Colorado Scooter laws uncovered

EDIT June 4, 2009: COLORADO SCOOTER LAWS CHANGED WITH THE PASSAGE & SIGNING OF HB09-1026 on May 20,2009. Read more about it at this this posting

8/19/2014 Update:   The City of Loveland has updated their low-power scooter page here.

The scooter community really expanded this past summer due to high gas prices.  There are now many new scooter riders on the road.  This has lead to confusion about what the actual scooter laws are in Colorado by the general public.

I have observed a great deal of misinformation on the internet and in printed newspaper articles on Colorado’s scooter laws.  From law enforcement and scooter encounters I’ve read, even the police are not always certain what the laws are.  I’ve scrounged around and have tried to track down official documents and websites.  I’m posting the links for them here.

Keep in mind that a motorcycle, a motorized bicycle, and a toy vehicle are quite different by definition and have different laws of operation.  We know that motorcycle can have a scooter body style but the general public doesn’t always know that.

The facts:

Motorized bicycle/Scooter/Moped

This is a great document I found at The City of Loveland’s website:

The Colorado Legislature has laws which govern and give definitions of how Law Enforcement can enforce laws.  In these definitions, Officials must make decisions about what is legal and what is not.  The below information is provided for information only and is not binding in any way.  If you would like further information or interpretation, please contact your local Law Enforcement Department or local Court.

1.  Per CRS 42-1-102(59)(b) the description of a motorized bicycle (MOPED) is as follows:

“Motorized bicycle” means a vehicle having two or three wheels, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 c.c., and an automatic transmission which produces a maximum design speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on a flat surface.

2.  Per CRS 42-1-102(59)(a) the description of a “Motorscooter” and “Motorbicycle” is as follows:

“”Motorscooter” and “motorbicycle” mean every motor vehicle designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, except any such vehicle as may be included within the term “farm tractor” as defined in this section and any motorized bicycle as defined in paragraph (b) of this subsection (59), which motor vehicle is powered by an engine of not to exceed six brake-horsepower.

3.  Per CRS 42-1-102(112) the description of a “Vehicle” is as follows:

“Vehicle” means any device which is capable of moving itself, or of being moved, from place to place upon wheels or endless tracks. “Vehicle” includes any bicycle, but such term does not include any wheelchair as defined by subsection (113) of this section, or any off-highway vehicle…”

CRS 42-1-102 (103.5) “Toy Vehicle” means any vehicle, whether or not home-built by the user, that has wheels with an outside diameter of not more than fourteen inches and is not designed, approved, or intended for use on public roadways or highways.  “Toy Vehicle” includes, but is not limited to, gas-powered or electric-powered vehicles commonly known as mini bikes, “pocket” bikes, kamikaze boards, go-peds, and stand-up scooters.

1.  CRS 42-3-144          Motorized bicycle registration

“This states every motorized bicycle sold in this state shall have an identification number stamped on its frame which shall be recorded upon registration.  Motorized bicycles shall be registered with the Department of Revenue, and such registration shall be evidenced by a decal which is securely affixed to the motorized bicycle frame in a conspicuous place.  Registration shall be valid for a period of three years, and the fee for such registration shall be five dollars.”

2.  CRS 42-2-103          Motorized bicycles – driver’s license required for operators.

“An operator of a motorized bicycle shall possess a valid driver’s license or minor driver’s license. No motorized bicycle shall be operated on any interstate system as described in section 43-2-101 (2), C.R.S., except where a bicycle may be operated on such interstate system, on any limited-access road of the state highway system as described in section 43-2-101 (1), C.R.S., or on any sidewalk, unless such operation is specifically designated. Motorized bicycles may be operated upon roadways, except as provided in this section, and in bicycle lanes included within such roadways.”

*  It is OK for Mopeds (not 4-wheeled) to operate on public roadways and if available, in the bike lanes that are present, but the operator must have a valid driver’s license and should not be on a sidewalk

3.  CRS 42-4-109          Motorized bicycles, animals, skis, skates and toy vehicles on highways.

(1) Every person riding a motorized bicycle upon a roadway where motorized bicycle travel is permitted shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties and penalties applicable to the driver of a vehicle as set forth in this article, except those provisions of this article which, by their very nature, can have no application…”

“…Said riders shall also comply with special rules set forth in this section and in section 42-4-220 (1) (b) and (1) (c)…”

*  Have to have affixed, a forward-facing white light visible from 500 feet

*  Have to have affixed, a rear-facing red reflector or lamp.  The reflector must be visible from all distances between 50 and 300 feet.  The red lamp must be visible at 500 feet.

*  Must have affixed, an audible device or bell (not a siren or whistle) audible from 100 feet.

* Must have a brake affixed, that when applied causes the tire(s) to skid on dry pavement.

“… and, when using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of motorized bicycles as provided in section 42-4-111 (Powers of local authorities). Whenever the word “vehicle” is used in any of the driving rules set forth in this article that are applicable to motorized bicycle riders, such term shall include motorized bicycles.”

(5) “Every person operating a motorized bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.”

(9) “No person shall use the highways for traveling on skis, toboggans, coasting sleds, skates, or similar devices. It is unlawful for any person to use any roadway of this state as a sled or ski course for the purpose of coasting on sleds, skis, or similar devices. It is also unlawful for any person upon roller skates or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device to go upon any roadway except while crossing a highway in a crosswalk, and when so crossing such person shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians. This subsection (9) does not apply to any public way which is set aside by proper authority as a play street and which is adequately roped off or otherwise marked for such purpose.”

4.  CRS 42-4-1409          Compulsory Insurance for Vehicles

(1) “No owner of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall operate the vehicle or permit it to be operated on the public highways of this state when the owner has failed to have a complying policy or certificate of self-insurance in full force and effect as required by sections 10-4-705 and 10-4-716, CRS.”


Colorado law defines a motorcycle as a vehicle with two or three wheels and a motor larger then 50cc. A motorcycle must be equipped with the same mandatory equipment as a car or truck; operating headlights, taillights, turn signals and all other equipment required of any motorized vehicle.

Motorcycles may be driven on public roadways and with no restrictions on interstate highways. They may not be driven on sidewalks. Motorcycles must be licensed with a visible license plate displayed. The operator must have both a valid driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement. Motorcycles require vehicle insurance coverage.

Application for Motorized Bicycle Registration C.R.S. 42-3-311 – Colorado Dept. of Revenue

Colorado Dept of Revenue’s Motorized Bicycle FAQ page.

Note: ‘pocket bikes’ aka as ‘pocket rockets’ are not scooters.  They are considered ‘toy vehicles’ under Colorado Revised Statutes and are not legal to use on public roadways.


© 2008-2014 G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

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