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Mopeds Require a License in Georgia

One of the recurring myths in Georgia driving law is that a license is not required to operate a moped.  That myth is false.

A moped is a motor driven cycle with an engine not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters (cc's).  This is defined at OCGA 40-6-1 (28).

Motor vehicles having a saddle and not more than three wheels are motorcycles.  The definition excludes mopeds and tractors.  So, scooters, motorbikes and minibikes are motorcycles.  Motorcycles require a Class M or MP permits.  Class M is a full motorcycle permit.  Class MP is an instructional permit.  

Even though a motorcycle permit is not required for a moped, the operator must still have a license or permit.  The operator must be 15 years of age or older and have an unexpired driver's license, instructional permit, or limited permit.  This is set out at OCGA 40-6-351.  It states:

No person under 15 years of age shall operate a moped or an electric assisted bicycle upon the public roads and highways of this state. No person shall operate a moped upon the public roads and highways of this state unless he or she shall have in his or her possession a valid driver's license, instruction permit, or limited permit issued to him or her pursuant to Chapter 5 of this title; provided, however, that all classes of licenses, instruction permits, or limited permits issued pursuant to Chapter 5 of this title shall be valid for the purposes of operating mopeds upon the public roads and highways of this state. No license or permit shall be required for the operation of an electric assisted bicycle.

It is worth noting that moped operators must wear a helmet.  Standard traffic laws apply.  A moped may not be operated on  a limited access highway with a minimum speed above 35 mph.  

If your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in the state is suspended, you cannot legally operate a moped in Georgia.  Even if a salesperson tells you that you can because it is less than 50 cc, you should not operate a moped when your license is suspended.  The salesperson is wrong.  Not having to have a motorcycle permit is different than not having to have a license or some permit.

More information is available on the Georgia Department of Drivers Services website on their page discussing motorcycle licenses.

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.

Comments

P

Posted Mar 22, 2018 at 05:54:31

Hi

How did you arrive to conclusion that mopeds are not allowed on roads with speed limit above 35MPH

as much as i’ve tried to alocate OCGA with such language – I’ve not been successful

Also there is no definition it Title 32 or 40 specifying or defining the term “limited access highway” the only one I was able to find is for “limited access road”

I would appreciate any information clarifying my confusion.

Thank you

Petr

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Posted Mar 22, 2018 at 08:03:39

I have updated the post to include statutory citations.

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Chris G.

Posted Aug 30, 2018 at 14:32:50

Hello,
I recently moved from South Carolina to Georgia and have a question regarding Mopeds/Scooter. My license is currently suspended in South Carolina and will be for another 2 months. I have never had a Georgia License. With that said my question is; Can I ride a moped legally in Georgia with my license being suspended in SC?

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Posted Aug 31, 2018 at 06:33:58

Yes. You can look at the article on my other site. The article is at https://www.duiguru.com/mopeds-require-a-license-in-georgia. Sorry, I can’t give you an active link in comment responses.

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Jacob Fidler

Posted Sep 03, 2018 at 05:45:50

I have a suspended license in Indiana. Can I A. Drive a moped/scooter in Georgia legally, and B. Get a license in Georgia without fixing my license in IN?

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David Kirk

Posted Nov 08, 2018 at 02:36:39

Can I operate a 49.6cc on a Ga road with a learners permit? Im on unsupervised probation now and if it’s illegal to operate with learners permit and I get blue lighted,it will be a violation of probation. I’m getting alot of different stories. I will be taking driving test in a week and I don’t want to blow this.

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Posted Nov 21, 2018 at 07:01:29

With a learner’s permit, you can operate a moped under 50 cc.

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Raymond Speed

Posted May 07, 2019 at 02:48:50

So basically if I have Georgia license that’s valid and it is or is under 50cc I’m good to go without a motorcycle license or permit

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Posted May 07, 2019 at 04:00:16

Yes. If you have a valid license, you can operate an under 50cc moped.

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Frank

Posted May 19, 2019 at 18:54:56

Two questions: 1. I live in GA. Purchased new 150cc scooter from amazon seller based in TX. Received via drop ship. The clerk at the DMV returned my MSO & title app. and only charged me a $12 reg. fee. Gave me a tag & plate. I inquired…? She responded that I don’t need a title and that there was no ad valorem fee for this. Is this correct? 2. While at the shipping terminal, the fork lift driver told me that they had another 150cc scooter which they had dropped and the recipient refused to accept it. He said the seller didn’t want it back either and they were going to throw it away. Said I could have it. I accepted. Got it home. But I have no paperwork at all, so how do I tag & title it? Thank you.

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Posted May 21, 2019 at 05:04:37

Registration of mopeds and motor vehicles in general is not a part of my regular practice area. Your best bet is to go talk to someone at the tax commissioner’s office.

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Basit

Posted Jun 02, 2019 at 20:20:03

Can i drive under 50cc moped in Georgia if i have driving license of Maryland?

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Posted Jun 03, 2019 at 06:05:46

As long as you do not have a suspension or revocation from Georgia, I believe that a valid Maryland driver’s license would allow you to operate a moped in Georgia.

If you have a Maryland license but have moved to Georgia, you may need to turn in that Maryland license in to get a Georgia license.

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Mack

Posted Jun 03, 2019 at 09:22:06

Is 150cc motor scooter legal to drive in Georgia?

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Posted Jun 03, 2019 at 09:53:09

I am sure that it is, but it probably has to be registered like a motorcyle.

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Matt

Posted Jun 06, 2019 at 15:35:06

Thank you for this article. Thinking about getting a moped (under 50 cc) to commute to work. curious about how accidents involving mopeds are treated since GA does not require insurance or tag registration. How is liability determined in such accidents? Also, is it true moped riders are considered similar to a person riding a bicycle/pedestrian?

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Posted Jun 07, 2019 at 05:50:37

All traffic laws apply to the operation of mopeds on the roads, and mopeds are treated as vehicles for that purpose. OCGA 40-6-350. they are not treated like bicyclists or pedestrians.

While it does appear that mopeds under 50cc are not required to have insurance, it might be a good idea to look into the availability of coverage to protect yourself from liability claims. Without insurance, if you are at fault, you could be sued directly for any damages done by negligence.

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Posted Jun 07, 2019 at 10:15:50

I note that you have a 12 month suspension, not a 12 year suspension.

A Power Wheels has an electric motor. So it does have a motor, even though it is not gasoline powered. It might even qualify as moving vehicle if you were under the influence.

It would not be street legal. To the extent that you were crossing any street in it, it could be an issue with law enforcement. While it could be a moving vehicle in a DUI case, it is probably not a motor vehicle for licensing purposes, but I foresee problems.

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Susie S

Posted Jun 08, 2019 at 08:43:33

I ride a 49cc scooter. My Georgia licence was revolked. I have an Arizona license and have a home in Arizona. I live there but have a home here with kids attending college and a rental. Is it OK to ride my moped/scooter off the road and by the side of the road? Not only do I feel safer, because it is not insured, I do not want to ride on the road. Some places there is not a ‘side of the road’ but a sidewalk and more grass. Can I ride on the sidewalk in Georgia? When I get into my subdivision can I ride on the road? There are sidewalks in my subdivision.

Susie S

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Posted Jun 09, 2019 at 08:37:26

As long as the moped is not operated on any part of a public road, I do not see that it is prohibited. Your problem will be in passing across intersecting roads. You are likely to draw attention though.

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Anon

Posted Jul 28, 2019 at 01:08:00

I was in a situation recently where I was told by one police officer that I only needed my permit to drive and another officer who told me that scooters follow the same rules as cars. I therefore needed an adult (21+ yrs) with a valid driver’s licence riding with me. Which is true as I haven’t found any solid answers pertaining to this sort of question specifically?

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Posted Aug 01, 2019 at 10:01:34

If you are talking about mopeds, then a learner’s permit or a driver’s license is required. The person is not required to have a motorcycle license.

If you are talking about the electric scooters attacking the streets and sidewalks of Atlanta and the surrounding areas, then that’s a little bit more of a muddle. Certainly, if you are operating them on a road or street, you have to have a valid license. That includes crossing streets in a crosswalk or otherwise. My understanding is that the scooter companies have a policy that you be at least 18 with a valid driver’s license, and you certify that when you activate the scooter. However, violating the terms of service probably does not run you afoul of the traffic/licenseing laws of the state of Georgia.

Offhand, I am not sure if a learner’s permit would suffice. I think it would probably fall into the moped category, but I am not sure.

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