As I mentioned in part 1 of the scooter registration story, the woman at the DMV told me the last time that I would need to get my scooter inspected before I could get tags since the paperwork said the engine was 149cc’s and the state of Alabama requires 150cc’s. The courthouse where the DMV is located is 12.4 miles away and the roads are pretty busy with traffic.
I put on my big orange helmet today and plotted a route that would avoid the busiest roads. I hit stretches of road with 55mph speed limits and the scooter performed great. It took the hills without breaking a sweat and made the 24.8 mile round trip without a problem.
Although, I will freely admit that the scooter is less fun to drive as you near its top speed. It does not get unstable, but the ride gets a bit rough when you go past 5omph.
I got to the DMV without incident and gained more confidence driving intraffic and in the scooter’s abilities. After waiting about 2 hours in line, I went outside with the vehicle inspector and he looked over the scooter, asked a few questions about the engine (mostly how many cylinders) and copied down the VIN number from the factory installed ID plate.
The inspector gave me a small slip of paper signing off on the inspection and I headed back inside.
The Bad News
Signed inspection slip in hand, I went back to the counter and handed it over to the woman who was helping me. She looked at all of the paperwork and then said the scooter needed to be 150cc’s to get a tag. I told her that the person who helped me the previous week said that once the scooter was inspected, I could get a tag – even with the 149cc listing in the Certificate of Origin. She went to talk to her supervisor who said no tag unless the engine is 150cc’s.
So, the basic verdict of the DMV staff is that the scooter is NOT street legal and they have no idea if there is anything I can do to change this fact. They have no idea if there is any public place where I can legally operate this scooter. They gave me the number to the Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division ( 334-242-9000) and suggested I call them to see if there was any way for me to get my scooter approved for use on the road.
My Next Step
Before attempting to bang my head against the wall of the Alabama Department of Revenue MVD, I decided first to contact the people who sold me the scooter (advertised as a 150cc vehicle) and requested a new Certificate of Origin with the engine size listed as 150cc’s. If they do that, I should be able to get the scooter registered. If not, I’m a bit stumped.
It is unfortunate that I’m having so much trouble with the registration process because the scooter runs great. It handled all the hills around town with no problem and was a blast to drive on the road. It is completely capable of getting me everywhere I need to go around town – if only I can get some license plates to get it legal.
The state of Alabama does not make it very easy to choose a Chinese scooter as a viable transportation option. The scooter is plenty capable for road use in and around town. It can more than keep up with traffic on secondary roads. But, there is no provision for legal use that I have found so far if the engine does not cross that magic 150cc threshold.