Baltimore County, Md. (December 8, 2011) – Motorized scooters, mini-scooters, “pocket rockets,” and similar devices have grown in popularity and have generated a number of questions among consumers and community groups. In response, the Baltimore County Police Department offers these guidelines on owning and operating equipment.
The laws governing mopeds are similar to those governing motor scooters. The operator of a moped or motor scooter must possess a valid Maryland driver’s license or a valid moped license. Mopeds and motor scooters can be ridden on any roadway where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour or less, but they cannot be driven faster than 30 miles per hour. They must have the appropriate headlights, rear reflectors, and brakes, and must be equipped with a bell or other warning device capable of being heard for a distance of at least 100 feet.
Motorized Scooter: a two-wheeled device with handlebars that is designed to be stood on by the operator and is powered by an electric or gas motor. Under County code, motorized scooters cannot be driven on any public road or highway. They can be ridden only on private property and only with the property owner’s written permission.
Motor scooter: has a seat for the operator, and two wheels, one of which is 10” in diameter or more and has a step-through chassis. It has a motor with a rating of 2.7 brake horsepower or less, or a motor with a capacity of 50cc piston displacement or less and is equipped with an automatic transmission.
Moped: a bicycle designed to be operated with the assistance of a motor and is equipped with pedals that mechanically drive the rear wheels. It has two or three wheels, one of which is more than 14” in diameter, and has a motor with a rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less, and an internal combustion engine of 50cc piston displacement or less.
Pocket Rockets, Mini-Cycles or Mini-Harleys: Vehicles popularly known as pocket rockets, mini-cycles, or mini-Harleys, do not have the characteristics of the devices listed above. For example, unlike motorized scooters, they have seats, and they do not have the step-through chassis of a moped. In addition, under state law, these vehicles do not fit the description of a motor vehicle, and they cannot be registered and insured. Since they meet no legal requirements, they cannot be operated on public roads or streets. They can be operated on private property only with the property owner’s written permission, and they cannot be operated within 300 feet of the property line of a residence.