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Moped Laws: West

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Laws for legal moped usage vary by state in America. You may be able to find information on your state's transportation website but the following are likely to be more useful as some states make it hard to find moped related information.

Arizona

Moped Definition

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

Rules and Regulations

  • A helmet is required only if the operator is under 18 years of age
  • As noted in the title and registration provisions above, mopeds are exempt from these equipment requirements.

California

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • An M2 or M1 license is required.
  • Motorized Bicycle Application Reg230 $19 as of January 1, 2009 (The DMV site shows $18 as the fee, and some people have been able to register using $18, the $19 fee amount is shown on the registration card.)
  • Liability Insurance

Rules and Requirements

  • Motorcycle Helmet
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Brake light
  • Horn
  • Side and rear reflectors
  • "Adequate" muffler, not exceeding 95 Decibels (applies to all road vehicles under 6,000lbs)
  • Working brakes (rear only is technically legal, no your shoes don't count)
  • Minimum of one side mirror (either side is legal, though left side is most common)
  • Note - Turn signals are not required under the law. Link

See: How to Register a Moped in California

Colorado

Moped Definition
Motorized bicycle is defined as a vehicle having:

  1. two or three wheels
  2. a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc, and
  3. an automatic transmission which produces a maximum design speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on a flat surface.

Licensing and Registration

  • A valid driver's license or minor driver's license is required.
  • Registration is required, with a fee of $5.00. It is valid for 3 years.

Rules and Regulations

  • Moped insurance is required
  • May not be operated on an interstate system.
  • May be driven in bicycle lanes.
  • A person riding a motorized bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
  • No motorized bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
  • No person riding upon any motorized bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
  • Every person operating a motorized bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close to the right side of the roadway as practicable.
  • Persons riding motorized bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast.
  • Motorized bicycles must be equipped with a headlight visible from at least 500 feet away.
  • Motorized bicycles must be equipped with a horn audible from at least 100 feet away.

Taken mostly verbatim from the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Montana

Moped Definition
In Montana, a moped falls under the definition of a bicycle.

61-8-102 (2) (b) “Bicycle” means:
(i) a vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride and that has two tandem wheels and a seat height of more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is raised to its highest position, except scooters and similar devices; or
(ii) a vehicle equipped with two or three wheels, foot pedals to permit muscular propulsion, and an independent power source providing a maximum of 2 brake horsepower. If a combustion engine is used, the maximum piston or rotor displacement may not exceed 3.05 cubic inches, 50 centimeters, regardless of the number of chambers in the power source. The power source may not be capable of propelling the device, unassisted, at a speed exceeding 30 miles an hour, 48.28 kilometers an hour, on a level surface. The device must be equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only and does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.

Bicycles are specifically excluded from the definitions of motorcycles [61-1-101 (36) (b)], motor-driven scooters [61-1-101 (37) (b)], and motor vehicles [61-1-101 (40) (b)]. However, bicycles are NOT excluded from the definition of a vehicle [61-1-101 (84) (a)].

Moped Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • The law that requires titles [61-3-201] requires them for motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, pole trailers, campers, motorboats, personal watercrafts, sailboats, and snowmobiles. It does not mention bicycles.
  • The law that requires registration and license plates [61-3-301] requires them for motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, pole trailers, travel trailers, motorcycles, and quadricycles. It does not mention bicycles.
  • The law that requires motor vehicle insurance [61-6-301] does not mention bicycles.
  • The law that requires a driver's license to be carried at all times [61-5-116] applies only to licensees operating motor vehicles.

Moped Rules and Regulations
Under [61-8-607]:

  1. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to rear-facing reflectors required by this section.
  2. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with an essentially colorless front-facing reflector, essentially colorless or amber pedal reflectors, and a red rear-facing reflector. Pedal reflectors shall be mounted on the front and back of each pedal.
  3. Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with either tires with retroflective sidewalls or reflectors mounted on the spokes of each wheel. Spoke mounted reflectors shall be within 76 millimeters (3 inches) of the inside of the rim and shall be visible on each side of the wheel. The reflectors on the front wheel shall be essentially colorless or amber and the reflectors on the rear wheel shall be amber or red.
  4. Reflectors required by this section shall be of a type approved by the department.
  5. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
  6. Every bicycle is encouraged to be equipped with a flag clearly visible from the rear and suspended not less than 6 feet above the roadway when the bicycle is standing upright. The flag shall be fluorescent orange in color.

Under [61-8-608]

  1. A person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
  2. A person may not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk where the use of a bicycle is prohibited by official traffic control devices.
  3. Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), a person operating a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Under [61-8-602]
Every person operating a bicycle shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by chapter 7, this chapter, and chapter 9 except as to special regulations in this part and except as to those provisions of chapter 7, this chapter, and chapter 9 which by their very nature can have no application.

Under [61-8-336]
Vehicles (this includes mopeds) are required to use turn signals. The specific rules are the same for mopeds as they are for cars, and these rules are explained in the text of the law. Turn signals may be given by hand or mechanical signal [61-8-337], and the specifications for the turn signals are described in [61-8-338].

Please search the Montana Code for full text/context of these regulations.

Nevada

  • A moped is a vehicle which looks and handles essentially like a bicycle and is propelled by a small engine which produces not more than 2 gross brake horsepower
  • A moped has a displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimeters and is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface.
  • You must have a normal Class C or higher driver license to drive a moped or motorized bicycle on a public street.
  • You do not need a Class M license.
  • Mopeds do not require insurance or vehicle registration.
  • If the moped is more than 50cc, it is considered a motorcycle and you must have a Class M license, registration and insurance.
  • Mopeds must have the same safety equipment (lights, mirrors, etc.) as a motorcycle in order to be driven on any public street.
  • Other vehicles with a small engine are considered off-road motor vehicles and may not be operated on public streets.

Taken from the Nevada DMV website

New Mexico

Moped Definition

  • Moped must be 50cc or less
  • Moped must be restricted to 30 m.p.h
  • Automatic transmission if applicable
  • Moped must have two or three wheels

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • A valid Class D (Operator) license or permit is required
  • Title and registration are not required
  • Insurance is not required

If a vehicle exceeds the speed or piston displacement criteria, it will be classified as a motorcycle. You'll then to register and title the vehicle, and carry insurance.

Rules and Regulations

  • A helmet is not required
  • Eye protection is required
  • Moped must have functioning headlight and taillight for nighttime use

Oregon

A moped...

  • is designed to be operated on the ground upon wheels;
  • has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
  • is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
  • is equipped with an independent power source that is capable of propelling the vehicle, unassisted, at a speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a level road surface; and if the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of 35.01 to 50 cubic centimeters regardless of the number of chambers in the power source; and
  • is equipped with a power drive system that functions directly or automatically only and does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the system is engaged.

Taken From http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/vehicle/pocketbike_factsheet.shtml

Other Info:

  • Minimum Age: 16
  • License: Yes, normal drivers license
  • Registration: Yes
  • Insurance: Yes (Talk to the Puddle Cutters about this)
  • Helmet: Yes DOT
  • Lights: Yes
  • Maximum Speed: 30mph
  • May ride in bike lane with engine off.

Utah

No registration or insurance required. The DMV said what makes the legal requirement for a moped depends on the H.P. and the CC's. No more than 2 H.P. and no more than 50 CC's. Pedals are not a requirement for registration exemption.

Washington

  • A moped is any two or three-wheeled vehicle that has wheels at least 16 inches in diameter.
  • Is powered by a 50cc or smaller motor.
  • Is capable of a maximum speed of 30 mph or less on level ground.
  • Must meet the same equipment requirements as motor-driven cycles or motorcycles to be operated on public roadways.
  • Operators must be 16 and have a valid driver license.
  • No special endorsement is required.
  • Helmet required.
  • Mirrors required (as of 7/26/09).

Taken from [Washington State Licensing website].

U.S. Moped Laws by region
Northeast CTDEMEMANHNJNYPARIVT
South ALFLGAKYMDNCSCTNTXVA
Midwest IllinoisIowaKansasMichiganMinnesotaMissouriOhioSouth DakotaWisconsin
West ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoMontanaNevadaNew MexicoOregonUtahWashington
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