Motorized Scooters & Pocket Bikes

What is a Motorized Scooter?

California Vehicle Code, Section 407.5 defines a Motorized Scooter as:

"A motorized scooter is any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, and is powered by an electric motor...(or) a source other than electric power." 

The most common motorized scooter is powered by a two-cycle engine similar to gas-power blower.


Should I buy a motorized scooter for my child?

Te fact that motor scooters are sold in stores does not mean they are always legal on our roadways.  The rules, regulations, and restrictions for motorized scooters can be found in California Vehicle Code, Sections 21220.5 through 21235. 


However, a parent's decision to buy one for a child should be based upon the operator of a motorized scooter on a public roadway must:

  • be at least 16 years old and
  • have a valid California Driver's License.


Other important rules:

  • The operator must
    • wear an approved bicycle-type helmet,
    • cannot have passengers or wear headphones, and
    • cannot ride on a sidewalk.
  • The scooter can only be driven on a roadway with a speed limit not exceeding 25 miles per hour (most residential streets). 
    • An exception is if the roadway has an approved Class II bicycle lane (the type on most roadways).  The operator can ride on the roadway but only in the bicycle lane.
  • The speed limit for a motorized scooter is 15 miles per hour, regardless of the roadway speed.


Is a driver's license needed to operate a motorized scooter?

Yes.  It is a misdemeanor to operate a motorized scooter without a valid California Driver's license, per California Vehicle Code 12500a.  Operating a motorized scooter without a license is punishable by fine, and the motorized scooter may be impounded for up to 30 days.


What about scooter noise?

Motor scooter engines cannot exceed 82 decibels.  Most factory-equipped models fall below 82 decibels.  However, some people modify scooter mufflers to exceed these noise levels.


The average patrol officer does not carry a decibel meter.  If you have a problem in your neighborhood, call the Stockton Police Department Traffic Section and request a Traffic Officer to respond and test the noise level of the engine.



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This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 6/23/2015