Mopeds, go carts, and scooters

According to Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS), a motor vehicle is one propelled other than by muscular power, but does not include a moped (as defined below). Motor vehicles must be registered and insured in order to operate on the street. There are a few exceptions such as for some vehicles used in agriculture and construction. The KRS also requires the operators of motor vehicles and mopeds to be appropriately licensed.

City ordinance (RCO 18-25) states that no vehicles of any kind are allowed on sidewalks.

Most of the scooter or go-cart type vehicles that do not fit the definition of a moped would not qualify to be registered for street use, and would not be legal to operate on the street, even if the operator was licensed. These motorized vehicles could be operated legally on private property with the permission of the owner.

* Note on golf carts: The operation of a golf cart on the roadways, other than a designated crossing on or around a golf course is prohibited in Lexington.

What is a moped?

  1. Either a motorized bicycle whose frame design may include one or more crossbars supporting a fuel tank, so long as it also has pedals, or a motorized bicycle with a step through frame which may or may not have pedals.
  2. A cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty (50) cc. and rated not more than two (2) brake horsepower.
  3. An automatic transmission not requiring clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged
  4. Capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) mph as defined by the manufacturer's specifications.

Any two or three wheel vehicle not meeting all of the above criteria would fall within the definition of a motorcycle under KRS 189.285 unless excluded by some other statute (such as farm tractors under KRS 186.010 etc.).



The operation of a moped does NOT require:

  1. Registration plate.
  2. Helmet or eye protection.
  3. Brake light.
  4. Insurance.

The operation of a moped DOES require:

  1. A driver's license, moped license or learners permit.
  2. At least one but not more than two head lights.
  3. Taillights or red reflector visible to 500 feet.
  4. Horn or bell.
  5. Turn signals.

Authority: KRS 189.285
Because mopeds are considered vehicles under KRS Chapter 189, they are subject to traffic regulation and accident reporting applicable to other vehicles therein but cannot be operated on limited access highways (e.g., New Circle Road, Interstate 75) where minimum speed limits in excess of thirty (30) mph are enforced.


What will happen to moped violators?

  • Children under 16 years of age (non-licensed and in the road) - Parents may be cited to court for allowing a non-licensed driver to operate a vehicle. KRS 186.620. Maximum penalty: 90 days in jail and/or $250 fine.
  • Children under 16 years of age (non-licensed and on a sidewalk) - Parents may be cited for Unlawful Transaction With a Minor, KRS 530.070. Maximum penalty: 12 months in jail and/or $500 fine.
  • Licensed juveniles on a sidewalk may be cited to court for violation of RCO 18-25. Penalty can range from $5-$100.
  • Non-Licensed juveniles over 16 years of age may be cited to court. Parents may be cited as well.
  • Anyone may be cited for operating an unregistered motor vehicle on the street. KRS 186.020, Maximum fine $500.


Helpful advice

  • Vehicles which resemble mopeds, and are capable of speeds greater than thirty (30) mph according to manufacturers specifications, do not qualify as a moped and require registration and insurance.
  • Mopeds may not be ridden in public parks and may be ridden on private property only with owner consent.
  • Make a personal record of motor and frame serial numbers.
  • Be particular in choosing a lock since many can be defeated.

Remember: Moped, scooter, and go-cart operators must observe all traffic regulations.