In the state of Arkansas, an individual needs a license to operate a motorcycle or motorized scooter. A motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle with a seat or saddle, no more than three wheels designed to touch the road while driving, and at least a 250 cc engine. A motorized bicycle is defined as a vehicle with an automatic transmission with less than a 50 cc engine.
Information on License Types
Arkansas has two types of motorcycle licenses, which also apply to motorized scooters. They are license type Class M, for ages 16 and over, and license type Class MD, for ages 14 to 15. A Class M license costs $40 and expires within eight years. A Class MD license is prorated and expires one month past the licensee’s 16th birthday. A rider can renew a Class MD license on or after their 16th birthday.
With a Class M license, the rider is authorized to operate motorcycles, motor-driven cycles or similar classified vehicles. With a Class MD license, the rider is authorized to operate a motor-driven cycle that displaces 250 cubic centimeters or less. Even if an individual has a Class MD license, if they are under 16, they may not be allowed to operate an electric scooter, or e-scooter, in a city according to municipal regulations.
Municipal E-Scooter Rules
Certain cities in Arkansas, such as Little Rock, make shared electric scooters available for public use. A person under 16 years of age is not allowed to operate a shared scooter. A person under 18 cannot operate a shared scooter unless they are wearing an appropriate helmet.
A rider cannot operate a shared scooter at a speed over 15 mph. The rider also cannot ride on a sidewalk in the city unless the area has been deemed appropriate for sidewalk use and signage to note this is in place.
A rider may not ride a shared scooter outside a designated bicycle lane if the person is riding after dark without a white lamp in front and a red lamp or reflector in the rear or with other front and rear illumination gear acceptable to the city that is visible from a distance of 500 feet. Only one person can ride a shared scooter at a time. A city may impose a penalty for a failure to comply with these rules.
Arkansas Motorcycle Laws
Arkansas state law regarding motorcycles requires all motorcycles to be equipped with at least one headlight, but not more than two headlights that in the dark emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet in front. The vehicle must have a rear red reflector that is visible from a distance of 300 feet when directly in front of an upper-beam lamp of a car. The motorcycle must also have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear that must be used in addition to the red reflector. The motorcycle must have good hand or foot brakes and a horn in good working order, but no bell, siren or whistle.
The motorcycle must have a standard muffler, and handholds and support for the passenger’s feet when the craft is designed to carry more than one person, unless it is equipped with a sidecar and electrical turn signals that meet state requirements. Arkansas motorcycle helmet laws require all passengers and operators of motorcycles and motorized scooters to be equipped with protective headgear unless they are 21 or older. For eye protection, passengers and operators must also wear protective glasses, goggles or transparent face shields.
Arkansas Motorcycle Insurance Rules
Arkansas motorcyclists must have motorcycle insurance to operate motorcycles or motor scooters. The minimum requirements for insurance are the same as for a four-wheeled vehicle: $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident. The coverage is sometimes stated as a 25/50/25 policy.
Obtaining a Driver’s License
A rider must have certain documents to get a driver’s license for a motorcycle or motorized scooter: a U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate, or alternatively, a foreign passport with a valid U.S. visa; a Social Security card or W-2 tax form; a school identification card; and two documents that prove Arkansas residency, the last of which are needed for a Real ID. A Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or identification card meant to combat terrorism. The two documents to prove Arkansas residency can be a utility bill, bank statement, voter registration card less than four years old, medical or dental bills, or state or federal tax returns less than a year old.
Register a New Vehicle
An owner should register their motorcycle or motorized scooter with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. They need to complete an application by entering information about themselves and their vehicle, and pay fees. After their application is submitted, they will receive notifications of their title status. Once their application has been accepted, they will receive their plate and registration in the mail.
Items they will need for the registration and title include the Arkansas title, bill of sale, manufacturer statement of origin or out-of-state title, insurance card and federal odometer statement. The owner may also need their personal property tax number (PPAN) assigned from the county tax assessor; lien contract or security agreement; current year's county tax agreement; and proof of paid tax receipt. If an owner is transferring a plate, their registration must be current.
Driving Regulations for Motorcycle Riders
A motorcycle or motorized scooter may not carry more than two persons. A rider under 16 is not allowed to carry another person as a passenger. A motorcycle operator may not carry a passenger under the age of eight. Turn signals are not required. A person found in violation of these regulations may be fined between $10 and $50 and face up to 30 days in jail.
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration: License ID and Permits, Motorcycle Registration
- City of Little Rock: e Dockless Mobility Technology Code for the City of 2 Little Rock, Arkansas
- Arkansas State Legislature: Arkansas Law
- Arkansas Insurance Department: Automobile Insurance
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration: Documents Required for Issuance of Driver's License or Registration Card
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration: Arkansas Real ID
- Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration: Vehicle Registration/Title
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.