Motorized Bicycle Laws in South Dakota

Motorized Bicycles in South Dakota

Generic Court GavelThere are many benefits to be had by using a motorized bicycle as your primary (or secondary) method of transportation. With rising gas prices, environmental concerns and a suffering economy, it’s no wonder more and more people are choosing them over other options.

The South Dakota MVD (Motor Vehicles Division) has separate laws and requirements for mopeds, scooters and motorcycles. It’s important to make sure that your motorized bike is classified correctly so that you don’t accidently break the law!

Electric Bicycles

The State of South Dakota doesn’t seem to have any laws in place specifically for e-bikes, so we’ll refer to the federal laws.

Federally, electric bicycles are defined as bikes that have a motor that is no bigger than 750 watts, and can go no faster than 20 MPH on level ground.


In South Dakota, a moped is defined as a bike that:

  • Has 2 or 3 wheels.
  • Has an engine that is no bigger than 50 CC.
  • Has an automatic transmission.

If your bike has an engine that is bigger than 50 CC, then it needs to be registered as a motorcycle. On the other hand, if your moped meets the above requirements then it does not need to be registered or titled.


South Dakota is one of the less specific states when it comes to differences between mopeds, scooters and motorcycles. The state has the same laws and requirements for both mopeds and scooters. As such, if your scooter exceeds the above requirements for mopeds, then it is also considered a motorcycle; if not, then it is considered a motor scooter and does not need to be registered or titled.

Moped and Scooter Laws

Since South Dakota considers mopeds and scooters to be a subset of motorcycles, the state requires drivers to carry insurance. You’ll need to carry proof of insurance at all times while riding.

Although a motorcycle license is not required, you must have a valid Class 1 driver’s license if you want to drive on public roads.

Additionally, you should follow the rest of the requirements listed below:

  • If you are under 18 years old, you must wear a helmet at all times when riding (even if you are riding as a passenger.)
  • You must wear eye protection while driving, unless the moped or scooter is equipped with a windscreen that is big enough to provide adequate eye protection.
  • You have to be seated and facing forward while driving.
  • You can’t drive on sidewalks or footpaths.
  • You can’t drive on highways.
  • Your moped needs to have proper lights, exhaust and rear view mirrors.
  • You can’t carry a package or any other object that would prevent you from having both hands on the handlebars or hinder your vision.
  • You can’t drive between lanes of traffic – you need to change lanes if you are passing a vehicle.
  • You can’t ride side-by-side with other vehicles in the same lane, except for 1 other moped.
  • You can’t “hitch a ride” by attaching yourself to another vehicle.
  • Lastly, you can’t carry a loaded firearm while riding.

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!