How to Get License Plates for Motor Scooters

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If you've made the decision to buy a scooter, you already know many of the benefits of scooter riding and ownership. However, one commonality exists across the board for almost all motorists: you're going to need to get license plates. In most states, this is the case no matter what displacement your scooter has. In some cases, however, you may not be required by law to obtain license plates. Checking with your local Department of Motor Vehicles and getting the proper license plate where legally required will keep you scootering happily no matter where you live.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with working internet connection
  • Working telephone (optional)
  • Properly licensed, road-legal vehicle (optional)
  • Determine your state's laws regarding motor scooters. In some states, all motorized vehicles, regardless of size or power, are required by law to bear license plates while operating on public roads. In other states, vehicles below a certain engine displacement are not required to bear license plates. In the latter case, you will most likely only be let off the hook if your scooter is a 49cc model. If it has greater displacement than that, you will probably have to get a license plate. See Resources for a link to the DMV websites in all fifty United States.

  • Call your local DMV to find out what they require you to bring in order to apply for your scooter's license plate. Usually this will include the scooter's vehicle identification number (VIN), your valid driver's license (with classification for your displacement of scooter, if applicable), and a service fee for your plate.

  • Go to your local DMV and fill out the applicable paperwork. Use a properly licensed, road-legal vehicle to get to the DMV. In some states, you will be handed a license plate for your scooter immediately upon filling out the requested paperwork and submitting the required documentation and fees. In others, you will be given a temporary plate to use until your real plate arrives in the mail. In either case, you should not ride your scooter on public roads until you've got one or the other sort of license plate properly affixed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your scooter is a vintage model that you do not intend to ride regularly, and you are instead collecting scooters with intent to take them to vintage scooter enthusiast meets, check with your DMV to see about antique license plate options. If you are only riding the scooter on public roads once in a while to get to these meets, this might be a better option for you. Requirements for the age of your scooter vary from state to state, but they usually must be at least 60 years old to qualify.

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