Get to know Oregon laws related to riding a moped, scooter, pocket bike, electric assisted bicycle, Segway, etc.
Getting around in Portland by moped, scooter and electric assisted bicycles is growing in popularity. It is not uncommon to see folks getting around by Segway especially in downtown. A moped or a scooter may seem similar to a bicycle or motorcycle, but there are important differences in the eyes of the law which are not obvious and which may vary from other states. Cities within Oregon may have additional laws for you to be aware of.
The Oregon laws regarding driver license, vehicle registration, insurance, operator age requirements, operator training requirements, and road use rules are specific to the mode of transportation.
A moped by Oregon law cannot be capable of traveling at speeds faster than 30 mph on a level road surface. If it has a combustion engine, the engine must be 35.01 to 50 cc. Must not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the power drive system is engaged. Requires a Class C Oregon driver license to operate (but not a motorcycle endorsement). In Oregon a moped must be registered and licensed with the DMV and requires insurance to operate on public roadways and premises open to the public. If a moped exceeds either maximum capable speed or engine size it is a motorcycle. The moped operator must wear a DOT approved helmet. It may be ridden in a bicycle lane ONLY when under HUMAN POWER, i.e. being pedaled. A moped operator may not carry any passengers.
- DMV Oregon Motorcycle And Moped Manual
- Portland FAQs Motorcycles Scooter
- City of Portland Motorcycle Scooter Parking Information
A motor assisted scooter is a motor vehicle although it is not required to be registered or insured. A scooter cannot be capable of going faster than 24 mph on a level surface. A gas model engine maximum of 35 cc; electric maximum of 1000 watts power. Requires a bicycle helmet. Minimum age to operate is 16 but it does not require an Oregon Class C regular drivers license. A bicycle helmet is required. No passengers are allowed to ride on a scooter other than the operator. The maximum allowed speed is 15 mph. Scooter riders can ride in a bike lane or on a bike path but not on the sidewalk nor in a crosswalk. A scooter operator can be fined with a DUI if operating a scooter while intoxicated. If an electric or gas scooter exceeds either the maximum allowed speed, maximum capable-speed or engine size, it is classified as a moped or motorcycle and must meet all of the requirements of that classification. The use of these vehicles may be restricted by cities, counties, parks, or other local jurisdictions.
Oregon Vehicle Code (PDF): 801.348 | 811.440 | 814.510 | 814.512 | 814.518 | 814.520 | 814.524 | 814.534
Not a Moped / Scooter
For an example of how this can be confusing, the popular European style, "scooters," like, "Vespa Scooters," brand name are not necessarily a, "scooter," in Oregon, nor are they necessarily similar to a moped, in Oregon. However, there are some that look nearly identical which are a moped because the engine size is less than 50 cc and greater than 35.01 cc and meet other criteria for road use. Many current models of, "Vespa Scooters," for instance are, "Motorcycles." For a concrete example, this model is capable of going 76 mph and has an engine size of 278 cc which makes it a motorcycle under Oregon law.
Pocket Bike / Mini Motorcycle
These are not motor assisted scooters because the engine is more than 35 cc and can go faster than 24 mph on level ground. Can operate only on private property with owner's permission. Pocket Bikes are not legal to operate on highways or premises open to the public in Oregon. They do not meet Federal safety standards so they can not be a motorcycle or moped. At some private motor parks and events, mini bike racing is very popular - mini moto.
Electric Assisted Bicycle
An Electric Assisted Bicycle is considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. It has fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor with power output not more than 1,000 watts. Not capable of going faster than 20 mph on level ground. Operator must be at least 16 but does not require an Oregon Class C drivers license to operate. No helmet is required.
There do exist some products sold as, "electric assisted bicycles," and kits which in Oregon are considered a moped.
For a bicycle, there is no minimum age requirement and currently, no license and no registration required in Oregon. For bicycle operators under 16 years of age, a bicycle helmet is required under Oregon law. A bicycle can operate on the sidewalk, in a crosswalk or in a bike lane or path.
Any Oregon city may have bicycle specific laws, make sure to check. In Oregon, a some cities do not allow cycling on all sidewalks and other not so obvious potential laws. In Portland, this map illustrates a small area in downtown SW where bicycles are not allowed on the sidewalk. Portland bicycle laws are not always obvious, and the PBOT does provide a lot of information and tons of resources to help. Eugene has a similar part of downtown that they call a walk only zone; here are Eugene's bicycle laws (January 2017). Corvalis also, "On downtown sidewalks and on Monroe Avenue sidewalks from 14th to Arnold Way, you must walk your bike." Here are Corvalis bicycle laws (January 2017).
Call or visit in person your local city transportation office or DMV where you'll be able to get answers to your specific questions. Their offices and websites also have a variety of materials available. These folks are used to helping a lot of people with questions about their motor vehicles and license requirements.
DMV Vehicle Code Book (PDF) - you can order a print version of this for around $7.
These are useful tables from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and from Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) which can be printed out for easy reference.
- Oregon Moped, Motorized Scooter, Pocket Bike Guide
- PBOT Moped, Scooter, Roller \ In-line skates, skate board, skate scooter