Colorado’s new “Low-Power Scooter” Laws

Colorado has cleared up their rules regarding 50cc scooters. “Threar” on Modern Buddy sums up the changes nicely in this post. While the rules still differ from most states, and the terminology is a little weird, the rules seem to give 50cc scooter riders more freedom than most states (no special license needed, very cheap registration) while closing some loopholes exploited by scofflaws and fly-by-night scooter shops. The new law also requires liability insurance, which is only fair (and by most accounts, well under $100 a year.)

The one major complaint is that 50cc scooters are limited to 40mph speed, which is under the capability of many 50cc scooters. That’s a bit of a drag, but it makes sense. That’s an arguably-reasonable speed limit for someone without a motorcycle license, and it makes it easier to weed out people cheating the system. At Amerivespa in Denver a few years ago, I remember seeing more than one Vespa GT 250 with the “2” snapped off, and many other bigger-displacement scooters with homemade “50cc” stickers. I can’t imagine police would issue citations to anyone with a motorcycle license on an insured 50cc scooter riding responsibly, unless they were REALLY speeding.

2 thoughts on “Colorado’s new “Low-Power Scooter” Laws”

  1. 40 is the new 28

    Bravo, Colorado! I think 40 mph is just fine. A lot of people think they are going more than 40 mph with an unmodified scooter, but it’s probably not all that common by more than a mph or two. Speedometers are often optimistic by a good bit. Second, in a lot of urban traffic 40 mph is fine. How fast you get there is another question. I think the speed rule is an improvement over many states, including Minnesota, that requires that they go under 28 mph on zero grade. If they bumped that up to 40 mph at zero grade it would allow for those few extra mph going down hill with the wind at your back. Plus, 40 mph is reasonable to enforce with a radar gun rather than a roadside dyno truck (which they do have in some places in Europe, or so I read on the internet). Now if people tuned their scooters to reach 40 mph really fast and/or hold 40 mph up steep San Fransisco-type hills I think that would be great. I’d like to see the displacement bumped up though. Scooters like the Honda Elite 80 should be in this category. Also, the 50cc GY6 engines can’t get out of their own way and could benefit from 80cc displacement.

  2. Colorado’s 30 mph wording was always weird, something about the “design speed of the transmission” not being able to exceed 30 mph. But the insurance thing was always something I strongly advised our customers to look into… it always seemed really wrong that you could drive something on the street, with other cars, and not have to have any kind of coverage. This is a much better set of regulations.

    Now if we could just convince people that you do, in fact, need a drivers’ license…

    Here is a blog I did for way back in 08 on the subject:

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