16 years old.
Pennsylvania – To operate a moped in Pennsylvania, moped drivers need to have a Class C driver’s license. Moped owners are also required to register their mopeds and display a special license plate.
South Carolina – South Carolina does not require a skills test for moped applicants. You must have a valid driver’s license or moped license to drive a moped. Additionally, your moped must be registered. If you are 16 or older with a moped license, you may drive a moped alone at any time.
South Dakota – Drivers operating a vehicle classified as a moped are not required to have a special motorcycle driver’s license or endorsement but must have a valid Class 1 driver’s license.
Tennessee – A moped operator only needs a valid Tennessee driver’s license to operate a moped that is 50cc or less.
Texas – To drive a moped, a valid driver’s license or minor driver’s license is required. A moped does not require a special class of license to operate. A standard driver’s license is acceptable.
Utah – A driver’s license is required to ride a moped; however a motorcycle endorsement is not required.
Virginia – A motorcycle license or a driver’s license is not required to operate a moped. However, a moped cannot be driven by anyone that has lost their license due to drug or alcohol-related charges or been judged to be a habitual offender.
Washington – In Washington, moped riders do not need a motorcycle endorsement to drive a moped. All that is required is a valid driver’s license.
West Virginia – A valid driver’s license holder over the age of 16 is allowed to operate a moped in West Virginia. However, the moped must be titled and registered in the same way that a regular passenger vehicle or motorcycle would be. In addition, there are other requirements including a helmet must be worn by both drivers and passengers, handlebars must not be more than 15 inches higher than the seat, the driver must ride in a proper seated position, passengers are only allowed if the moped is designed for one, the moped must have a rear-view mirror attached and easily visible while driving, and all driving laws must be obeyed.
Wisconsin – A motorcycle license (class M) is not necessary to drive a moped in Wisconsin, however a driver’s license or Wisconsin probationary license is required. A driver’s permit is not acceptable when operating a moped.
Common Moped Questions
How fast can a 50cc moped go?
The short answer to the question, how fast does a 50cc moped go, is 30-40 miles per hour. However, a 50cc moped can go up to 60 mph, but their engines are restricted to 30-40 mph in the United States.
Is driving a motorcycle the same as a moped?
Motorcycles have much larger engines than mopeds, so they are very different. A motorcycle has an engine above 250cc, whereas to be classified as a moped, it must have an engine the size of 50cc or less.
A larger engine size means the ability to go much faster, so it makes sense that a motorcycle is a much faster vehicle than a moped.
What is the difference between a moped and a scooter?
Scooters are similar to mopeds but have between a 50cc and 250cc motor, which is much more powerful. Scooters can go faster than mopeds but tend to have lower gas mileage.
Are mopeds worth it?
Depending upon what exactly you are comparing, a moped is much less expensive than a car or a motorcycle. They also get better gas mileage and cost less in insurance.
Since they also go much slower, it wouldn’t be a good fit if a person wants to drive on a highway or larger road that has a higher speed limit. In residential or business areas where the speed limit is around 30 mph, a moped would be a fine option for travel.
It all depends upon what it is being used for, how far it is to drive, what the weather is like (because there is no weather protection on a moped), and other similar scenarios.
Another thing to consider is parking. Mopeds can fit into much smaller parking spots, so you can often alleviate parking woes by driving one. Depending on your local laws, you may even be able to park at a bike rack, which could give you the closest parking spot you’ve even been able to score.
How fast do mopeds go?
Most mopeds go between 30 and 40 mph, but like any other vehicle, it depends upon the moped itself. The size of the motor and if it has been modified are both determining factors in how fast it will go.
What does CC mean in mopeds?
CC is short for Cubic Centimeters, which measure the capacity of the engine to burn air and fuel to create horsepower. In other words, it is the size of the engine in the moped.
What to know before you buy a moped
Learning the specifics of mopeds and how they operate would be the first step when considering buying a moped.
Legalities – It is imperative that you thoroughly research the laws in your state to find out what type of license you will need and if your moped needs to be registered or insured. Some states require a motorcycle license just to drive a moped. Others require the use of helmets, eye protection, and special license plates. Be sure to check what the requirements are in your state.
Keeping your moped legal requires some fees for processing in most states. The fees are often minimal though and are less than what it would cost to license a car or motorcycle.
Safety – To be safe while riding a moped, the clothing and safety gear you wear are very important. Mopeds don’t have the same protection surrounding a driver that a car does, so keeping your wardrobe in mind is much more than just thinking about fashion statements.
While on a moped, you need to keep your body somewhat covered, including your feet. You don’t have to wrap yourself in bubble wrap, but you do want to have a layer of clothing between you and the air. Sandals are never a good idea, just as driving without a shirt would never be a good idea either. Much of it is common sense. That doesn’t always deter people from making bad decisions in attire when they are flying down the road.
Types/brands of different mopeds – There are things to consider with different models and makes of the mopeds themselves. Just like any vehicle, each brand of moped has different features. How big do you want it to be and how fast would you like it to go? Consider comfort as well, especially if you plan to drive it farther away.
Cost – Cost is also an important consideration. They can cost anywhere from around $800 up to over $4,000. That’s quite a spread in cost, so deciding upon what features are most important to you will help with the decision-making process.
Are mopeds allowed on highways?
Some mopeds are not fast enough to drive on highways or larger roads. They may even be forbidden to drive on any roads but slower ones.
Are mopeds safe?
Just like with any motor vehicle, the safety of driving a moped often depends on how skilled the driver is and if her/she is paying the proper attention. Many accidents are caused by driver error. Unfortunately, when you are driving a moped, you are much more vulnerable because of the lack of protection around you.
The best thing you can do is to wear your safety gear as if your life depends on it… because it does! One of the most common injuries suffered by moped riders is a head injury. Wearing a DOT-regulated helmet offers your head and brain additional protection.
Riding a moped or scooter or even a motorcycle is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. They’re fun but they aren’t toys.