Motor Assisted Scooters & Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
The law regulating motor assisted scooters and neighborhood electric vehicles for limited street usage can be found in the Texas Transportation Code (TRC) as Subchapter D, Sections 551.301 and 551.302.
Motor Assisted Scooters
Traffic laws which apply to bicycles also apply to motor assisted scooters and the operator must obey the usual traffic laws that bicycle operators must obey such as speed limit, signal turns, etc.
Laws That Don't Apply to Scooters
TRC 551.302(d) states that some laws that apply to a motor vehicle do not apply to these scooters:
- The scooter operator doesn't need a driver license
- The scooter operator doesn't need liability insurance
- The scooter doesn't have to be registered or have a license plate
- The scooter doesn't have to carry a low speed vehicle emblem
- The scooter doesn't have to be inspected
Cities and counties may prohibit operation of these scooters on particular streets or highways for safety reasons, as can the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
The "neighborhood electric vehicle" is any vehicle subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500. They generally resemble a golf cart, but are larger (usually capable of carrying four passengers) with a top speed between 20 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour. Vehicles such as the John Deere Gator and Kawasaki Mule are not neighborhood electric vehicles because they are not subject to Federal Standard 500 in that they are designed to primarily carry cargo rather than passengers.
Like the motor assisted scooter, neighborhood electric vehicles can be driven on any street or highway with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less and may cross streets or highways with a higher posted speed limit.
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Requirements
Unlike the motor assisted scooter, a neighborhood electric vehicle must:
- Be registered and have a license plate
- The operator must have a driver's license and the vehicle or operator must be covered with the required liability insurance or acceptable substitute
- These vehicles meet the TRC Section 5471 definition of a "slow moving vehicle" so they must carry a low speed vehicle emblem
Cities and counties may prohibit operation of these vehicles on particular streets or highways for safety reasons, as can the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).