Moped & Scooter Laws: General

Are you not sure whether a particular scooter is a moped or a mototrcycle?

Here are the general rules (that vary from detail to detail depending on the state):

- Over 50cc = Motorcycle

- Under 50cc = Moped

- Pedals = Moped

- Manual Transmission = Motorcycle

- Produces less than 1.5 bhp (in some states up to 3.5 bhp) = Moped

- Goes faster than 30 mph = Motorcycle

- 30 mph top speed = Moped

Do you need a special license? Well that varies from state to state. New York, Ohio, and D.C. license all drivers and riders. In Virginia and South Dakota mopeds can be used as drunk mobiles, ideal for people who have had their licenses revoked.

Do you need title & registration? Again that varies from state to state, D.C. & Delaware title and register every vehicle. Some states don't title but don't register mopeds. Some states register, but don't title mopeds. Some states do neither, and still other don't require title for vehicle over a certain age.

Do you need a helmet? As a general rule moped riders do not need helmets, even in states that require them for motorcyclists. But there are always exceptions like D.C. that require helmets for everyone.

Do you need a insurance? As a general rule moped riders do not need insurance, even in states that require it for cars and motorcycles. However there are always exceptions like D.C. that require insurance for all vehicles. Good luck on finding a company in D.C. that will actually insure a moped though.

Re: Moped & Scooter Laws: General

thats not totaly true in West Virginia there is a step between moped and motorcycle, it is Motor Driven Cycle and its anything up to 250cc excluding a moped. Most scooters fall here but you don't have to have a motorcycle license to ride ones under 50cc. I have registration, insurance, and i were a helmet. I have to have registration, we don't know about insurance but better to be safe then sorry, and im not required to wear a helmet but i do because of my age.


Re: Moped & Scooter Laws: West Virginia

John Stafford /

Why are you quoting laws if you don't know them? I gave some general guidelines above (giving care that each state has it's own unique variations on the above theme) and motor driven cycles which are defined in about half of our 50 states just confuse the issue.

If you're gonna go around quoting the law, learn it! In West Virginia law a "Motor-driven cycle" means every motorcycle having a piston displacement greater than 50cc but less than 150cc, or less than 5bhp. (

Re: Moped & Scooter Laws: General

Regina Powell /

For moped insurance, there are usually insurance companies that specialize in motorcycles, and they usually do mopeds and scooters as well. Ask scary biker types about their insurance companies, and you'll probably be able to find one.

Re: Moped & Scooter Laws: General

John Stafford /

Geico has a branch that does only motorcycles, but they only insure bikes 90cc and larger. Bros Club does only motorcycles, but will only insure American, European, and Japanese bikes. Progressive, the largest motorcycle insurer in the country, and Dairyland will not write policies in New Jersey and Washington D.C. at all. State Farm (my insurer), Allstate, Erie, and Nationwide will only write motorcycle policies if you already have a car insured with them.

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