Florida moped laws

Florida moped laws - submitted by Steven W. Buehler

What are the driver licensing requirements for mopeds, scooters and other two or three wheel motor vehicles?

If 50 cc or less, these vehicles are not motorcycles by driver license law definition, S. 322.01(25), F.S., so a motorcycle endorsement is not required per S. 322.03(4), F.S.; however, to operate them on streets and roadways, you must be at least 16 years old and hold at least a regular operator (Class E) or “Motorcycle Only” driver license. (Reason: Even though these vehicles are 50 cc or less, they still fall under the driver license law definition of “Motor Vehicle” and a driver license is required to operate a “motor vehicle.”) SS.322.03(1), 322.01(26) and 322.05(1), F.S.

Is a license required to operate GoPeds, motorized scooters/skateboards, go-carts or other small engine vehicles?

These vehicles are not designed for operation on public roads. If they are operated on public roads, law enforcement officers can ask to see a valid driver license because these vehicles are “Motor Vehicles” under driver license law. S.322.01(26), F.S. A driver license is required to operate motor vehicles. S. 322.03, F.S.

Are you required to wear a helmet & eye protection to ride motorcycles? How about mopeds and scooters?

  1. Motorcycles: Those 21 years old and older can ride without a helmet if they carry proof of Personal Injury Protection or proof of health insurance, (such as an employee health insurance card.) The coverage amount must be at least $10,000 to pay for treatment of injuries that may result from a crash. Those under 21 years old must wear a Department approved motorcycle helmet without exception. S. 316.211(1)&(2), F.S.

  2. Mopeds/Scooters: If a motor vehicle is 50 cc or less, 2 brake horsepower or less, and can not exceed more than 30 mph on level ground, no helmet is required for the operator. The operator must be at least 16 years old and hold at least a regular operator driver license (Class E) or “Motorcycle Only” license.) Passengers under 16 must wear a helmet.

  3. Eye Protection: All persons who operate motorcycles (motorcycle = 51cc or more) must wear eye protection.

Most scooters can travel up to 40 MPH and exceed 2 bhp, so I would assume that the helmet requirements for motorcycles apply, but I am not a lawyer.

Is insurance required for motorcycles?

Insurance is not required to register motorcycles as with four-wheel motor vehicles (S. 627.733, F.S.). HOWEVER, if a motorcycle operator is charged in a crash with injuries, then the owner or owner/operator is financially responsible for bodily injuries and property damage to others. If no liability coverage was in effect, then bodily injury/property damage liability insurance must be purchased and kept for three years to avoid Financial Responsibility (license and tag/registration) suspension or to reinstate license, tag/registration after suspension. Chapter 324, F.S.

The law is unclear as to whether this applies to scooters under 50cc; assume that it does.

What are the requirements for obtaining a temporary motorcycle instruction permit, a motorcycle endorsement or a motorcycle only license?

Note: this applies to scooters over 50cc, such as the Vino 150 or Vespa ET-4.

According to S. 322.03 (4), F.S., “A person may not operate a motorcycle unless he or she holds a driver’s license that authorizes such operation, subject to the appropriate restrictions and endorsements.”

In other words, you cannot legally operate a motorcycle on Florida’s roadways without a “Motorcycle Also” endorsement added to your regular driver license. Prior to obtaining the endorsement, you may operate your motorcycle without passengers with a temporary motorcycle permit if you are 21 years old or older. Your regular driver license will not serve as the permit. You must pass the motorcycle written test at any driver licenses office in order to obtain the temporary motorcycle permit. The permit is valid for 60 days, will be restricted to “No Passengers”, may be issued a maximum of five times and is to be carried with your regular license.

There are basically three ways for individuals holding a Florida driver license to obtain a motorcycle endorsement. These methods are as follows:

  1. Complete a Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP) basic motorcycle safety course and present the completion card to any driver license office in order to receive the motorcycle endorsement without any further testing. Visit the FRTP web page for information regarding motorcycle safety courses in Florida. If you are under 21 years old, you are required to take a FRTP course prior to obtaining a motorcycle endorsement or a motorcycle only license.

  2. Take a motorcycle to an appropriate driver license office and pass a knowledge test and an on-cycle skill test. The motorcycle endorsement will be issued upon passing both evaluations. Go to other Driver License Information for more information, including contact information for driver license offices.

  3. Visit a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles approved third-party motorcycle tester and pass the exact same tests required at the driver license offices. The customer provides his or her own motorcycle, or many of the third-party testers will loan/rent a small motorcycle to the customer for use during the on-cycle skill evaluation. Many of the FRTP course sponsors are third-party motorcycle testers. FRTP course sponsor contact information is available on the FRTP web page if you wish to inquire about the third-party testing option.

Highway rules (not found on the web site):

  • Interstate highways cannot be used by human-powered vehicles or vehicles under 5 bhp (which means most 50cc scooters), and you must be able to maintain at least 40 MPH on an interstate to avoid a moving violation.

  • If riding at less than the normal speed of traffic, you must ride as close to the right edge of the roadway or curb as possible except when making a left turn or the conditions do not allow you to do so; you are not allowed to use a bike or pedestrian lane. Otherwise you are bound to the same “rules of the road” as cars or full-size motorcycles.

  • Persons under 16 may not operate a motorcycle or moped/scooter over 150cc or rent any motorcycle or moped.

  • You cannot ride between traffic lanes (some states, i.e., California, allow this. Florida does not).

See also http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ddl/motorcyclefaqs.html