@rob, there is no possible way at this time to title a moped in MD, until this law takes effect.
my summary at the time the bill passed through the senate:
SB 309 was very heavily amended when it passed the second reading, it’s basically an entirely new bill, and it will head to the Senate for a final vote probably this week. Not sure the date in the House.
But basically, they chose to slash the predicted costs, keep mopeds as “bicycles” and not “motor vehicles” (saving us from dirt-bike-related hassle in Balto City), as well as removing the “registration” requirement, rather than completely excluding mopeds from this scooter bill. the ‘moped exclusion’ amendment was proposed by Sen. Klausmeier's office but was shot down, in favor of amending almost everything to still allow mopeds to be regulated, just in a way that is much less prohibitive and invasive for us. Roughly, the bill affects us as follows, effective Oct 1, 2012, including all the changes from the amendments:
- mopeds will need to be TITLED. the title fee was set by the bill’s new language at only $20 per bike, and that fee (and any MVA fees except the decal fee, see below) will be WAIVED for the first year the bill is in effect – i.e. if you own a bike on 10/1/12, you have a year to get a free title. The language of the amendment seems to imply that we will not need to already have a title to get a MD title. So hopefully that’s a fair interpretation, otherwise “replacement” titles could be hard to get, but still should be free in the first year. This is up to MVA to figure out, and I assume they are going to just want to issue titles with as little hassle for them as possible. This is a big deal, because motor vehicle title fees are $100 per motor vehicle otherwise, and replacement titles are hard to get, and pricey.
- There is a sales tax that will be imposed on the sale of a moped, in MD it is 6% and is based on the sale price or $320, whichever is greater (6% of $320 is $19.20). Normally for motor vehicles it’s twice that. Presumably if we already own the bike (or if it’s never been titled in MD before), we won’t have to pay this, but when they change hands we will. This includes private sales.
- in order to get a title, an INSURANCE policy has to be issued for that moped. this could be a rider on an existing auto/motorcycle policy, or it's own policy, but discussions since the bill's initial reading have implied that much-lower-cost options that should take effect in MD in the next year, less than the nearly $300 per year initially quoted at the senate hearing. Insurance companies in other states offer moped insurance at low costs, and they should extend that to MD if this law takes effect. We made it clear that the insurance cost to us is a big deal, and it didn’t fall on deaf ears.
- once a moped has a title and insurance, it will get a PERMANENT DECAL with an MVA number instead of a license plate, and this will be a one-time cost of $5 per sticker. So far it is unclear whether that sticker will stay with the bike when it changes ownership, or if a new owner will need to transfer the title, get insurance, and then pay $5 for THEIR decal. I believe it is the former, but it’s only $5 anyway, and nowhere near the cost of a license plate fee in MD.
- helmets/eye protection required, but disobeying this does not signify “negligence,” limit liability of an insurer, or diminish recovery from damages in the event of a crash. But you can probably get a ticket or warning if you get stopped.
So all in all, they worked with us. they read out letters, they discussed ways to make this work for us, bearing in mind that we have multiple bikes per person, that they are mostly antiques, that they don’t cost much, and that there are so few and they are so small that they don’t need excessive motorcycle-style registration/tags to be regulated.