As children get older and start to enter their teenage years, they want to start doing more adult things. For a lot of teens, this means learning to drive. But as you know, cars are expensive and not something most teens can afford without help from their parents. This forces teens to look towards more affordable options like motorized scooters.

Here in California, our Vehicle Code classifies a motorized scooter as a two-wheeled device that is powered by a motor and the rider stands while operating it. These vehicles do not need to be registered in the state though local authorities are allowed to regulate them by law. Cheaper than their two-wheeled cousins the moped and motorcycle, motorized scooters give teens a mode of transportation that won’t break the bank.

But did you know that here in California, there are laws that dictate how one of these motor vehicles needs to be operated? A lot of teens might not be aware of these laws, which is why it is up to our adult readers who are parents to share this information with their young riders because doing so could help them avoid breaking the law and/or getting into a serious accident. Let’s take a look.

Even though motorized scooters don’t need to be registered, a rider does need to be at least 16 years old and they do need to have a valid drivers’ license or instruction permit in order to legally operate one of these devices.

Another thing to remember is that riders need to wear helmets. With motorized scooters, the risk of collision is higher because they are significantly smaller than a motorcycle or moped. And when a rider’s head strikes the roadway without a helmet, the chances of them suffering a traumatic brain injury or fatal head injury increases drastically.

Riders of motorized scooters should also note that although they are permitted to ride on roadways where the speed limit is more than 25 mph, they are only permitted to do so when a bicycle lane is present. In the absence of these lanes, riders are only permitted to ride on streets where the speed limit is 25 mph or less and must do so as far to the right of the road as possible.

Source: The California Department of Motor Vehicles, “Motorized Scooter Registration,” Accessed May 22, 2015