Do You Need a Motorcycle License to drive a Vespa? Vespa is a brand of two wheelers, three-wheeled vehicles / tricycles, and motor scooters manufactured by Italian company Piaggio. For this article when we mention a Vespa” we will be referring to these two-wheel variations. Vespa as a brand makes a number of different two-wheel variations, ranging from 50cc’s up to 300cc’s.
To make it even more confusing many people will often refer to all types of scooters or mopeds as Vespas. They can also be referred to as a motor-driven cycle. In the below article we will try to clear up some of the confusion between Vespas, Scooters and Motorcycles and the license that is generally required for each.
Brief History of the Vespa
Vespa motor scooters were first manufactured in 1946. The first prototype was dubbed “Paperino” (“duckling”), after the shape of its body. In 1948, the second prototype was completed and given the name “Vespa”, meaning “wasp” in Italian. The Vespa motor scooter became an icon of Italian culture and society. It quickly became a status symbol for young Italians, particularly as a means of personal transport for women. By 1957, annual sales of Vespas had reached 150,000 units.
Today, Vespa is manufactured in several plants around the world, including in Italy, France, Spain, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China. In 2018, more than 50% of Vespas sold were made in Italy. As of June 2019, Vespa has produced and sold over 19 million scooters worldwide since 1946.
What’s the Difference Between a Vespa and “Scooter”?
Vespas are in essence a brand of scooters. They have relatively small engines and have a step through design. The point where Vespas differentiate themselves from a typical scooter are design and engine size. Vespa scooters are world renowned for their stylish design and performance.
Vespas are generally more expensive than your average scooter. The basic model Vespa Primavera 50 will set you back around $4200, whilst the top model Sei Giorni 300 will be closer to $8000.
The average Scooter will be substantially less. Hondas base model Metropolitan Scooter has a starting price of $2600, going up to $4300 for their ADV150 model.
As can be seen with the above examples Vespa’s engine sizes ranges between 50 and 300 cc scooters. Comparatively, a typical scooter engine is 50 to 150cc. This has a huge impact on price and the type of license required to operate.
What’s the Difference Between a Vespa / Scooter and a Motorcycle?
Although motor scooters and motorcycles may appear to be similar, there are several key differences between the two types of vehicles.
One of the most obvious differences is the step through design of a motor scooter, which makes it easier to mount and dismount. Scooters also typically have an automatic transmission, which eliminates the need to shift gears.
When it comes to engine size, Vespas max out at about 300cc. Motorcycles have engine sizes that range from 250cc all the way up to 1800cc. The average motorcycle is around 650cc. Engine size alone doesn’t determine speed – other factors like engine type, gearing, and horsepower also come into play.
Generally speaking, Vespas have a much lower top speed and acceleration than motorcycles. Basic model Vespas have a maximum speed of around 40mph, with their high-performance models going up to about 60mph. This makes Vespas better suited for city driving than your typical highway speeds.
Motorcycles, on the other hand, have more focused gearing that makes them better suited for highway driving and longer distances. The lowest cc motorcycles will often be capable of 100mph, with the higher cc variations only going up from there.
Ultimately, it’s hard to make a direct comparison between the two types of vehicles since they’re designed for different purposes. But whether you’re looking for speed or agility in the city, you’re sure to find a bike that fits your needs.
What License Do You Need to Drive a Vespa?
So, do you need a motorcycle license to drive a Vespa or not? This is where it all gets complicated. As most states (in the US) have different traffic laws there is a lot of variation to this answer. It also depends hugely on the engine size of the Vespa.
In many states you will not need any sort of special license to operate a two-wheeled vehicle under 49 cubic centimeters (cc). Although many states don’t have a license requirement for these small scooters, they will have age restrictions. This is normally 16 years of age but again varies by state. In some states, you may need a C class license or a Class M license, to operate a Vespa on a public road.
A motorcycle endorsement is generally required for any motor vehicle with an engine size over 50cc’s. This is why many scooters identified as having a 50 cc engine will actually be 49cc according to the technical specifications.
In some states, all motorized vehicles are subject to the same traffic laws, regardless of engine size. This includes both internal combustion engine scooters and electric scooters.
Confusing right? With all these differences if you are unsure of the license requirements in your area, it is best to check with your local DMV. But, if it’s over 50cc you can almost guarantee you will need a motorcycle license/endorsement.
How Do I Get a Motorcycle License for a Vespa?
Driving a motorcycle or Vespa can be an exhilarating experience. But before you hit the open road, it’s important to make sure you have the proper license.
In most states, you’ll need a motorcycle license or endorsement to legally operate a bike. And regardless of what the law requires, it’s always a good idea to complete a motorcycle safety course.
Getting a license usually involves passing a written test and on-cycle skills test. The written exam will test your knowledge of motorcycle operation and traffic laws. And the skills test (motorcycle road test) will assess your ability to control the bike and safely maneuver through traffic.
The skills test will vary by state. Many such as Florida require all riders to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundations course under state law. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers a wide variety of courses to help riders improve their skills and become more confident on the road. See this article for how to get a Motorcycle License in Florida.
The Basic RiderCourse (BRC) is designed for beginner riders with little or no previous experience. The course covers the basics of motorcycle operation, including starting and stopping, shifting gears, and turning. It also covers motorcycle safety equipment and basic crash avoidance techniques.
Completion of one of these safety courses is a prerequisite to getting a motorcycle license in many different states.
If you can complete both of these tests successfully, you should be ready to hit the open road with confidence. Just remember to always ride responsibly and obey all traffic laws. With a little common sense and caution, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
What’s the Difference Between a Motorcycle Endorsement and a Motorcycle License?
In order to operate a motorcycle or scooter on many public streets, you must have either a motorcycle license or a motorcycle endorsement on your valid driver’s license.
The main difference between the two is that a class m motorcycle license is a stand-alone license. You do not need a regular driver’s license to get one. It allows you to operate any class of motorcycle.
A motorcycle endorsement is an addition to an already existing class c driver’s license. You can get a number of different types of endorsement’s depending on which state you live in.
For example, in order to ride a motorized scooter with an engine size over 50cc, you would need a Class M motorcycle endorsement on your valid driver’s license. Similarly, if you wanted to ride a three-wheeled motorcycle, you would need a special Class M3 endorsement. So, make sure you know what type of endorsement you need for your type of vehicle. To obtain either type of endorsement, you must first pass a written test and then complete an approved motorcycle safety class.
Do I Need to Wear a Helmet on a Vespa?
While Vespa scooters are often associated with the carefree lifestyle of Italy, they are gaining popularity in the United States as a viable mode of transportation. Whether you’re zipping around town on errands or commuting to work, riding a Vespa can be a fun and efficient way to get around. However, one question that many people ask is whether or not they need to wear a helmet while riding.
In the United States, helmet regulations vary from state to state. In California, all riders are required by law to wear a helmet. Other states, like Florida, only riders under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet.
Still, even in states where helmet use is not mandatory under helmet laws, it is always advisable to wear one for your safety. A helmet can help protect you in the event of an accident, and it can also help you avoid citations from the police. So, whether you’re riding in the United States or Italy, always remember to strap on a helmet before you hop on your Vespa.
Does a Vespa count as a motorcycle? ›
A Vespa is a scooter that can be classified as a moped or a motorcycle. The Vespa 50cc small frame can be considered a moped as it doesn't exceed 30mph/48kph. Large and small frame Vespas with a 125cc engine or more are motorcycles.Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a Vespa in the United States? ›
In most states if your scooter is 50cc or smaller, you may only be required to have a standard learner's permit or driver's license. If the engine on your scooter exceeds 50cc, you'll have to get a motorcycle endorsement on your license.Can I drive a Vespa with a car licence California? ›
You can drive a motorized scooter with any class driver license.What kind of scooter does not require a license in Florida? ›
(3) A person is not required to have a driver license to operate a motorized scooter or micromobility device.What licence do I need to ride a Vespa? ›
Yes, if you have a full car licence you can ride a 125cc scooter or motorbike off-road. However, you must take and pass your compulsory basic training (CBT) before riding on the road.Can I drive a Vespa with a car Licence? ›
If you have passed your car driving test before 1 February 2001, you are able to ride a 50cc scooter without attending a CBT course but will be restricted to 30 mph. For anything bigger than a 50cc e.g a 125cc, a CBT is required. Head to our CBT page for more details.Can I drive a 50cc moped with a car license? ›
If you have a full car licence issued before 1st February 2001 you may ride a restricted 50cc moped on the road without L plates (and carry a passenger), but you still need to pass your CBT test to ride any motorcycle over 50cc.What is the max speed of a Vespa? ›
Vespa Sprint Top Speed: The Vespa Sprint can be had in one of two main trims: Sprint 50 and Sprint 150. Sprint 150 has a displacement of 155cc and reaches a top speed of about 60 mph. Vespa GTS Top Speed: The Vespa GTS is powered by a 278cc displacement. At its highest speed, the GTS travels up to 78 mph.How fast do Vespas go? ›
A sub-50cc scooter typically can go up to 63 km/h and a 300cc scooter can go up to 128 km/h.What is the highest CC without motorcycle license? ›
Motorcycles have only two wheels and an engine that is over 150cc in size. Motorcycles must be registered and their drivers must have a valid motorcycle (M1) license. Motor-Driven Cycles have engines that are 149cc or less. These vehicles must also be registered and require drivers to hold an M1 license.
Is Vespa a scooter or moped? ›
A Vespa is an iconic Italian bike and many people asked if it is a scooter or a moped. The truth is, it's both. Vespa is an uber cool bike brand manufactured by Piaggio, founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, and now headquartered in Pontedera, Italy.Can I use Vespa on the freeway? ›
All scooters 50cc and above are considered street legal these days, meaning they must abide by the prevailing traffic laws, ride in the road (not on the shoulder or sidewalk), etc. Scooters equal to or above 150cc are freeway, interstate and highway legal.How can I drive a scooter without a license? ›
In India, one can ride an electric scooter without a license. However, there is a stipulation. Only you can drive an electric scooter without a license/registration if your vehicle has a peak speed of less than or equal to 25kmph or has a power output of less than or equal to 250Ws.Do I need a motorcycle license for a 49cc scooter in Florida? ›
Florida law does not have specific regulations that pertain to motorized scooters. Consequently, all motorized scooters, including 49cc scooters, fall under the same category as a motorcycle. You must carry a motorcycle license and have reached at least 16 years old before driving a 49cc scooter on Florida roads.Do you need insurance for a Vespa in Florida? ›
Insurance isn't required for mopeds or scooters in Florida, but it's still a good idea to buy coverage in case you're held financially responsible in the event of an accident.Who can ride a Vespa? ›
If you are 16 years old and pass a CBT with a provisional licence, you will be entitled to ride any 49cc scooter or motorcycle restricted to 28mph. You must display L-plates, cannot carry passengers or go on motorways. This entitlement lasts for 2 years.What license do I need for a scooter? ›
Although a motorbike license is not a requirement for purchasing a bike, it is required by law to have at least a learner's license to ride up to a 125cc scooter or motorbike (if between 16 and 18 years of age).Can I carry a passenger on a moped with a full car Licence? ›
The only way it can be possible, is if you have a car licence and a CBT certificate (or just a car licence provided it was acquired before 1 February 2001). Then you automatically have a 'full' moped licence, meaning you can ride a moped with no L-plate, and you can carry a pillion passenger.What size moped can I ride on a car Licence? ›
You can ride a moped (up to 50cc) without L plates and without taking the moped test in some situations.Can you travel with a Vespa? ›
All classic and modern Vespa models are good for long distances because they are very reliable, sturdy, and balanced with their monocoque frame. You can take the Vespa on a long road trip as long as you've followed the maintenance schedule.
Can you ride a 125cc on a car Licence? ›
If you have a full car licence, you can ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc but you have to take your Compulsory Basic Training first. This is a day-long course that starts in a car park and ends up with you out on the road on a motorcycle or scooter.What 3 wheel motorcycle can I ride on a car Licence? ›
- Driving licence requirements. ...
- Riding a tricycle with a car licence. ...
- AM tricycles. ...
- A1 motorcycle licence – three-wheelers not exceeding 15 kW. ...
- A motorcycle licence – three-wheelers above 15 kW. ...
- Insurance. ...
- MOT. ...
- Crash helmet.
You will be happy to know that with a 50cc moped you can drive almost anywhere. The basic rule is to check out your journey. If anywhere appears to have a minimum speed of above 30mph, you are in a safe place. However, should the road be above a minimum speed of 30mph, find a different route.How fast is 125cc in mph? ›
The short answer is that the top speed of a 125cc, on average, is somewhere between 65mph and 80mph.How long will a Vespa last? ›
We have seen recent model Vespas sold within the last several years with as many as 55,000+ miles on the odometer and still climbing! One local owner of the more diminutive Genuine Buddy 125, has over 41,000+ miles!Can you go long distance on a Vespa? ›
While the 50cc Vespas don't require a special license in most areas, and will easily get you around town, they are too small and slow for long trips. If you're looking to drive on a highway or take a long trip, you'll need at least a 250cc scooter which typically has a maximum speed of 75 mph.How far can a Vespa go on a full tank? ›
252km is Vespa GTS Super 300's run-dry range : r/Vespa.Is driving a Vespa hard? ›
Nope. Scooters are a lot easier to ride than motorcycles because they have a lower center of gravity. It's a little more similar to driving a jet ski, so you can probably pick up the driving pretty easily. (It's driving in traffic that takes practice.)Are Vespas easy to steal? ›
No matter how many locks you use, if professional thieves see a Vespa which they can wheel or carry away then it is a very easy target for them.Do Vespas get good gas mileage? ›
Vespa/Piaggio products have an astonishing average fuel economy of up to 115 MPG!
What is the smallest cc motorcycle allowed on a highway? ›
If the question is about FREEWAYS, then the rule is that motorcycles of 50 cc or less are not allowed on freeways at any time of the day or night. a motor tricycle or motor quadrucycle; This rule is the general rule if there is no road sign governing motorcycles on freeways.How many cc should a beginner motorcycle have? ›
For beginner motorcycle riders, the recommended engine is 500cc to 600cc. The lower the cc figure, the easier the bike will handle, and the more forgiving it will be to the inevitable mistakes that new riders make. Just because a bike has a smaller engine doesn't mean you can't still ride fast.Do you need insurance for an electric scooter? ›
Do You Need Insurance For An Electric Scooter? You do not need to insure an electric scooter as it is not a legal requirement due to them being classed as a personal light electric vehicle (PLEV). However, it is advised to have electric insurance in place for your electric scooter.What is the difference between a moped and scooter? ›
The biggest difference between mopeds and scooters is the size of their engines. Mopeds typically have engines that are 50cc (cubic centimeters) or smaller, while scooters are equipped with more powerful engines that range between 50cc to 250cc.Can 2 people ride a Vespa? ›
Can more than one person ride on a Vespa/Piaggio scooter? Yes, all of our scooters are built for 2 people to ride on.Are Vespas manual or automatic? ›
With the exception of older, “retro” models, modern Vespa scooters are known as “twist-n-go”, because the transmission is a continuously variable automatic (CVT), meaning the driver doesn't have to worry about shifting gears and can simply twist the throttle control to accelerate.Are Vespas easier to ride than motorcycles? ›
When it comes to scooters vs motorcycles, motorcycles are usually harder to learn to ride but have larger engines and top speeds, while scooters are more fuel efficient, cheaper and have better maneuverability. This makes scooters a good choice for urban commuters. Before we go into more detail about scooters vs.What is the maximum rider weight for Vespa? ›
The weight limit for a Vespa is between 650 lbs(295 kg) and 749 lbs (340kg) depending on the model. The Vespas with 50cc engines can hold less weight compared to the Vespas with 278cc engines. The weight limit also includes accessories and passengers.Is a Vespa a scooter or bike? ›
A Vespa is an iconic Italian bike and many people asked if it is a scooter or a moped. The truth is, it's both. Vespa is an uber cool bike brand manufactured by Piaggio, founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, and now headquartered in Pontedera, Italy.What vehicles are considered motorcycles? ›
A motorcycle is a motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground per California Vehicle Code (CVC) 400 (a) and whose motor displaces more than 150 cubic centimeters (150cc).
Do you need a motorcycle license for a Vespa NYC? ›
Do I need a special license to ride a Vespa? You only need a regular driver's license to ride our 50cc models. Anything above 150cc will require a motorcycle endorsement, which is very easy to get.Is riding a scooter like riding a motorcycle? ›
What's the difference between scooters and motorcycles? When it comes to scooters vs motorcycles, motorcycles are usually harder to learn to ride but have larger engines and top speeds, while scooters are more fuel efficient, cheaper and have better maneuverability.Can a Vespa go on the highway? ›
All scooters 50cc and above are considered street legal these days, meaning they must abide by the prevailing traffic laws, ride in the road (not on the shoulder or sidewalk), etc. Scooters equal to or above 150cc are freeway, interstate and highway legal.Is Vespa good for long rides? ›
While the 50cc Vespas don't require a special license in most areas, and will easily get you around town, they are too small and slow for long trips. If you're looking to drive on a highway or take a long trip, you'll need at least a 250cc scooter which typically has a maximum speed of 75 mph.What is a Class A motorcycle? ›
Category A covers unrestricted motorcycles above 35kW and includes tricycles over 15kW.What is the difference between motorbike and motorcycle? ›
Motorcycles are thought to be larger, heavier, more powerful equivalent of a motorbike. The term 'motorcycle' is used more prevalently throughout the Americas, both north and south, and is favoured around the rest of the world. Motorcycle is also thought to be the more formal version of the two terms.What is a Class 72 vehicle? ›
BUSES. (Seating 16 + passengers) Use this chart to determine the appropriate vehicle reference number required for each vehicle. 2 axles, 4 tires (up to 7,000 lbs.) 72.How fast can Vespas go? ›
Like any vehicle, the top speed of a new Vespa depends on the size and weight of its engine. Typically, a sub-50cc scooter can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Meanwhile, a scooter with a larger displacement can go up to nearly 80 mph.What is the highest speed of Vespa? ›
Top speed of Vespa VXL 150 is 90 kmph .Is a scooter the same as a moped? ›
Mopeds and scooters are similar vehicles, but there are distinct differences between them in terms of top speed, engine size, and chassis design. As a result, insurance requirements for each differ, too. Some small-engine mopeds may not require insurance, but almost every scooter will need some form of coverage.
Is riding a Vespa like riding a motorcycle? ›
Nope. Scooters are a lot easier to ride than motorcycles because they have a lower center of gravity. It's a little more similar to driving a jet ski, so you can probably pick up the driving pretty easily.Is Vespa good for beginners? ›
As a beginner, you don't need to have the flashiest bike on the block, but a Vespa certainly helps. It's definitely designed like a style accessory that you can ride so it's pretty much perfect to turn heads. On top of that, you don't need to armor up like Iron Man every time you ride—though it is recommended.What do you call riding a scooter? ›
Freestyle scootering (also known as scootering or scooter riding) is an extreme sport that involves using kick scooters to perform freestyle tricks.