Pertinent CA Motorized Scooter Vehicle Codes

A Selection of California Vehicle Codes for riding motorized scooters:

Recently I’ve become the owner of a brand new Honda Metropolitan Motorized Scooter.  It’s a very common 49 cc scooter that buzzes about the Bay Area on any day of the week.  They’re cheap ($500-1800 used, $2300 new), reliable, consume only a fraction of fuel that compact cars do (100 miles/gallon) and quite safe (mainly due to the roads and speeds they’re limited to).  However, there are many questions out there regarding the legality of riding one; who can ride them, where they can be ridden, how they need to be insured, licensed, and registered, and generally if it’s just too much of a hassle to even get involved.
Today, after spending a solid 4 hours at the DMV and then another bit of time with my insurer and his underwriter and then poking about on the internet for good information (not advice), I’ve decided to post and pass along what I found regarding this vehicle, my 2003 49 cc Honda Metropolitan Motorized Scooter.  It’s yellow.  I like it a lot.  And I hope this information helps you when making a decision to buy and ride one too.
*This information is Not intended to be legal advice.

Section 400-407.5 of the California Vehicle Code:

Section 400: Motorcycle: having a seat or saddle and traveling on not more than 3 wheels and less than 1500lbs.
Section 405: Motor Driven Cycle: a motorcycle with less than 150cc.
Section 407.5: Motorized Scooter: (A) A “motorized scooter” is any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, has a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon while riding, and is powered by an electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion.  This device may also have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability to stand.  For purposes of motorized bicycle or moped, as defined in section 406, or a toy, as defined in section 108550 of the Health and Safety Code, is not a motorized scooter. (B) A device meeting the definition in subdivision (A) that is powered by a source other than electrical power is also a motorized scooter.


Section 12804.9 of the California Vehicle Code:

A Class C license includes: (B)(3)(H) motorized scooters; (B)(3)(I) does not include motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.


So there you have it.

One response to “Pertinent CA Motorized Scooter Vehicle Codes”

  1. Hey John! Congrats on the ‘hog’!

    Recently picked one up for myself, as I am sure I already mentioned in the earlier email…

    How is it that we end up having similar hobbies so often?