Do I Need A License To Ride an Electric Scooter in California?

According to California’s Vehicle Code (CVC) §21235, it’s necessary to have a driver’s license to operate an e-scooter. It doesn’t matter which class driver’s license you have, so long as it is legal. California also allows anyone over the age of 16-years-old that has a learner’s permit to legally operate an e-scooter.

While e-scooter users require licenses, they don’t need a special vehicle registration. It’s not a requirement to have insurance or license plates. It’s also not necessary to register an e-scooter with the DMV to ride it in California. You can find all of these laws are listed in CVC §21224.

It’s important for e-scooter users to carefully review CVC §407.5 to ensure their vehicle meets California’s definition of an e-scooter. Different vehicles like mopeds, motor-driven cycles, and motorcycles have very different license requirements.

In CVC §407.5, the California legislature clearly defines an e-scooter as a two-wheeled vehicle with handlebars and a floorboard that the user can stand on. Obviously, an e-scooter must also have an electric motor! E-scooters may also have a driver’s seat, but this isn’t a requirement.

It’s legal to operate e-scooters on roads with 25 mph speed limits, so long as the e-scooter is traveling at 15 mph or less.

For those who are interested, the definitions of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, and moped are listed in CVC Sections 400, 405, and 406, respectively.

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