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Idaho Moped Laws

With summer and the warmer weather coming we are starting to see a lot of motorized scooters and bikes out. We wanted to help answer some questions that we get when it comes to these especially for parents.

"Moped" means a limited-speed motor-driven cycle having both motorized and pedal propulsion that is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of thirty (30) miles per hour on level ground, whether two (2) or three (3) wheels are in contact with the ground during operation. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement shall not exceed fifty (50) cubic centimeters and the moped shall have a power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.

Idaho Code 49-114(9) states that a motorcycle must have a "seat or saddle for the use of the riders" so a scooter does not meet the definition of a motorcycle. It does, however, meet the definition of a moped because it is under 50cc and is direct drive with a speed of less than 30 mph and there is no requirement for a "seat or saddle" to be a moped. However, neither a motorcycle endorsement nor a helmet would be a requirement regardless of age.

Idaho Code 49-301 states specifically that "no person, except those expressly exempted by the provisions of this chapter, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway unless the person has a valid Idaho driver's license."

Idaho Code 49-123(h) defines a vehicle as every "vehicle which is self-propelled...except vehicles moved solely by human power and motorized wheelchairs".

By state law, this requires the operator of a motorized skateboard, motorized bicycle or motorized scooter to have a valid license and insurance if they are being operated on a street.

A motorized skateboard does not fit the definitions for a motorcycle because it has four wheels and even if it did, it would be under 50cc so the operator would not need a motorcycle endorsement nor would they be required to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

Idaho Code 49-428 refers to the display of license plates on a motor vehicle. There is no specific exemption listed for motorized skateboards like there is for mopeds. Since motorized skateboards do meet the definition of a motor vehicle and are not specifically exempt, they need to be registered and have properly displayed license plates. Motorized scooters do meet the definition of a moped which is exempt so they do not need to be registered.

Idaho Code 49-1428 states that "it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle upon highways without a valid policy of liability insurance in effect." Again, motorized skateboards are not specifically exempt so they do need to have valid liability insurance is they are operated on the roadway. Motorized scooters also are not exempt and they would need to be insured. Additionally, since motorized skateboards and motorized scooters are motor vehicles by definition, they cannot be driven on the sidewalk in any other manner than a car can be driven on the sidewalk, i.e. to cross the sidewalk at alley, parking lot and driveway entrances.




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