Membrane scission is essential for intracellular trafficking. While BAR domain proteins such as endophilin have been reported in dynamin-independent scission of tubular membrane necks, the cutting mechanism has yet to be deciphered. Here, we combine a theoretical model, in vitro, and in vivo experiments revealing how protein scaffolds may cut tubular membranes. We demonstrate that the protein scaffold bound to the underlying tube creates a frictional barrier for lipid diffusion; tube elongation thus builds local membrane tension until the membrane undergoes scission through lysis. We call this mechanism friction-driven scission (FDS). In cells, motors pull tubes, particularly during endocytosis. Through reconstitution, we show that motors not only can pull out and extend protein-scaffolded tubes but also can cut them by FDS. FDS is generic, operating even in the absence of amphipathic helices in the BAR domain, and could in principle apply to any high-friction protein and membrane assembly.