Mopeds, Scooters and Motorcycles

Mopeds, scooters and motorcycles are often collectively referred to as Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs), but what are the differences?

Most confusion arises between mopeds and scooters 

Both mopeds and scooters have manual gear boxes and are often described as ‘twist and go’.  No need to change gear. They are easy to ride and have space for storage or shopping.

So what is the difference?

The following information will assist you in determining whether a moped or scooter is the right choice for you.

What is a Moped?
16 Years of Age +
A moped (category AM) is defined as having an engine size of no more than 50cc and a maximum design speed over 25km/h (15.5mph) but not exceeding 45 km/h (28 mph).

Mopeds were originally designed as a motorcycle (mo) with pedals (ped). Mopeds are normally automatic (there are some exceptions where mopeds have gears) and are popular amongst 16-year olds as their first powered two-wheeler or those wishing to find an environmentally and cost friendly transport solution. They can legally be ridden on the road with L-plates once you have passed a CBT course (unless you passed your car test before February 2001 which already gives you the correct licence entitlement). You don’t need a full motorcycle licence to ride a moped.

What is a Scooter?
17 Years of Age +
Scooters are sometimes seen as a bigger version of a moped with engines larger than 50cc. Although they are similar in design to a moped as they normally have a step-through frame (which means you can step into it, rather climb onto it like a motorcycle) and have a platform on the base of the scooter where the rider can place their feet, you need to be 17 years of age or over to ride one. Scooters are commonly available in a wide range of sizes from 51cc to 650cc and above. 

It is worth remembering those with engines up to 50cc are classed as mopeds while scooters between 50 and 125cc can be ridden by people of at least 17 years of age with either a current CBT or a full A1, A2 or A motorcycle licence.  

You must be at least 19 years of age to ride a scooter with an engine size over 125cc as these follow the same licencing laws as motorcycles.

What is a Motorcycle? 
17 years of Age +
Motorcycles usually (but not always) have a manual gear box, and require the use of a clutch to change gear.  

It is worth remembering those with engines up to 50cc are classed as mopeds while motorcycles between 50 and 125cc can be ridden by people of at least 17 years of age with either a current CBT or a full A1, A2 or A motorcycle licence.  

You must be at least 19 years of age to ride a motorcycle with an engine size over 125cc as these follow the same licencing laws as motorcycles, and over the age of 24* to ride the largest motorcycles on the market.

* it is possible to ride large motorcycles at age 21 using progressive access, and you should discuss this with your motorcycle Instructor if this is something you are interested in 

The routes to getting a licence to ride a moped, scooter or motorcycle can be found here.

Or to make it easier, you can contact your closest MCIA RIDE Industry Approved Training School and they will contact you to explain everything to you and answer all your questions.

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