Where should you ride a scooter on a high speed highway?

by Renata Myers
(College Station, TX)

My daughter was almost run over by an angry SUV driver who came so close to her on the highway she was on and when he finally passed he made all sorts of gestures and scared my daughter. I told her that more than likely that driver wanted her to drive on the shoulder since her scooter doesn't go any faster than 40 MPH.

She won't listen to me. I explained that her scooter is more like a bicycle than a motorcycle and she would be safer on the shoulder. Can you help us?


Answer: Wow... I don't think I'd be venturing onto a high speed highway if I could only go 40 MPH on a 2-wheel vehicle, not even on the shoulder. While I don't agree with you that a scooter is like a bicycle, I DO agree that your daughter is not making a wise decision by riding on the highway.

A rule of the highway is that you need to be able to keep up with the traffic, at least in the right hand lane. If you can't, you're putting yourself and all the other drivers at risk. I'm surprised she hasn't been ticketed. It doesn't sound like her scooter is even highway-legal.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Comments for Where should you ride a scooter on a high speed highway?

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May 28, 2016
Important NEW
by: Anonymous

I hope you guys know there is a difference between a highway, freeway, and interstate.

Most highways do not have a minimum speed like the later two. Therefore it's legal to drive mopeds on them.

Oct 25, 2015

DEAR ANONM. I WILL NOT CONVERSE WITH YOU.I only speak with Gentlemen and Ladies and based on your words you belong in the gutter.
But to those who can speak as one who shows respect to their mother or their priest, I will offer some thoughts.
Any idiot can break the laws of the state in which they are residing. The problem is that these people can hurt the innocent people who are also using the highways of their state while they are killing themselves.MOST LIKELY, the idiot will be the sole survivor.

Oct 25, 2015
Ronald go fuck yourself NEW
by: Anonymous

Hey ronald go fuck yourself, we scooter drivers have every right to be alive so fuck you asshole

Sep 02, 2012
Unsafe at Low Speed NEW
by: Ronald Goldwyn

Dear Anon...
Your posting was quite a shocker to read. That scooter driver has no right to still be alive. You are correct in saying that scooters are illegal on interstates. In CT state law says that a vehicle on an interstate must be capable of maintaining the speed of normal traffic. The same laws say that a 49cc scooter is restricted to 30 MPH. If the engine is over 49cc then the scooter is a motorcycle and must be licensed as such. Doing 30 in a 60 MPH zone is illegal.
Next, at night I always wear a vest with reflective tape all over it so that the scooters rear lights are not my only protection. I also have reflective tape on my rear saddle boxes.
In reviewing many of my prior articles you will see that I may be fanatical about safety. So should all scooter drivers.

Sep 02, 2012
I almost killed a person on a scooter NEW
by: Anonymous

I was on an interstate coming up over a hill at the posted speed limit of 60mph at night 8:30ish , no street lights on the interstate it was pitch black outside coming home from work paying attention to the road when all of a sudden I was almost on top of a scooter going 30 mph. slammed on my brakes skidded all over the road , smoking my tires... Scooter just kept on going like nothing was happening( thank god) other wise I would have crushed him had he heard the screeching and slowed down. I did not see His little tiny tail light until I was right on top of him. I could see cars behind me slow down... It all happened like in slow motion. I freaked I almost killed him. What in the heck was he doing on an interstate at night. Scooters are not legal on interstates! I had to pull over and collect my thoughts before I could even drive... And putt putt off went the little scooter like nothing happened I could have killed someone's child! I'll never forget this... Ever....please do not let your children have scooters they are not mature enough for this.

Jul 06, 2012
Scooters on the Highway NEW
by: Ron Goldwyn

Dear Folks, It is now over 2 and 1/2 years since I last made a comment on this subject. I've survived now for over 74 years and that is because I don't take juvenile risks.
If your ride a vehicle of 49cc or less in my state, you are on a scooter any engine that is larger is considered a motorcycle. The main difference between the two is the way you get on the vehicles. On one you straddle the seaat and on the other you step aboard and keep your legs together.
The large engine vehicles may travel at maximum speed on all city and state roads but NOT small scooters whose speed is limited to about 30 mph. They by law are not permitted on high speed roads, over 40 mph.
I personally use the right hand lane o most city streets, so that those cars that are behind me, see me, and if I'm too slow they may pass me on the left just like any other vehicle that may be in front of them. DON'T ride on the right edge of the road or the shoulder. That only allows cars to pass you in your lane of traffic.

Jul 06, 2012
unsafe motorist NEW
by: Anonymous

I want to comment on all those motorist that drive very close to someone on a scooter. It makes me very angry at all those jerks that are rude to someone on a scooter. When the get mad and frustrated at a scooterist and drive too close or cut us off, it can be faital. They dont think about what could happen cause there in their big car or truck. Say two cars bump each other in traffic, the outcome could be a few dents. That same bump to a scooter could cost the one on the scooter their life. When a car hits a scooter they dont bump, the car runs over it. A scooter has no bumper.
One thing that the motorist dont think about is if the scooter should loose contol. They may be able to handle their car at high speeds with another car, but what about a scooter. If the scooter should loose control all hope is lost. I know my scooter dosent do well with bumps in the road or sudden wind gust.

Aug 29, 2011
In Iowa
by: Anonymous

she would be legal riding on a highway that is not an "expressway," such as an interstate highway. I rode my 50cc on county roads all the time and perfectly legally. And I live in Iowa, where 50cc scooters must have 30mph governors by law, so I was never going faster than 30mph. When I drive my car I frequently encounter bicycles moving considerably slower than 30mph on those same roads. In Iowa, at least, both 50cc scooters and bicycles are legally supposed to ride in the traffic lane just as a car would and riding on the shoulder is illegal. Cars may pass under the same rules that they may pass a car. These rules apply on any road without a posted minimum speed. Any road with a minimum speed you would need to be able to maintain that minimum speed--usually 45mph--and in Iowa a 50cc scooter can't do that by law. To the best of my knowledge there is no place where riding a motorized vehicle, including a scooter, on the shoulder is legal.

Mar 11, 2011
Taking life a little slower.
by: Rick Rudge

Hi Renata,

When I first got my scooter, I realized that highway driving was going to be out for me, even if I could keep up with some of the inner expressway speeds. So, I always needed to plan my route appropriately; sometimes keeping it to residential traffic. I'm an ex-Californian too, so freeway driving feels very natural for me. Being on a scooter has its own speed.

Scooter riding is different from driving a car or motorcycle (and especially a bicycle). In my state you can't ride a scooter on the shoulder or bike lanes. Riding in the middle of my lane (or slightly to the left) is where I'm supposed to be. So, your daughter definitely needs to re-think her routes or seriously contemplate a car or motorcycle capable of highway speeds.

I'm sorry that she got the finger, but that's better than the alternative. I wish her the best of luck on all of her future rides though.


Dec 03, 2010
A Larger Scooter for the Highway
by: Jonathan

In Indiana, due to the slow speed of a 50cc on the highway (40-45 mph max), she would most definitely get be stopped by the authorities.

I owned a Vespa ET2 50 about two years ago and put a couple thousand miles on it in 11 months (before it was stolen :/) and not once even thought of going on the highway.

However, I bought new Vespa GTS250ie in October 2010 and almost have 3000 miles on it now! I ride about 30 miles round trip to work and also have taken several road trips this fall (most all of these miles were on the highway)

The reason I am able to comfortably ride on the highway is because my Vespa is rated for 80 mph and I have had it to at least 76 mph (although I usually cruise at about 60-65). I am able to get into traffic, flow with traffic and get out of traffic.

Safety should always be the first concern when riding a scooter. I hope she comes to the realization that riding slow in a fast environment is not very wise.

Sep 20, 2010
Highway is not an option
by: Anonymous

Riding on the highway is not an option when it comes to 50cc engines. As others have mentioned, any vehicle must be able to go with the flow of traffic. Riding on the shoulder isn't safe either. I'd avoid it at all costs.

Get a car.
Get a ride.
Take public transportation.
Have someone pick you up.
Have people come to you.

It's not worth the danger. As for the jerk who gave your daughter a hard time, they're everywhere. But just because something is legal doesn't mean you should do it. Wearing a bikini in bad neighborhoods in the middle of the night is perfectly legal and rape is illegal, but it doesn't mean you should go around strutting around.

What I'm trying to say is that a few people ruin it for the masses. We have no choice but to protect ourselves knowing that there's danger out there. Unfair? Perhaps, but it'll keep us alive. Ride safely.

Mar 20, 2010
Highways and scooters
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately, in some areas, you must ride on a highway to get to where you are even able to take your endorsement test. It is difficult and dangerous in the best of circumstances. We have road rage here, unskilled drivers, "rubber neckers", etc. You want the endorsement, you ride 25 miles on a highway. Choice - one is 4 lane, one is 2 lane. Both have about a 65 mph limit. Ugly choice. Neither is particularly lightly traveled. -- For whatever reason your daughter is on the highway, encourage her to follow the motorcycle safety course tips. -- I wish her skill and happy scooting.

Jan 09, 2010
Can't We All Just Get Along? :)
by: Kathi

OK, folks, I'm stepping in as the webmaster and site owner here. This has always been a friendly place. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter what it is.

Things are getting a bit testy here on all sides, and I'd like to nip it in the bud. Please try to talk to each other with respect and courtesy. I'd really like to keep a friendly, give and take tone here.

Thanks for your help & cooperation.

Jan 09, 2010
Comment on the question asked
by: Anonymous

I am ASSUMING she was not (there is not much data to begin with), because it was probably a 50cc and it was probably banned from the freeway in her state(as most states do). Yes, road rage is there, but I do not want to infuse another subject, specially this one, into the simple question and I find nitpicking every thing one comments an undesirable trait. Let everyone speak an speak/your mind on the subject matter/question.

Jan 09, 2010
Not true...
by: Eric

"By the reaction of the driver, I assume she was not."

That's not a safe assumption...many drivers had bicycles and horses/horse carriages on roads that they are legally allowed on. Road rage is all over the country as far as I know. She could have been riding perfectly legally and just came across a jerk.

Riding any scooter that doesn't necessarily go up to speed limit is just like riding a bike in the same situation - you have to ride very defensively and defer to drivers able to go the speed limit (as in pulling over if you have a line of traffic behind you.

I've been riding 49cc's since 1980...it can be safe even on faster roads if you're careful, respect the cars, and act like they can't see you.


Jan 09, 2010
Read The State Laws
by: Yoly

All comments are right on. As to the question: Where? Read your state laws and restrict her to the lawful areas. Make sure she complies with the law. By the reaction of the driver, I assume she was not.

Jan 07, 2010
Hyway Travel
by: Artist Bob

Ditto, ditto, and DITTO!! California laws limit freeway travel to scooters/motorcycles having 150cc engines or more. 149cc engines or less are illegal. Many scooters are advertised as being 150cc, but in reality are less. Check with the vehicle registration plate on the scooter before purchasing. A good dealer will tell you this information before you buy, mine did.

There are other factors such as weight and weather conditions that must be taken into account. Driving this scooter on the highway may invalidate your insurance. My scooter is 150cc, but I am a big guy. My weight prevents me from reaching the maximum potential speed of my scooter. I would never risk freeway traffic.

Even a light headwind will slow your scooter down and greatly lower any emergency acceleration that might be necessary. If you are riding "wide open" to keep up with the flow of traffic you sacrifice that emergency margin of safety. You should always plan on holding some power in reserve for emergencies.

It is not legal for motorized vehicles to drive on the shoulder of the road in California.

To put this in perspective, you and your daughter could think of this situation like this -- Would you drive an automobile that would only go 40 mph on this same highway? - Talk to a police officer. Take a motorcycle training course. Buy a more powerful scooter.

There must be side streets that can be taken that will get your daughter safely to her destination. Good luck and good riding.

Jan 06, 2010
by: Happy Old Scoot

Renata --

I'll put this as kindly as I can. There are few enough scooterists, we want to see more of them, and we want to keep the ones we have.

Doing 40 mph with a 50cc scooter on a high-speed highway IS A GOOD WAY TO GET KILLED. The shoulder is an escape route and a place for emergency stops. I know that in some states where no other routes are available, portions of highways allow bicycles (I encountered that years ago in Colorado while on a motorcycle tour through the Rockies).

If your daughter must use the high-speed highway, acquire a scooter capable of cooperating with the traffic and that has enough reserve power to accelerate out of the way.

Your daughter is a treasure to you. I'm certain you want to keep that treasure for many years.

If she still won't take your advice and the advice of the experienced scooterists on this site, have her talk with a highway patrolman.

Best wishes
Happy Old Scoot

Jan 06, 2010
Depends on the state..
by: Eric

In Missouri, you can ride a 49cc (or a bicycle or a horse drawn carriage) on state highways, so in my state she should ride on the far right like a bicycle would. However, interstate riding would be illegal.

If she can ride on the highway in question, the odds are she should ride as if she were a bicycle rider on the highway.


Jan 06, 2010
Driving fast
by: Ron Goldwyn, Milford CT

Dear Ms Myers, You live in Texas, I live in Connecticut. Each state has their own MV laws.
You did not state the type of scooter that was driven or its horsepower.

In Connecticut, a scooter of 49cc may not travel on high speed roads but may travel at a speed of less than 40 mph on public streets and roads.

If your bike could only go 40 mph, then in my state it would be prohibited from high speed expressways, parkways etc. In Texas, the laws may be different.

What I feel is justified is engaging your brains. Just because your daughter may be allowed to do something doesn't mean she should do it.

Going 40 mph on a road where the speed limit is over 50 mph is dangerous even in the right hand lane. No-one is permitted to ride and use the roadways shoulder. That's for emergency use only.

May I suggest that you do what I do and stick to legal roads where the maximum speed is 45 mph.

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