Driving an electric scooter is all about fun and passion. However, in the same way as other motorized vehicles, this entails certain formalities to be observed.

In this article, we will review the motorcycle license categories and the legal requirements for driving a motorcycle or electric scooter.

Categories of electric scooters and motorcycles

To simplify the categorization of motorcycles and electric scooters, the legislator has developed equivalences with thermal motorcycles. Thus, electric motorcycles with a nominal power of less than 4 kW (such as the Sunra Hawk Plus electric scooter or the Super SOCO TS1200R electric motorcycle ) are assimilated to thermal mopeds of the 50 cc category (category L1e).

Electric vehicles whose power is between 4 and 11 kW (such as the NIU NGT electric scooter or the Super SOCO TC Max electric motorcycle ) are assimilated to light thermal motorcycles of the 125 cc category (category L3e-A1). Those whose power is between 11 and 35 kW are assimilated to thermal motorcycles of the L3e-A2 category.

Finally, electric two-wheelers producing more than 35 kW of power are considered large-displacement sports motorcycles.

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What license to drive a motorcycle or an electric scooter?

Depending on the power of the engine, there are generally 5 categories of license and training to drive an electric motorcycle:

AM license

Entering into force in January 2013, the AM license is an advanced version of the road safety patent (BSR) . It authorizes the driving of motorcycles from the age of 14 whose power is less than 4 kW and whose maximum speed does not exceed 45 km/h ( 50 cc category ).

The AM license is issued at the end of a specific training of 8 hours , which is given in motorcycle schools or associations approved by the state. Since March 1, 2019, the duration of the training must be spread over at least 2 days.

The A1 license

The A1 license allows you to drive all light electric motorcycles with a power of less than 11 kW (50 and 125 cc categories). It is also known as the “ permit 125 ”. To obtain an A1 license, the candidate must meet the following conditions:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Spend at least 20 hours of training including 12 hours on the road and 8 on the track.
  • Pass the theory test.

The A2 license

The A2 license authorizes the driving of all motorcycles whose nominal power is less than 35 kW with the exception of lighter variants from models capable of delivering a power greater than 70 kW. To obtain an A2 license, the candidate must meet the following conditions:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Pass the theory test.
  • Pass the practical test.

Note that the practical test of the A2 license is identical to that of the A1 license.

License A

License A allows you to drive all motorcycles and three-wheelers, regardless of their power and technical characteristics. Note that it is not possible to pass the license A directly. To get it, you need:

  • Be at least 20 years old.
  • Hold an A2 license.
  • Justify at least 2 years of practice.
  • Complete a 7-hour complementary training.

License B

Holders of a B license for more than 2 years can drive 50 or 125 cc electric motorcycles provided they complete a 7-hour training course. To follow this training, you must contact a motorcycle school or an organization approved by the state. The training certificate must be presented with the B license in the event of a roadside check. Failure to comply with this provision is punishable by a fine of €135 .

Driving a motorcycle or electric scooter without a license

Only people born before December 31, 1987 can drive an electric motorcycle in the 50 cc category without any particular formality. They are therefore exempt from passing the BSR or having a driving licence. That said, for the other categories, it is mandatory to have the driving license required by the highway code.

Obligations to drive a motorcycle or an electric scooter

Like thermal motorcycles, the use of an electric motorcycle on public roads is subject to certain obligations:

Register the electric motorcycle

Like all motorized vehicles, electric scooters and electric motorcycles must be registered in order to be driven on public roads. Driving a motorcycle that does not have a registration certificate exposes you to a fine of up to €750.

Subscribe to an insurance

Article L211-1 of the Insurance Code stipulates that any motorized vehicle, whatever its technical characteristics, must be covered by insurance. An owner of a motorcycle or an electric scooter must at least take out “liability insurance” . This type of insurance is sufficient to cover material damage caused to a third party in the event of an accident.

For better protection, it is advisable to opt for a "personal insurance of the driver" or an "all-risk insurance" . On the price side, be aware that insurers generally offer attractive reductions for owners of electric two-wheelers.

Have the minimum safety equipment on the vehicle

Like thermal motorcycles, electric motorcycles must be equipped with an appropriate lighting system at the front and rear (side, main, dipped and stop lights). Failure to comply with this provision exposes you to a fine of up to €180. The minimum safety equipment also includes a left rear-view mirror and front and rear reflectors.

Wear appropriate protective equipment

The mandatory protective equipment for driving an electric scooter or motorcycle is generally the same as for a thermal motorcycle:

• An approved helmet (NF green label or ECE white label) which must be attached while riding the motorcycle.
Approved gloves .
• A high visibility vest which must be used in an emergency.

Driving a motorcycle without a helmet or with a detached helmet is punishable by a fine of up to €375. The absence of gloves is punishable by a fine of 180 €.

Have the documents required to drive a motorcycle

During a roadside check, you must be able to present the following documents:

• The insurance certificate
• The registration certificate (grey card).
• Possibly a driver's license or an equivalent title depending on the category of approval of the motorcycle.

If you do not present the documents required to drive a motorcycle, you risk a fine of up to €150.

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