Minnesota Moped Law Reform

Sam /
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I've seen a lot of moped people new and old either 1) asking about what the moped laws in their state are, 2) complaining about moped laws in their state or 3) complaining about cops who don't understand moped laws in their state.

Rather than confusion and complaints, maybe something can be done about this.

I'm a Minnesota native currently living in Massachusetts. Laws in MA seem pretty well defined and reasonable, but things in my home state are not so great. It seems as though there is an increasing interest in mopeds in Minnesota, so I think soon could be a good time to write to our state representatives and senators about reforming and clarifying some of the laws. I'd encourage people who know the laws and situations in other states to do the same.

For reference, here is a good article that emphasizes why change is needed in MN specifically:

http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2006/10/06/69286

We should use this thread to list and discuss the changes we would propose. If we come up with a coherent, specific, thorough list of items we want changed, I really believe that we could get something done.

I'll begin with the following points:

1) Passengers - Currently, the law states that passengers are only allowed if there is a seat and footpegs for the passenger AND (the ridiculous part) the passenger and driver are related as parent and child. This means the state thinks it's safe for two people to ride on a moped, but only if they're directly related. If a machine is built for two, then two should be allowed to ride on it. Seat and footpegs is a good definition (and the one used for motorcycles), but the parent relationship clause should be thrown out.

2) Title & registration - There should be some provisions making it easier to register mopeds that are sold without a title. Good options are either eliminating the title requirement for registration (as is the case in many states) or clearly laying out the possible routes for obtaining a title when one cannot be located. Right now, the people in the DMV are clueless, and the official state publications do not make things very clear.

Maybe there should be definitions exempting "vintage mopeds" (20? 25 years old?) from requiring to be titled, allowing them to be more easily registered.

3) Bicycle lanes - Mopeds are allowed in bicycle lanes in many states. While it may not always be the best idea, in some cases it can be safer than riding in the road and this should be allowed.

4) Safe riding practices - the state's moped safety tips contradicts what I would consider a personal safety practice. It states: "Ride on a paved shoulder, if available. If not, ride in the extreme right portion of lane". This isn't always the best idea. I sometimes find it safer to ride in the middle of the lane because it encourages other drivers to actually pass me rather than come dangerously close. I don't believe this is law, but maybe it should be clarified in the law that mopeds have the same rights to the lane as motorcycles (and therefore cars) do, if only for safety reason. Personally, I think it's much safer to force cars to go around you than to let them think because you're on the side of the road they don't need to change their course. You have a right to dissagree.

5) Insurance - Okay, maybe this is just because I'm bad and haven't actually insured any of my 'peds (and once convinced a cop it wasn't required), but it doesn't make much sense to me. Many states don't require them to be insured, and to be honest, how much damage could one cause? What does it cost to insure a 'ped and who will do it? Is it worth it?

That's what I can think of right now. Please discuss what you think about these ideas and if you have anything to add or change.

But seriously, in a democratic society we shouldn't have to sit back and passively complain about the laws... we can do something! Let's show them that we're intelligent, informed, and interested in fighting for this cause.

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