The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has noted a wave of community questions, concerns and confusion as electric- and gas-powered scooters have increased in popularity. Often called “go-peds” or “razor scooters,” these vehicles look more like small motorcycles than simple scooters.
While all of the vehicles described below are legal to own, there are illegal ways in which they are used. The following information may help clarify the differences between these vehicles and the law pertaining to each. Remember, there are many more varieties than those described here. We recommend you keep a copy of the identifying paperwork for your motorized vehicle with the vehicle. That way, if there is any question as to the classification of the vehicle, you will have the answer on hand.
“Toy vehicles” are human-, gas- or electric-powered vehicles with wheels typically less than 14 inches in diameter. Toy vehicles include mini-bikes, stand-up scooters, and go-peds. Toy vehicles may not be operated on public roadways but may be operated on private property with the owner’s permission. They may not be operated on sidewalks if motorized; they may be operated on sidewalks if human-powered.Motorized bicycle
An operator of a motorized bicycle must have a valid driver’s license or a minor driver’s license. No motorized bicycle shall be operated on any sidewalk but may be operated upon roadways, and in bicycle lanes included within such roadways. Motorized bicycles shall be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles, and the decal will be affixed to the frame in a conspicuous place. Every motorized bicycle shall have an identification number stamped on its frame that shall be recorded upon registration.
Every motorized bicycle operating between dusk and sunrise will be equipped with a lamp on the front, and with a red reflector on the rear. All motorized bicycles will have a bell or other device capable of giving an audible signal.
Neighborhood electric vehicle
A “neighborhood electric vehicle” is a self-propelled, electrically powered vehicle with a top speed of 25 mph. It is similar in appearance to a golf cart. There are no areas in unincorporated Jefferson County where neighborhood electric vehicles or golf carts may be operated on roadways.
An off-highway vehicle is any self-propelled vehicle that is primarily designed for operation off public roadways, typically for recreational purposes. They include vehicles designed to operate on water, snowmobiles, military vehicles and golf carts. These vehicles may not be operated on public roadways unless specifically posted.
OHVs used strictly on private property do not need to be registered. OHVs driven in Colorado and on public land must be registered.
It is certainly disappointing for children and parents to find that they cannot ride their new scooter in the cul-de-sac or on a path in a local park. Additionally, it may seem silly to ticket children for riding a scooter along a residential roadway. As you can imagine, deputies’ response to crimes against people and property takes precedence over scooter-law violators. Deputies give scooter-related tickets infrequently. However, deputies do respond to citizens’ complaints about any traffic issues, including scooters, and frequently issue warnings.
Deputies recognize that educating the public on safety issues is of the utmost importance. As such, there are serious safety issues that come into play when people, especially children, operate small motorized vehicles around regular traffic. Parents or other responsible adults should supervise younger children on any scooter. Your safety is our concern, so please follow these safety tactics:
• Wear an ANSI- or Snell-approved helmet at all times. Eye protection is also encouraged.
• Avoid curbs, cobblestones, grates and other rough or discontinuous surfaces.
• Never ride with more than one person on a scooter.
• Never ride your scooter at dusk or at night without appropriate lights.
• Before each use, verify that there are no loose or missing parts, and that the brakes are working properly.
• Don’t ride in wet or icy conditions. Wet weather impairs traction, braking and visibility.
• Do not stunt ride.
• Ride in control at all times.
• Never tie on or hold your dog leash as you ride your bike or scooter while still connected with your pet.
• Failure to properly tighten the handlebar quick-release lever may compromise steering action, which could cause you to lose control and fall.
Wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs are not considered vehicles. People in wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs are considered pedestrians.
When riding a vehicle on the sidewalk, you must yield to any pedestrian.
Everyone who operates a vehicle on the roadway must obey the rules of the road. The Colorado State Driver Handbook is a good resource for understanding these rules.
Colorado law defines a motorcycle as a vehicle with two or three wheels with an engine exceeding 50cc. It must be equipped with operating headlights, taillights, turn signals and all other equipment required of any motor vehicle. Motorcycles may be operated only on roadways, and drivers must obey all traffic laws. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. Motorcycles are registered like other vehicles and must display a license plate on the rear. Motor scooters over 50cc will normally have the cc number displayed on the vehicle.
To report a violation or other concern, call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number: 303-277-0211.