Some people have turned to alternative sources of transportation as gas prices continue to rise. In Arkansas, scooters can be an effective form of conveyance for traveling relatively short distances. However, many forget that drivers of these vehicles still must abide by state traffic laws. Knowing what rules apply to your scooter in Arkansas will help ensure that you avoid getting a ticket.
Arkansas has different rules applicable to scooters, according to how the vehicle is classified. If your scooter has an engine displacement of at least 250cc, has a seat or saddle for riding, and is designed to travel with three or fewer wheels on the ground, it is considered a motorcycle. If your scooter meets this same criteria but has an engine displacement of less than 250cc, it is considered a motor-driven cycle. If your scooter has an engine displacement of less than 50cc and an automatic transmission, it is considered a motorized bicycle.
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If your scooter is classified as either a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, it needs to be registered with the Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles. This rule also applies if your scooter has an engine displacement of less than 50cc, but utilizes a standard transmission. State law also requires that these scooters be licensed and display appropriate plates obtained from the OMV. In addition to registration, state law requires that you obtain sufficient liability insurance on motorcycles.
If your scooter is classified as either a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, you need to be at least 14 years old to drive it. If you are under 16, you will need to pass a skills test or complete an OMV-approved safety course. Drivers over the age of 16 may operate these vehicles without this step, provided the driver has a valid Arkansas driver's license. Motorized bicycles may be operated by anyone at least 10 years of age. However, if you do not have a valid Arkansas driver's license or learner's permit, you will need a certificate. The certificate can be obtained from the OMV after passing the skills test or completing the safety course.
You must obey all Arkansas traffic laws, regardless of how your scooter is classified. This means that your scooter cannot be driven off of the street, in buildings or on sidewalks. Anyone operating a scooter that is under 21 must wear a helmet and all riders must wear protective face covering, such as goggles or glasses. Further, you must keep your headlights on at all times -- even during the day. Drivers under 16 are not allowed to have passengers. Drivers over 16 may have one passenger, provided the scooter has appropriate hand rests and foot pegs.
Wayne Thomas earned his J.D. from Penn State University and has been practicing law since 2008. He has experience writing about environmental topics, music and health, as well as legal issues. Since 2011, Thomas has also served as a contributing editor for the "Vermont Environmental Monitor."