With a focus on fuel consumption in recent years, scooters and mopeds are slowly becoming ideal transport options for everyday Australians. 

In 2023, only 0.8% of Australian commuters rode a motorcycle or a scooter to work during the previous 12 months [1]. Similarly, census data (published in 2022) shows that only 0.4% of Australians travelled to work on a motorcycle or scooter on Tuesday, 10 August 2021. [2]

In September, a 9% increase in scooter sales (compared to 2022) indicates there may be more interest in motorcycles, scooters and mopeds as a way to reduce fuel consumption in light of changes in the cost of living and rising interest rates. [3]  

With all that in mind, this may lead to more Australians researching different transport options and wanting to find out which licences they need to ride a scooter or a moped.

To help answer your questions, we’ve outlined the differences between scooters and mopeds and identified which states require licences below.

The Difference Between Scooters and Mopeds

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, scooters and mopeds are considered motorcycles and are defined as “two and three-wheeled motor vehicles constructed primarily to carry one or two people”. [4]

And this is where there can be some confusion.  

While ‘scooter’ and ‘moped’ are often used to describe the same type of vehicle, there are some differences between these two types of motorcycles.  

Scooters

Scooters have an engine of 50cc or more and can reach speeds of 80 to 90 km/h, depending on the riding terrain. [5]

Scooters have a heavier frame than mopeds and are suited to riding short distances where traffic isn’t as congested.

Electric Scooters (e-scooters)

Electric scooters, or e-scooters as they’re also known, are rising in popularity and are a great way for commuters to travel shorter distances quickly, especially in city centres. 

Keep in mind that you must wear an approved safety helmet and abide by your state or territory rules when riding an electric scooter.

Mopeds

Mopeds are propelled by a motor or an internal combustion engine of up to 50cc. They are lightweight, manoeuvrable and can reach speeds up to 50 km/h. 

When riding a moped, you should avoid high-speed roads (such as motorways) and other areas where you ride faster than 50 km/h. 

Otherwise, you might experience road rage from other motorists, especially if you’re holding up traffic. Depending on your state or territory, you may be subject to a fine for disrupting traffic, especially when you travel below the speed limit.

Licences for Riders

You need a full motorcycle licence to ride a scooter (also known as a motor scooter) across all Australian states and territories. 

And you can legally ride mopeds using a car licence in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. And if you ride a moped in Queensland (using a C class licence), you must not carry a passenger.  

While you don’t need a licence to ride an e-scooter, you should still follow electric scooter laws in Australia.

Learner Drivers

You can ride a moped once you receive a learner’s permit in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia after passing a riding test. While in the Northern Territory, you can ride a moped if you hold a current learner driver’s licence from before 1 August 2019. 

However, learner drivers in the ACT, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria are not permitted to ride a moped.

Do you need insurance to ride a scooter?

Yes, you will need insurance to ride a scooter, moped or any other vehicle that’s considered a motorcycle.

Compulsory Third Party Insurance

While it may have a different name in several states, Compulsory Third Party Insurance (also known as CTP Insurance) is mandatory for all riders across Australia. 

Here’s what’s required in your state:

  • Vic - Transport Accident Charge (TAC) covers owners of Victorian motor vehicles for causing injury or death to another person using their vehicle.

    Once this charge is paid the rider of the Victorian registered vehicle is ‘insured’ by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

E-Scooter Insurance

You can add an optional Personal Effects Cover to your Contents Insurance to protect your e-scooter. Personal Effects Cover (also known as Portable Contents Cover) protects personal belongings you take away from your home. 

Depending on the cost of your e-scooter, you’ll need to choose whether it’s an unspecified item (worth $1,000 or less) or a specified item (worth more than $1,000) as part of your policy.

Scooter Insurance

You can also add Scooter Insurance on top of Compulsory Third Party Insurance for additional cover in the event of a motor scooter accident. 

Our Motorcycle Insurance covers a wide range of motorcycles, including motor scooters, at their market or agreed value, with a restricted rider age discount and guaranteed repairs, including materials and workmanship. 

Keep in mind that our Scooter Insurance does not cover mopeds, mobility scooters, electric scooters (e-scooters) and kick scooters.