Where on the road do I ride my 50cc scooter?

by Steven
(Traverse City, MI, USA)

Do I ride my scooter on the right side of the white line or the left?

ANSWER: Steven, you need to check your local laws governing 50cc scooters, but if Michigan is like most states, that size scooter is considered street legal and is expected to ride in the lane like other traffic... NOT on the shoulder.

And you also have to obey all the traffic laws. Even if your scooter doesn't need to be licensed in Michigan (many states don't license 50cc and smaller scoots), you might want to get hold of your state's motorcycle manual, as it will give lots of tips on riding in traffic, etc.

The best place to ride any motorized 2-wheeler is just inside the center line. That will give you the most visibility to other drivers, both those in front of you, those behind you and those coming towards you in the opposite lane.

Do not ride on roads where the speed limit is so high, you can't keep up with traffic, or you're inviting trouble.

Have fun!


Comments for Where on the road do I ride my 50cc scooter?

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Apr 01, 2011
Place to ride
by: Ron Goldwyn

Dear Scott... What you say makes much sense, but I do most of my riding on a main drag (Rte #1 in CT). This is a 4 lane road (2 in each direction) and traffic in the right lane is constantly going into shopping strip malls that line both sides of the highway.

For me it means a constant slowdown with the cars ahead of me during heavy traffic periods. I fear traffic more than possible oil making the road slippery.

I want auto drivers behind me to know that a limited speed (40MPH) vehicle is in front of him/her and if they want to exceed the speed limit they can go into the left lane and pass me, but I'm not giving up my right of way just because my vehicle is smaller. Moving to the right 1/4 of the lane permits the vehicle behind me to pass me by staying mostly in the right lane and passing very close to me, while riding in the center forces them into the left hand passing lane.

This is the basis of my thinking, others must choose for themselves.

Apr 01, 2011
Lane position for two-wheeled vehicles
by: Michael Scott

Hi there, fellow bikers... Good comments, Ron, about wearing brightly colored clothing; good gear can SERIOUSLY impact the likelihood of being seen by other drivers. The brighter/more colorful, the better.

One comment about lane position, though: Ron, you mentioned that you ride in the middle of the right-hand lane. That's not the optimal position.
Someone else mentioned "where the left wheel of a car in the same lane would be positioned". THAT'S the place you want to be!

Reason? In the middle of the lane is where oil and other drips engine fluids tend to drip AND where road debris also accumulates...BOTH of which can spell bad news to bikers.

Have great rides, folks!

Mar 11, 2011
Your local laws may differ!
by: Rick Rudge

Hi Steven,

Naturally, you need to go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles and get a manual for your state to find out what the local laws are (there might be an additional manual for motorcycles and mopeds). Keep that book under the seat of your scooter if there's ever any dispute of what you're local laws are. Even the police might get it wrong, but if you're wrong, they'll tell you, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Here in Oregon, a 50cc scooter is still considered a vehicle that must be insured and licensed, so no riding on the shoulder or bike lanes. I try to keep my scooter where the left wheel of the car ahead of me would be on the road. That way I'm the most visible to the driver behind me. But, your state may differ.

Also, it might be to your benefit to take a motorcycle safety/endorsement class. They'll teach you how to ride your scooter safely and are up on all the latest rules.

Best of luck and happy motoring.


Aug 17, 2010
by: Ron Goldwyn, Milford CT

Folks, you all have the right idea. Two years ago I was stopped by a policeman at about 10PM who said I should ride on the shoulder of the road on a two lane road. So I did what he said even though I knew he was wrong.

But you don't argue your point at that time and place. The next morning I went to Police headquarters and spoke to a police Captain and explained the incident to him. He said the patrolman was wrong.

I don't know if his men and women were reeducated, but while my 50 cc scooter is not licensed or registered, I do use common sense. "Whether the pitcher hits the rock or the rock hits the pitcher, it is going to be bad for the pitcher."
I drive in the center of the right hand lane (0% of the time and have reflective tape on my rear fenders. I also wear a helmit and bright colored jackets so as to increase my visability. Just assume the drivers in front and behind you are idiots.

Aug 17, 2010
Safe Spot for a 50cc Ride
by: Nancy H

I have to agree with the previous post. Riding too far to the right or on the shoulder is the worst place for your 50cc scoot. I tried to keep to the right to allow other faster drivers to get around me, and had to replace my front tire after only one month.

All the road debris ends up over there. I had a screw and a razor blade in my brand new tire! You are driving a licensed motor vehicle. Follow the rules of the road and stay in the left side of your lane. That way you are visible to other drivers, plus, they have to use a whole lane to pass you.

I found many drivers, in a hurry, like to crowd scooters as they pass. The middle of the lane is usually the bumpiest and has the most oil buildup from cars. If you're way over on the right side, you've no where to go if forced off the road. Check your state laws and stay safe. Happy scooting!

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