Motorized Bicycle Laws in North Carolina

Motorized Bicycles in North Carolina

Generic Court GavelMotorized bicycling is a great way to save money, get some exercise and help the environment. Fortunately North Carolina makes it simple to abide by the law, by combining the laws for motorized bicycles, mopeds and scooters together into one set of requirements.

Still, it’s important to make sure that your bike fits into the requirements and is not considered a motorcycle, as motorcycles have a completely different set of regulations.

Electric Bicycles

The State of North Carolina doesn’t seem to have it’s own laws for e-bikes, so we’ll refer to the federal laws.

According to federal law, an electric bicycle is defined as a bike that has a motor that is no bigger than 750 watts, and has a top speed of 20 MPH or less on level ground.

Federally you don’t need a driver’s license to ride an electric bike.

Mopeds and Scooters

In the state of North Carolina, mopeds and scooters are defined as a bike with the following characteristics:

  • It has 2 or 3 wheels.
  • It has a motor that is no bigger than 50 cc.
  • It has a top speed of 30 mph on a flat surface.

If your motorbike exceeds the above specifications, then it is likely considered a  motorcycle and you must abide by all of the motorcycle laws.

Licensing, Registration and Insurance

If your bike is considered to be a moped in North Carolina, then you do not need to have it registered, titled or inspected, and you are not required to carry insurance.

Furthermore, you don’t even need a driver’s license to ride a moped in NC, making it one of the most lenient states in the U.S. for motorized bicycle requirements.

However, you do have to be at least 16 years old, and obey the following regulations:

  • You must wear a helmet while riding.
  • You need to drive in the right-hand lane.
  • You cannot drive while intoxicated.
  • You should stay out of traffic as must as practical.
  • You can’t share lanes with other vehicles.
  • You should wear bright colored clothing.
  • Never drive between cars in traffic.

Lastly, you should always use electric turn signals or hand signals when stopping or turning.

Want a Motorized Bicycle?

We have a great selection of motorized bicycles for sale! While we recommend getting an e-bike, we also have motorized bicycle kits for sale and bicycle accessories for sale. All of our listings are highly reviewed, as you will see for yourself!

7 thoughts on “Motorized Bicycle Laws in North Carolina

  1. I got VIN numbers from the highway patrol station and moped tags for my motorized bicycles and two weeks latter the Highway patrol inspector called me and said she would have to come out and pick up my tags because the head of of the division that handles this sort of thing does not consider a bicycle frame with a motor a moped. He changed his mind. It is not clear yet what they consider them but the inspector thinks they consider them a bicycle until they write different legislation.

    • Thanks Lance! We’ll look into this and update the page as soon as we find out more.

      Motorized Bicycle HQ

  2. Im thirteen (and an experienced bicyclists), and looking to buy a motorized bicycle (not a moped), is there a legal distinction in age you are allowed to ride between the two.

  3. I belive the goverment should stop oppressing people,stay out our personal lives,for illegal gain…Which is against Gods law.Your breaking the law of God.

    • Your god belongs in your bedroom not the state legislature. No one cares what your god has to say; the first amendment is very clear on separation of church and state. Leave your fanaticism out of this.

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