There are specific requirements for driving a moped, motorized scooter or other 2-3 wheel vehicles in Florida. These are different than the rules governing the operation of other motorized vehicles like motorcycles and other 2 wheel vehicles like bicycles. Each type of vehicle has a unique set of laws that govern who may operate the vehicle and where it may be used.
There are also differences in how drivers of each of these vehicles are protected under their insurance policies. These differences can be crucial if you are injured in a collision while riding your bike, moped, motorcycle or motorized scooter. If that is the case, we are happy to help you navigate these laws and get you the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and time away from work.
The first step to learning the rules is determining which type of vehicle you own. The words and phrases we use to refer to vehicles everyday are not always the legally accurate terms. For example, what many people refer to as a ‘moped’ or ‘scooter’ is somewhat of a cross between the two legal definitions of both, where there is a seat for the rider but no pedals for propulsion. This type of vehicle is not specifically defined under the Florida statute as a unique vehicle but it falls under the category of motorcycle. Read the statutes below and determine which vehicle you own.
Once you know what type of vehicle you are dealing with, these Florida requirements can most easily be explained when examining 3 key topics: Licensing, protection, and insurance.
Fla. Stat. 316.003 defines the following vehicles:
BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. A person under the age of 16 may not operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.
Licensing: There is no need to register your bicycle with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles because they only require registration of ‘motor vehicles’. To operate a motorized bicycle, you must be at least 16 years of age but a driver’s license is not required.
Protection: Although adults are not required to wear any protection, we strongly recommend wearing helmets to protect your skull and brain from injury in the event of a fall or a collision. The fatality statistics are staggering proof that people who wear helmets are safer if an accident happens. People under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet while operating a bicycle.
Note: Helmets should be replaced after crashes, falls, or being dropped. They are designed to withstand one blow, not to be reused.
Insurance: There are multiple ways insurance can protect you after a collision involving a bicycle. If you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage on a vehicle you or a relative in your household owns, you may be covered under that policy for any injuries you suffer from a collision with a motor vehicle, including hit and run crashes.
You can also purchase insurance to cover damage or destruction of your bicycle and riding gear, such as a helmet, GPS, riding cleats, etc. through companies like Velosurance.
If you were hurt by someone who caused a collision on his or her bicycle, their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may be available to compensate you for your injuries.
—Any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters (50 cc).
Note: If your vehicle has an engine displacement of greater than 50cc, it is considered a motorcycle.
—Any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
Licensing Requirements for Operating a Moped or Motorized Scooter: Licensing requirements for these smaller vehicles are incredibly simple, provided you are not driving on a public street or roadway. Since a moped or scooter is not considered a motorcycle by legal definition, no specific license is required to operate one away from public roadways.
On public streets and roadways, you must be 16 years of age or older and hold a Class-E (regular operator) or "motorcycle only" license. This is because mopeds, scooters and other 2-3 wheel vehicles are considered "motor vehicles" on public roadways, and thus require a license.
You may be required to register a moped (but not a scooter) with the county tax collector's office. You will be charged a registration fee and will have to renew on an annual basis. Contact your local department of motor vehicles to ensure that you are following the specific requirements for your particular make and model of scooter, moped or similar vehicle.
Protection Requirements for Moped or Motorizes Scooter: As long as your vehicle has an engine of 50 cc or less, 2 brake horsepower or less, and cannot go more than 30 miles per hour on level ground, you do not need to wear a helmet. Any passengers younger than 16 years old are required to wear a helmet.
Insurance Requirements for a Moped or Motorized Scooter: Insurance is generally not required for moped, scooter or other 2-3 wheel vehicle operators in the state of Florida. In some cases, you may be required to purchase insurance if you cause a collision on your moped.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is highly advised if you intend to drive your 2-3 wheel vehicle on public roadways. PIP could help tremendously in the event you are involved in a collision.
—Any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor or a moped.
Registration: Motorcycles must be registered with the DMV in order to be operated legally on Florida roads. Unlike registering a four wheeled motor vehicle, there is no requirement to show proof of any insurance when registering your motorcycle.
Protection: Helmets must be worn by anyone operating or riding on a motorcycle under the age of 21. Motorcyclists who are at least 21 years old and who have a minimum of $10,000 with a health insurance policy are not required to wear helmets. Every motorcyclist must wear eye protection unless the motorcycle has a windshield. Even though they aren’t always required, history has proven helmets save lives. If you are on a motorcycle, you should be wearing a helmet.
Insurance for Motorcycles: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) does not cover you on a motorcycle. In fact, you cannot even purchase it for a motorcycle. But, that doesn’t mean there are no options. Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage will cover you in the event the at-fault driver of a collision has no or does not have sufficient bodily injury coverage to compensate you for your injuries. You may only purchase UM in amounts equal to or less than the amount of bodily injury (BI) coverage purchased. BI protects you in the event you contribute to causing a collision in which someone is injured. Because of the heightened risk of serious injury and death while riding a motorcycle, it is best to purchase BI and UM, and get the most you can afford.
The average stay in a hospital for a motorcycle rider after a collision is over a week. Medical bills add up quickly with overnight stays in the hospital and insurance can be a life saver.
If you or someone you know is attempting to fight the insurance companies alone after a crash, think again. We have a team of experienced attorneys who know the rules and want to help you through the process of filing your claim. We never charge any upfront fees and only get paid if we recover a settlement or win a verdict for you. When the facts of how an accident occurred are unclear or you are unsure what insurance is available, call us for your free consultation.