By David Harrington175_RS_Image

“It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.” Douglas Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Yes, I needed an excuse to put one of my favorite quotes out there. In fact, the title of this little missive refers to the legal and licensing structure of powered two-wheeled conveyances in Minnesota.  There are mopeds and there are motorcycles. Any scooters you may see from time to time are the products of a deranged imagination. MLS (Moped Legal Scooter) are those machines of 50cc or less with a maximum of two brake horsepower and a maximum speed of 30 MPH on a level road. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can operate a moped without further testing or endorsement. You will also need to insure and register said moped. In Minnesota, there are no mopeds for those who have a suspended or revoked driver’s license and there’s no way around the registration and insurance requirements. Beginning as young as 15 years, there is a process to get a moped operator’s permit that involves classes and testing.

Any powered two-wheeled conveyance other than described above is a motorcycle. Yes, in Minnesota, that cute little Yamaha Zuma 50F is a motorcycle. It’s only 50cc, but it is NOT restricted to 30MPH or 2 horsepower so it’s a motorcycle. So is that very popular Genuine Buddy 125cc. So is that 730 pound, 6 cylinder 160 horsepower BMW K1600. Yes, all the same in the eyes of the State of Minnesota. In order to be legal on any of those, one will need a valid driver’s license. If over 18, one begins with a permit. If under 18 one also begins with a permit AND a certificate of completion of a state-approved motorcycle rider training course. To get that permit one must pass a knowledge (written) test. This must take place at a DMV location that offers knowledge tests which is NOT all locations. Now you’ve passed the written, paid the fee, and you have a permit. You must wear an approved helmet and eye protection, you can’t carry passengers, you can’t ride on the interstates and you can’t ride at night. You can go out and practice and become familiar with how this whole powered two-wheeled conveyance thing works. You also have a choice. You can ride until you feel you have reached an acceptable level of skill and then schedule a road test at a DMV road test location. As of this writing in the metro area that would be Arden Hills, Plymouth, Eagan, Anoka & Chaska. Or (I said you had a choice) you can take an approved class. Upon successful completion of the class (which includes riding on a course) you can head over to an ordinary DMV with your certificate, pay the fee, and have the motorcycle endorsement added to you driver’s license.

Take the class. It’s an easier process, you’ll learn how to ride safely, you’ll have fun, there’s no downside. If you’re a scooterist (there may be no scooters, but there are scooterists) take the class at Rider Academy. All of the approved classes provide small displacement motorcycles, but to the best of my knowledge, Rider Academy is the only metro area class that will provide a scooter if requested. If you’re going to ride a scooter, in my opinion, you should learn and be tested on a scooter. That’s right, to blazes with the State of Minnesota. Ride a SCOOTER, even though they tell you it’s a motorcycle, you’ll know better.

Jed Duncan, the owner of Rider Academy, has an EXTENSIVE background in training and his operation holds small sized classes (4 – 12 riders) in a friendly environment (snacks & beverages included) and he’ll provide a scooter if asked. Call 612-424-1595 or visit the website at and remember to let them know you’d like a scooter to ride.

The learning and licensing process is pretty easy, don’t shy away from it and limit yourself to a MLS (Moped Legal Scooter) at 30 MPH. Get on that rip-roaring 125cc (or even *gasp* 300cc) scooter and ride legally all over the place.

Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates


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