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Know Oregon laws related to riding a moped, scooter or e-bike.
Getting around in Portland by moped or scooter is growing in popularity. A moped or a scooter may seem similar to a bicycle or motorcycle, but there are important differences in the eyes of the law. I represent injured scooter, moped and e-bike riders. Enjoy your ride, and if you are ever injured on the road, contact me as soon as you are able.
Differences in Oregon laws between motorcycle / moped and scooter / electric bicycle are not obvious and may vary from other states.
For scooters even cities within Oregon may have different laws.
The Oregon laws regarding license, registration, insurance, operator age requirements, and training requirements are very different and specific to the mode of transportation.
Differences: Motorcycle and Scooter, Moped, E Bike etc.
The definition legal and otherwise that defines a motorcycle, moped or scooter is how fast each are capable of traveling; i.e. the engine / power source. US States may define these modes of transportation limits differently.
A motorcycle is the most powerful. A moped is like a motorcycle or a "motor assisted bicycle" but by Oregon law it can not be capable of traveling at speeds faster than 30 mph on a level road surface. This is a useful info chart to see the Oregon definitions and requirements for motorcycle, bicycle, motor assisted scooter, moped, pocket bike, segway, electric or gas scooter, electric assisted bicycle.
MOPED: If it has a combustion engine, the engine must be 35.01 to 50 cc. Must be unable to travel more than 30 mph on a level road surface. Must not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the power drive system is engaged. Requires a driver license to operate (but not a motorcycle endorsement). Requires registration and insurance to operate on public roadways and premises open to the public. The maximum allowed speed for a moped is 30 mph. If a moped exceeds either maximum capable speed or engine size it is a motorcycle.
A scooter can not be capable of going faster than 24 mph on a level surface.
SCOOTER: Gas – Maximum cc=35 Electric – Maximum output=1000 watts Approved lighting must be used when operating under limited visibility. Not capable of going faster than 24 mph on level ground. Use may be restricted by local jurisdictions. Minimum age to ride is 16. Does not require a drivers license, registration, nor insurance. 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.
Oregon Moped Restricted License
In Oregon, you must have a special Class C driver license to operate a moped and you must be 16 years of age or older. You cannot get an instruction permit for operating a moped. A moped license is specific to operating a moped. A moped-restricted license allows operation of only mopeds. Operating a vehicle that does not fit the definition of a moped with a moped-restricted license could result in a citation for operating a vehicle without driving privileges.
In order to operate a moped in Oregon, applicants must take a moped knowledge test, pass a moped riding skills test. In order to take the moped riding skills test you must have proof of insurance with you. In addition, in Oregon a moped must be registered and licensed with the DMV. Mopeds may or may not have been manufactured or equipped for highway use. To obtain registration to legally operate a moped or similar vehicle on the public roads of Oregon, the vehicle must meet federal highway safety and equipment requirements, Federal EPA requirements, and insurance requirements. A moped operator must have a DOT certified helmet, may not carry any passengers, and must not exceed travel over 30 mph.
There are major differences between a bicycle and a scooter. For a bicycle, there is no minimum age requirement and currently, no license and no registration. 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. For bicycle only operators, there are reasons to make sure to carry some form of transportation insurance especially if you do not have health insurance or have a high deductible.
Oregon DMV Quick Guide Moped, Motorcycle, Bicycle, Scooter
Like motorcycles, auto accidents often happen with moped and scooter riders and cars because car drivers are just not seeing the moped or scooter operator. Unlike a motorcycle, a scooter or moped does not have extra power to perform escape accident avoidance maneuvers.
801.345 “Moped.” “Moped” means a vehicle, including any bicycle equipped with a power source, other than an electric assisted bicycle as defined in ORS 801.258 or a motor assisted scooter as defined in ORS 801.348, that complies with all of the following:
(1) It is designed to be operated on the ground upon wheels.
(2) It has a seat or saddle for use of the rider.
(3) It is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
(4) It is equipped with an independent power source that:
(a) Is capable of propelling the vehicle, unassisted, at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a level road surface; and
(b) If the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of 35.01 to 50 cubic centimeters regardless of the number of chambers in the power source.
(5) It is equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only and does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the system is engaged. [1983 c.338 §59; 1985 c.16 §19; 1997 c.400 §5; 2001 c.749 §25]
801.348 “Motor assisted scooter.” “Motor assisted scooter” means a vehicle that:
(1) Is designed to be operated on the ground with not more than three wheels;
(2) Has handlebars and a foot support or seat for the operator’s use;
(3) Can be propelled by motor or human propulsion; and
(4) Is equipped with a power source that is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 24 miles per hour on level ground and:
(a) If the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of 35 cubic centimeters or less regardless of the number of chambers in the power source; or
(b) If the power source is electric, has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts. [2001 c.749 §2]
According to ORS 801.258, an electric assisted bicycle:
- Is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;
- Has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
- Is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
- Has both fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor; and
- Is equipped with an electric motor that has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts and is
- incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 20 miles per hour on level ground.