Scooters can be of many types. For example, Vespa scooters can have engine sizes ranging from 50cc to 250cc or so. So, depending on that, some states consider scooters to be motorcycles or are included in a separate category. And whether you need a motorcycle license to drive it or not can depend on the type of scooter.
So, what about Pennsylvania, you ask? Yes, in the state of Pennsylvania, you need a Class M motorcycle license to drive a scooter. If you have a 50cc scooter or smaller, you will get a Class M license with an “8” restriction.
If the engine size is more than 50cc, then it will be classified as a “motorcycle.” And you will get a Class M license.
Motor scooter laws in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania department of transportation (PennDOT) defines scooters as “motor-driven cycles.” It is considered a motorcycle equipped with a motor that doesn’t exceed 5 brake horsepower. And you need a Class M motorcycle license to drive one legally.
Additionally, scooters must pass the necessary inspection requirements. The scooter must have the proper equipment, such as lights, signals, etc.
But if your motor-driven cycle produces no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, then it’s considered to be a moped. You can drive mopeds with a Class C driver’s license.
Class M motorcycle license for a scooter
You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a Class M motorcycle license in Pennsylvania. But before applying for a motorcycle license, you must get a PA motorcycle permit first.
Getting a motorcycle learner’s permit
For this, you must submit a completed and signed DL-5 (8-22) application to a local office of the Pennsylvania DMV. If you are under 18 years old, a parent or legal guardian must sign the form.
Other license requirements include proof of identity, United States citizenship, residency, and social security number. You must also present a $10.00 check or money order payable to “PennDOT” with the application.
Then, you will have to pass a vision test and a motorcycle knowledge test. You can study for the written test with the help of the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Operator Manual.
Once you pass the test, your application and fee will be processed, and you will be issued a permit.
This special permit is valid for one year. You can reapply for a motorcycle learner’s permit up to three times in five years. And must pass the motorcycle knowledge test each time.
If you are under 18 years
In this case, you must have your permit for at least 6 months and 65 hours of supervised riding. Then, you can take the road skills test for the motorcycle license.
Additionally, you must take and complete a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Rider Course. This also as 15 hours of supervised riding toward the 65-hour requirement mentioned above.
With a motorcycle learner’s permit, you can ride only between sunrise and sunset. And only under the instruction and supervision of another person who holds a Class M license. You also cannot carry any passengers other than an instructor properly licensed to operate a motorcycle.
Getting a Class M motorcycle license
Once you have a learner’s permit, you can schedule your road test at a local Driver’s License Center. Do remember to choose a center that will offer the kind of testing you need, whether it’s for a 2-wheeled vehicle or a three-wheeled vehicle.
After you pass the road test, make an appointment at your local licensing office to get your motorcycle license. At the appointment, present proof of passing the skill test and pay the required fees. Then you will get your license.
Get the road test waived.
Alternatively, you can join a PennDOT Motorcycle Safety Program. This program is optional for those above 18 years but mandatory for those under 18.
At the end of the motorcycle safety training, a rider coach will evaluate your riding skills. If you pass the evaluation, you will get a completion card. And with this, you can get your Class M license without doing a road test at the DMV.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also offers training on motorcycle safety. It includes a 3-wheel riding course.
Restrictions on a Class M motorcycle license
Your Class M license or motorcycle endorsement can come with some restrictions depending on the type of motor vehicle you drive or pass the road test on.
- If you qualify for a motorcycle or scooter with an engine size of more than 50cc (cubic centimeters), you will get a Class M driver’s license. This means you can drive any motorcycle.
- If you passed the test on a motor-driven cycle with less than 5 brake horsepower, your Class M license will have an “8” restriction. This means you cannot drive a motorcycle or scooter with a more powerful engine than the one you are qualified for.
- If you pass the test on a 3-wheeled motorcycle, a “9” restriction will appear on your motorcycle license. This means you cannot drive a 2-wheeled motorcycle.
Permit and license fees
Currently, an initial motorcycle permit and a four-year license cost $51.50. This is for those under 65 years. For those above 65 years, an initial motorcycle permit and a two-year license cost $41.50.
You can check the latest fees on the PA DMV website.
What about mopeds, electric bikes, and other motor vehicles?
As per PA’s motorcycle laws, a moped must have a motor and pedals that propel it. The motor must be smaller than 50cc. A moped should also reach a top speed of 25 mph and must have automatic transmissions.
You can operate a moped on public roads in Pennsylvania with a Class C valid driver’s license. There is no specific moped license. Moped riders also need to wear protective gear.
Mopeds also have registration requirements. The registration fee is $9, and you will receive a special license plate for the moped.
An electric bike or e-bike is a motorized bicycle that has an electric motor smaller than 750 watts. Its maximum speed is 20 miles per hour. You don’t need a driver’s license to operate an e-bike, but drivers must be at least 16 years of age.
PennDOT classifies a motorized scooter as a vehicle with two wheels and is powered by an electric motor or an engine. It does not have a saddle or seat for the driver.
You may need to register and title some of these vehicles, but not all. Check the PA DMV website for more details on them.
In PA, motorcycle insurance is mandatory. So, it is a good idea to have insurance in case you are in a scooter accident.
State laws mandate the following minimum limits for liability insurance:
- Bodily injury liability: $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $5,000 per accident
- Pedestrian first-party benefits: $5,000
So, do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Pennsylvania? Yes. In the state of Pennsylvania, you need a Class M motorcycle license to drive a scooter. If the scooter has an engine size that is less than 50cc, then you will get a Class M license with an “8” restriction.
If the engine size is more than 50cc, it is classified as a “motorcycle.” And you will get a Class M license. This allows you to drive any two-wheeled motor motorcycle.