Motorized Bicycle Laws in Iowa

Motorized Bicycles in Iowa

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.

Like most states, Iowa has different rules and regulations for the different classifications of motorized bikes. It’s important to know which category your bike is in.

Bicycles and E-bikes

In Iowa, bikes and motorized bikes are considered “bicycles” if they meets the following criteria:

  • It has 2 wheels, and one saddle (seat) designed for use while riding.
  • It has pedals that are designed for human-assisted propulsion.
  • If it has a motor, it must produce less than 1 horsepower (or 750 watts if electric).
  • Has a maximum speed of less than 20 mph (with no human-assisted pedaling.)

Even with motors, bicycles do not have to titled or registered, and you do not need a driver’s license as long as they meet the above specifications.


Similar to bicycles, mopeds must have 2 or 3 wheels and a saddle (seat) that is designed to be used while riding. However, mopeds can go up to 30 mph on a flat surface without human-assisted propulsion (by using pedals.)

If you are under 18, you are required to carry a permit in order to ride, unless you are between ages 16 and 17 and have an intermediate license.

In order to obtain your permit, you are require to:

  • Pass a driver’s written knowledge exam.
  • Pass a standard vision test.
  • Pass a skills test (unless stated otherwise.)

If you are over 18 years old and have a valid Iowa driver’s license, then you are not required to get a moped permit. If you are over 18 and do not have license, however, then you are still required to get the moped permit outlined above.

Mopeds also need to be registered, which can be done at your local county treasurer’s office. It is handled the same way as registering a motorcycle or car in Iowa.

You must follow all standard traffic laws while riding a moped, in addition to the following requirements:

  • Mopeds must have a flag that is clearly visible. This flag must be at least 30 square inches in size, at least 5 feet from the ground, triangular in shape, and have a “day-glo” color.
  • You cannot carry any passengers on a moped (only the rider.)
  • You cannot carry a package that would prevent you from having both hands on the handlebars at all times.


The main difference between scooters and mopeds is that scooters have a standing base. However, unlike mopeds, most scooters do not have to be registered.

Unfortunately, this means that scooters can’t be driven on public roads, and sometimes not even on bicycle trails or sidewalks, depending on the location.

However, there are still some types of scooters that fall into the standard motorcycle classification. Scooters that fall into this category must follow all of the standard motorcycle licensing and registration requirements.

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!