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Motorized bicycles, mopeds, and scooters

Last updated: 7/7/17

Motorized bicycles, mopeds, and scooters

You can find information about the state laws related to these types of vehicles below.

Do you have specific questions about using these vehicles in the City of Boston? Please contact the Transportation Department at 617-635-4680 or btd@boston.gov.

Still have questions? Contact:
Transportation
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026
United States

Legal definitions

The state law that features the definitions of these vehicles is found in M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 1. Motorized bicycles and scooters must also comply with all federal safety standards.

Motorized bicycles

A motorized bicycle is also known as a “moped.” A motorized bicycle can be a pedal bicycle with a helper motor, or a non-pedal bicycle with a motor. The motor must have an automatic transmission.

The motor can’t:

  • have a cylinder capacity greater than fifty cubic centimeters, and
  • be capable of going faster than 30 miles per hour.
Motorized scooter

The state also has a definition for motorized scooters. These scooters can have two- or three-wheels. They have handlebars and can be stood or sat on. Motorized scooters can be powered by an electric or gas motors. They also are able to move with or without human effort.

As defined by the state, motorized scooters don’t include:

  • motorcycles
  • motorized bicycles, or
  • three-wheeled motorized wheelchairs.

State law on motorized Bicycles

Requirements

When using a motorized bicycle, you need to follow all of the state’s traffic laws and regulations. You can’t drive faster than 25 miles per hour. You also must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver's license or learner's permit.

You need to register your motorized bicycle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. You also must have a valid registration sticker on the bike.

Where you can ride

You have the right to use any public way. But, you aren’t allowed on limited access or express state highways where bicycles are prohibited. Also, you can use bike lanes on the street, but you can’t ride on off-street recreational bike paths.

Safety

You need to wear an approved safety helmet. If you have any passengers, they also need to wear a helmet. Aside from following electronic signals and posted signs, you also must use hand signals before stopping or turning.

Violations

If you violate any of the state laws on motorized bikes, you will be fined:

  • $25 for a first offense
  • $25 - $50 for a second offense, and
  • $50 - $100 for further offenses.

To read more details about the laws in Massachusetts, check out M.G.L. Chapter 90 §1B-E.