Please take some time to skim this FAQ from the NHTSA site about DOT Certification of Motorcycles and Scooters. It’s interesting to note that:
- Few people realize this: Manufacturers do NOT submit a sample machine (or helmet) for testing, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to manufacture, test, and label the bike (or helmet) to conform to DOT specs. DOT has absolutely no involvement in the process. This makes one wonder how many of the scooters out there bragging to be “Street Legal” really are.
- It’s well known that many manufacturers sell their bikes as “mini-bikes” or “off-road use only” bikes to avoid DOT compliance, but reading some of the letters attached, it seems the DOT actually ENCOURAGES this for some reason. Despite their own rules describing “off road” bikes, they’ve told at least some manufacturers of potentially street-ridden minibikes to not bother trying to meet their standards.
The document also links to a search engine of companies that have compliance records with the DOT (search in “Part 566”).