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Vespa and Scooter Laws in New York

New York State's Vehicle and Traffic Law defines a limited use motorcycle as a "low-speed vehicle with two or three wheels." Under this interpretation, mopeds and scooters are considered limited use motorcycles, which means that they must adhere to motorcycle registration and licensing laws.

Vespas, Mopeds and Scooters

Even though non-owners may not treat mopeds and scooters as serious bikes, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (MVD) treats them very seriously. Mopeds and scooters, just like motorcycles, require full registration and a driver's license to operate.

Moped and Scooter Classifications

The DMV divides mopeds and scooters into three classifications (A, B, and C), based on top speed. Each class comes with specific requirements and restrictions.

  • Class A reaches top speeds between 30 and 40 mph, requires a class M/MJ license, and can be operated in any traffic lane.
  • Class B reaches top speeds between 20 and 30 mph, does not require a specific license, and can be operated only in either the right hand lane, or along the shoulder.
  • Class C reaches top speeds of 20 mph or less, does not require a specific license, and can be operated only in either the right hand lane, or along the shoulder.

To register, you must visit a DMV office and bring with you:

  • A completed Vehicle Registration/Title Application.
  • A completed Statement of Transaction for Sales Tax, proof of being tax exempt, or proof of having paid the sales tax.
  • Proof of ownership. A Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO), a bill of sale, or a previous registration that was transferred over to you will suffice as rock-solid proof.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Cash, check, or credit card to pay all applicable fees.

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