Which Electric Scooters are Street Legal in 2021?[Updated]

By Electric Ride Team


In most cases, Electric Scooters are not classified as full motor vehicles and therefore it is unusual that you would have to have any form of registration or license in order to legally ride them on streets.

Top Electric Scooters For Adults That Are Street Legal

Editor's 1st Choice
Editor's 2nd Choice
Editor's 3rd Choice
Best Ride
Segway Ninebot ES4 Electric Kick Scooter with External...
Segway Ninebot MAX Electric Kick Scooter (G30P), Up to 40.4...
Hiboy S2 Pro Electric Scooter - 10" Solid Tires - 25 Miles...
Preview
Segway Ninebot ES4 Electric Kick Scooter with External...
Segway Ninebot MAX Electric Kick Scooter (G30P), Up to 40.4...
Hiboy S2 Pro Electric Scooter - 10" Solid Tires - 25 Miles...
Top Speed
19 MPH
18.6 MPH
19 MPH
Editor's 1st Choice
Best Ride
Segway Ninebot ES4 Electric Kick Scooter with External...
Preview
Segway Ninebot ES4 Electric Kick Scooter with External...
Top Speed
19 MPH
Editor's 2nd Choice
Best Ride
Segway Ninebot MAX Electric Kick Scooter (G30P), Up to 40.4...
Preview
Segway Ninebot MAX Electric Kick Scooter (G30P), Up to 40.4...
Top Speed
18.6 MPH
Editor's 3rd Choice
Best Ride
Hiboy S2 Pro Electric Scooter - 10" Solid Tires - 25 Miles...
Preview
Hiboy S2 Pro Electric Scooter - 10" Solid Tires - 25 Miles...
Top Speed
19 MPH

This is generally based on the motor power the electric scooter is equipped with and its top speed. The Federal Law of 2002 in the US, states that if an electric bike has a top speed of no more than 20 mph and a motor power of less than 750W, it will be classified as street legal.

Which are Street Legal Electric Scooters

If your electric scooter falls into this range then it will also be street legal and will not require license or registration in most states.

Choosing the right electric scooter is crucial to your commute. Vehicles like Street Legal Electric Scooters are necessary for commuters who live in cities with strict vehicle regulations, such as New York City or San Francisco.

While where you are allowed to ride your scooter legally can get a bit murky, breaking things down location by location can help clear up where exactly you can and can not ride your scooter.

Electric Scooters Laws requirements in Various States

There are a few areas in particular that have specific laws regarding electric scooters. These laws may change as time goes on and electric scooters work their way more comfortably into vehicle and traffic law, finding their place on the road. Here are the low requirements in multiple states at the time of writing this article:

Click on your state to reveal more info:

New York

Electric scooters are illegal to use in New York. They are considered motor vehicles, but can not be registered. Since it's illegal to use motor vehicles on sidewalks, and you need to have your vehicle registered in order to use it on the roadway, New York scooter owners are out of luck unless they ride on their own private property.

California

In California, the term is “motorized scooter”. This is classified as any vehicle that has a deck, handlebars, an electric motor and is designed to be stood up when ridden. These are not classed as motor vehicles and therefore do not need license and registration.

Electric scooters can only be operated on a trail, bicycle path, or bikeway. You are not allowed to operate an electric scooter on the sidewalk. They can be used on roads that do not have bicycle lanes as long as the speed limit for that road is no more than 25 mph.

The person driving must be at least 16 years old and must wear properly fitted bicycle helmet meeting regulated safety standards. 

Texas

Texas allows the use of electric scooters on roadways so long as they can not exceed 20mph in electric-only mode (more in relation to electric bicycles) and does not exceed 100lbs. There are other local ordinances that may prohibit the use of electric scooters though so it is best to check beforehand.

Michigan

Michigan has a similar situation to California. You can ride a scooter, but only on streets with speed limits below 25mph. If you ride it during the night, you must have a front light visible as far as 500 ft. Reflector on the back must be visible as far as 600 ft and a red light must be visible next to the reflector.

Also, only one rider is allowed on a single scooter and riders under 12 years of age can't ride electric scooters on the road.

GA and WA

Law in GA, and WA: Ride only with a permit, a driver’s license or State identification card. The rider must not be younger than 16 and he/she will have to ride on bicycle lanes and bicycle paths. That means you can ride where bicycles go. The electric street scooter you buy must have a lamps and reflectors for night ride.

FL, IL, VA, OH,OR

Ride only with a permit, a driver’s license or State identification card. The rider must not be younger than 16 and he/she will have to ride on bicycle lanes and bicycle paths. That means you can ride where bicycles go. The electric street scooter you buy must have a lamps and reflectors for night ride.

Electric Scooters Laws requirements Internationally

UK

In the UK, electric scooters are illegal on both roads and pavements, with no plans to change these laws any time in the near future.

Are you hoping electric scooters are legalized in the UK? Sign the petition here

Canada

In Canada, motorized bicycles and scooters are classified under federal law and each province can make minor changes such as age requirements and each municipality can make changes as to where they are permitted to be used.

Electric bikes and scooters are generally legal in Canada. These vehicles are also known as power-assisted bicycles, electric scooters, e-bikes, and e-scooters, and the laws for them are very similar to traditional bicycles. They require no license, plates or insurance to own or operate.

Canada's law on electric scooters varies by province. In Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario they are not recognized as motor vehicles and as such can only be operated on private land. Calgary, however, is in the middle of a 2-year pilot program legalizing electric scooters on roadways. Quebec is also in the middle of a pilot program, but with very rigid training, age, and safety requirements with harsh fines for not following the laws.

Australia and NZ

When it comes to Queensland and NZ, they are legal there, but only kids above 12 can ride it with their parents supervising and teens above 16 can ride it alone. The good thing is that you don't need a license for it if you are over 16 years old. The top speed of a street legal scooter is 25mph and you have to have a helmet and lights for the night rides. But you aren't allowed to ride it on the road or bike lanes, only on the paths.

When it comes to New South Wales, for now, there are electric scooters illegal on the street but you can use it on private land. This can change in the future. That is the only electric road scooters part in Australia where they are illegal.

Victoria has a similar story as Queensland so you can see electric road scooters in Melbourne traffic. The only difference is that every electric scooter with a top speed above 10mph needs to be registered if you want to ride it on the street.


  • CANADA LAW

  • UK LAW

  • AUSTRALIA AND NZ

CANADA LAW

In Canada, motorized bicycles and scooters are classified under federal law and each province can make minor changes such as age requirements and each municipality can make changes as to where they are permitted to be used. 

Electric bikes and scooters are generally legal in Canada. These vehicles are also known as power-assisted bicycles, electric scooters, e-bikes, and e-scooters, and the laws for them are very similar to traditional bicycles. They require no license, plates or insurance to own or operate.

You can use electric scooters on private land but when it comes to using them in public things gets a little stricter. As they have no pedals they aren’t able to be used on the pavement and as the low powered they can’t be used on the road.

Disclaimer 

Double Check the Law in Your State! 

Laws are constantly changing. We're not lawyers and you need to double check the laws in your state or country.

Electric scooters are still fairly new and rising in popularity in lots or places, and traffic laws and regulations are still inconsistent at best when it comes to what's legal and what's not. While the advice above is good to use as a general rule of thumb, it's important to understand your local state laws regarding electric scooters. You can find more information on electric scooter laws for your area on the DMV website or at your local DMV.

All in all, always obey the rules of the road while on your scooter and ensure you can legally operate one. Many states have hefty fines attached to scooter violations to help curb any misuse of the scooters since they can be dangerous if used improperly.

Are Electric Scooters Legal on Sidewalks

Electric scooters, while not classified as motor vehicles, are seen as similar to things like electric bicycles. Since electric scooters can reach speeds upwards of 25mph, they're generally seen as a hazard when ridden in a space shared with pedestrians. Thanks to their relatively high speeds, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on sidewalks in most places.

Can You Ride on a Footpath

Since footpaths are used exclusively by pedestrians, you also can't ride an electric scooter on footpaths. Simply put, if you'll have to share the space with pedestrians, don't ride your scooter there. It's probably not legal, and it'll be a lot safer for everyone if you don't.

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on a Bike Path

This is where things can get a little tricky, as this can depend on the type of scooter you are using. If you're using a full-sized street legal scooter, most states prohibit the use of your scooter on bike paths or in a bike lane, as many street legal scooters can reach speeds of up to 65mph in order to keep up with traffic.

If you are using a smaller non-street legal scooter, then you have a little more leeway. Generally, you would be allowed to use a bike path with one of these smaller scooters, or the bike lane on a roadway if available if the bike path is on public or state-owned property.

Can You Ride Electric Scooters on Bike Trails

This one really comes down to the specific bike trail. While many trails going through public or state-owned land might follow the same ordinances as bike paths and bike lanes, a large number of bike trails run through any privately owned property that is made open to the public (such as nature preserves, sightseeing locales, resorts, etc).

Many of these locales have their own rules and guidelines on what they do and do not allow, so call ahead and find out if they have banned electric scooters from using their bike trails before just giving it a shot and hoping for the best.

Can You Ride Electric Scooters on Pavement

For the same reason as sidewalks and footpaths, the answer is likely no, especially if you have a street-legal scooter. Since pavement is usually shared by pedestrians, odds are you won't be able to ride your scooter there. This is not the case for offroad driveways and other privately owned stretches of pavement though, as the use of electric scooters on private property is up to the discretion of the owner.

Do I Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter

Since many electric scooters meet the same requirements as electric bicycles, you don't need license plates or insurance to operate them. You do, however, need to be in possession of a driver's license or at least a permit in order to legally operate them. In addition, the minimum age requirement in order to operate an electric scooter is 16 in most states.

You are also required to wear the proper safety gear such as an electric scooter helmet, follow the rules of the road as if you were on a bicycle or driving a street-legal vehicle, and you are prohibited from ridesharing.

Do Electric Scooters Need to be Registered

For the most part, electric scooters do not need to be registered. In many states, you actually can't register an electric scooter. This does cause some problems in some states like New York, where motor vehicles need to be registered in order to be used on the road.

There are a few exceptions where some street-legal electric scooters may be classified more as a moped, or another motor vehicle which can be registered, but those are very few and far between.

Electric scooters are not classified as full motor vehicles and therefore it is unusual that you would have to have any form of registration or license in order to legally ride it on streets.

This is generally based on the motor power the electric scooter is equipped with and its top speed. The Federal Law of 2002 in the US states that if an electric bike has a top speed of no more than 20 mph and a motor power of less than 750W, it will be classified as street legal.

If your electric scooter falls into this range then it will also be street legal and will not require license or registration in most states.

Disclaimer
Double Check the Law in Your State!
We're not lawyers. Laws are constantly changing.

Best Street Legal Electric Scooters: other recommendations 

3-wheel Electric Scooter Street Legal - Swagtron Cali Drift Electric Scooter

Which Electric Scooters are Street Legal in '2021'?[Updated] 1

The only 3-wheel model on this list is a Cali Drift model made by Swagtron. It is an electric scooter street or sidewalk, depending on where you are. The top speed of this scooter is 15.5 mph and it can ride you for around 9 miles before the battery is dead.

When you reach the destination you can simply fold the scooter and store it in a safe place. You can carry it because it weighs only 22 lbs, but it can carry around 265lbs of the load.

See Swagtron Cali Drift in Action

The design of this electric scooter for road use is pretty cool. It comes with a yellow/black handle and a colorful foot deck which is wide enough for both of your feet This is the best electric street scooter if you are looking for something simple, yet attractive.

The best part about this electric street scooter is the fact that you can easily adjust the height of the handle so you can adjust the height of the scooter to every family member.

Pros

  • This electric road scooter has the great top speed to get where you want quickly.

Cons

  • The 9-mile range should be a little longer.
Swagtron SG-6 Cali Drift Three-Wheel Electric Scooter...
  • Enhanced Stability. Enjoy the enhanced stability...
  • Breezy maneuverability. Adjust the height of the...
  • Drift for miles. Featuring a 250W motor, This...
  • Quick access Controls. Enjoy total control with...
  • Fold and go. The Cali drift 3-wheeled e-scooter...

 Small Electric Scooter Street Legal - EcoReco M5

Which Electric Scooters are Street Legal in '2021'?[Updated] 2

 The M5 is an electric kick scooter from EcoReco, a company that launched their first product on Kickstarter in late 2013. This is one of the convenient ways to solve the “last mile” challenge that many commuters face. It’s smooth, relatively quiet and super durable with solid rubber tires that can’t get flats. The unit weighs 35.5 pounds and folds quickly and easily but still feels solid during operation.

EcoReco M5

The power for the EcoReco M5 street legal electric scooter comes from a 250-watt direct drive hub motor built right into the rear wheel. That may not sound like a lot but the maximum output is 750 watts and given the 36-volt battery the motor feels quite capable. Maximum rider weight is listed at 250 pounds and depending on your weight; the unit may operate under the 20 mph listed top speed.

EcoReco M5

Operating the EcoReco M5 is about as easy as it gets. Once the battery has been charged up, you press the on/off button on the display pad for two seconds and the LCD lights up showing your speed, battery level, trip distance, odometer, numerical speedometer and charge cycle counter. The display is a bit angled down. This seems to be the best layout for folding the bars but is not optimal for operation. Since the throttle is physically mounted to the display pad and LCD screen, the view angle is impacted as you tilt it forward or back.

The battery level is easy to read once you stop the unit completely to make sure you’ve got enough juice to get home. The brake lever is fairly standard and does include a motor inhibitor which means it will cut power to the motor when activated for safety. There is only one brake which is a mechanical located in the rear wheel. It works fine in my experience but wasn’t skidding the tire or anything. Note that both tires are replaceable and you can even choose from red or black plates and springs to fully customize the ride.

Pros

  • Adjustable telescoping stem makes the scooter easy to handle for short or tall individuals and feels pretty solid at both extremes. It comes with an excellent 2-year warranty on the frame and suspension fork, a solid 6-month warranty on the battery pack.

Cons

  • There is no way to really lock the scooter’s electronics, anyone could turn it on and tamper with the display (which is not removable) although they’d have to get it moving to activate the throttle so not a huge deal, you can physically lock the scooter to bike racks by going through the front wheel space.
EcoReco M5 Air LE Electric Scooter
  • The EcoReco S5 is the newer version of this item
  • Agile & comfortable: Top speed 20 MPH*
  • Rangy & efficient: up to 20 miles per charge*
  • Long battery cycle life: 2000+ charge cycles
  • Energy efficiency: 2,000 MPGe*/ 500 miles on $1

Fastest Street Legal Electric Scooter - Ninebot by Segway KickScooter ES2

Which Electric Scooters are Street Legal in '2021'?[Updated] 3

This is a great scooter that has 15 miles per hours top speed so I would recommend it for an older teenager or an adult. The motor is estimated at 300 watts.

You can limit the speed by holding the on/off button to set it in economy mode, normal or sports mode, or if you want you can set an exact speed-limit within the mobile application, for your child to be safe. This Segway street legal electric scooter can be folded in just a second and stored almost anywhere. It weighs 28 lbs.

Ninebot by Segway KickScooter ES2

It has two sets of lights, the ambient and front and tail LED lights which are fun but also safe for night rides. The rider is visible at low light, too. The lights can be customized through the app. The Bluetooth connection through your phone allows firmware upgrades and much more, too. You can add a second external battery that attaches to the stalk to increase total range from 15.5 miles to 28 miles which are faster than most of the scooters on the market and you can get to your destination faster.

Ninebot by Segway KickScooter ES2

Make sure if you are using this scooter as a street legal option, not to cross speed limits. The battery needs 3.5 hours to recharge. This scooter has rear shock absorbers for a smooth ride. A great thing, many scooters don't feature, is the locking via an app.

When you download the app and connect it to the scooter, one of the locking options will appear on the screen. Simply press it and the scooter will be locked. The wheels will be heavier to drag. The tail light will start blinking. Your phone will vibrate the moment the wheels start moving.

Pros

  • You can easily upgrade this Segway electric scooter with an externally battery-pack and get a lot more out of it. Front and rear absorption shock reduction from bumps while riding on uneven terrain makes the drive safer and more enjoyable.

Cons

  • Folding mechanism is sophisticated.

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About the author 

Electric Ride Team

When it comes to electric personal transportation, we’re the avid performance thrill-seekers. Pioneering great and well-reviewed mobility products for e-ride lovers is all we want. Well, yes! That’s purely obvious from our team.