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Do You Need a License to Drive a Motorized Scooter?

Colburn Law

WA State Scooter Laws

When it comes to motorized vehicles like cars, scooters, and motorcycles, the state of Washington maintains control over who can lawfully operate on state roads. While you do need a license to ride a motorcycle or drive a car, you may wonder if these regulations apply to motorized scooters – and the answer is yes. Depending on the size and speed capacities of the scooter, you may have to obtain a license to ride.

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in an accident, contact our Seattle motorcycle accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

What is the Difference Between a Moped and a Scooter

Many people believe that mopeds and motorized scooters are the same type of vehicle. However, Washington state has very different licensing requirements for each.
A scooter can have either two or three wheels, has an engine of 50 cubic centimeters or larger, and goes faster than 30 miles per hour. On the other hand, a moped can have two or three wheels, but has an engine smaller than 50 cubic centimeters and cannot go faster than 30 miles per hour.

Licensing Requirements for Mopeds

Washington state outlines the following requirements for a vehicle to qualify as a moped.

  • The vehicle must have two or three wheels.
  • The vehicle cannot travel faster than 30 miles per hour.
  • The vehicle must meet all federal standards for motorized cycles.
  • The vehicle must have an electric or liquid fuel motor less than 50 cubic centimeters.
  • The vehicle cannot have more than 2 brake horsepower.

A moped that meets these requirements does not require a specific license to ride. If a moped does not meet these requirements, the state legally defines these as motorized scooters and you will need to obtain a special licensing endorsement to ride.

While you do not need a license to ride a moped, you will need to meet the following requirements.

  • You will need to have a valid driver’s license and registration for the moped.
  • You must have a valid license plate.
  • You will need to wear appropriate gear, such as helmet and eye protection, while riding.
  • You will need to obey all traffic laws and can only ride the moped in areas where the state allows.

Licensing Requirements for Motorized Scooters

Under Washington state law, any person who operates a motorized scooter or a moped that does not fall into the license exempt category will need a license to ride the vehicle. Depending on the size of the vehicle, you will need different endorsements to lawfully operate a motorized scooter.

  • If your scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle, you will need a two-wheel endorsement.
  • If your scooter has three wheels, you will need a three-wheel endorsement.
  • You can also opt to add a category 7 endorsement for a two or three-wheeled scooter if you pass knowledge and riding skills tests.

How Do You Obtain Your Motorized Scooter License?

Whether you have a three-wheel or two-wheel motorized scooter, you will need to complete a number of requirements in order to obtain your license. The process is similar to obtaining a driver’s license.

First, you will need to complete a safety course that outlines the rules of the road and how to operate your motorized scooter in a lawful manner. Next, you will have to complete knowledge and riding skills tests within 180 days of finishing your training program.

Once you obtain your license, you are free to ride your motorized scooter in places where the state of Washington allows you to do so. You may have to adhere to specific instructions depending on your permit, but the state will inform you of any limitations.

What If You Get into an Accident on Your Motorized Scooter?

It is important to adhere to the rules of the road while riding your motorized scooter. As long as you operate your scooter lawfully, you can drive safely and free yourself of liability in the event of an accident. However, not every driver is careful and accidents are a significant risk on Washington roads.

If you do get into a collision on your motorized scooter, contact a Seattle personal injury attorney as soon as possible to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and more.