Scooter, no title
April 27, 2009 12:37 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has a scooter, but no title. Is there a way to get a license plate without it?
posted by patientpatient to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
You don't need a license for scooters in a lot of places, if it's under 50cc.
posted by electroboy at 12:38 PM on April 27, 2009

You may not need a license (read: a motorcycle endorsement), but you'll still need a tag on the bike itself.

In most states, your friend should go to the DMV with the VIN and a bill of sale, and apply for a lost title.There may be penalties or other charges. Once you have a title, you can register it and get a plate. Knowing which state you're in will help.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2009

Oh, to answer your question directly, no, only the title holder can register (and thus tag) an automobile.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:43 PM on April 27, 2009

Well, to clarify, you may not need a tag either. You don't here in MD.
posted by electroboy at 12:50 PM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: This is in Chicago and I'm not sure if it's under 50cc.
posted by patientpatient at 12:53 PM on April 27, 2009

Do you have a bill of sale or any other proof of ownership?
posted by electroboy at 1:00 PM on April 27, 2009

Response by poster: I think it was purchased from an owner on Craigslist and to make problems worse, I believe the title is still in her name.

I guess in general, I'm wondering what on can do with it period without a title and/or what the penalties are for driving without the appropriate tags/plates.
posted by patientpatient at 1:04 PM on April 27, 2009

IL requires plates for motorcycles less than 150cc. A quick search indicates that applying for a change of name on a title will cost $65 but can be completed via the mail.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 1:04 PM on April 27, 2009

I know in Iowa, if you buy a scooter or motorcycle without a title, you have to apply for a bonded title. This involves putting a deposit of money down with the state (I've heard around $300), and they take a period of a few years to research the VIN and see if it comes up as a stolen bike. If nothing comes up, you're issued a new title and are refunded the $300. Or you can have your insurance company do it for you, usually for a non-refundable fee of $100. If the bike IS stolen, it goes back to its registered owner and you're out the money you paid for it.

This document might be applicable to your friend's situation.
posted by scarykarrey at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2009

So, why didn't the seller sign the title of the bike over to your friend upon sale? Is she refusing to do so?
posted by scarykarrey at 1:08 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

In Maine, scooters under 50ccs are not issued titles. The law may or may not be the same in other states, but its possible (depending on where she purchased it) that no title was ever issued for the bike. Its also possible that in Illinois the law is the same as Maine -- I'd check with the DMV and find out for sure.
posted by anastasiav at 1:19 PM on April 27, 2009

You will also need a Class L license. Once you get that and the title sorted, you can get on your bad motor scooter and ride.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:05 PM on April 27, 2009

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