Mopeds are small, low-cost scooters that are great for getting around town. They are also cheaper to maintain, insure, and register than motorcycles, their larger counterparts. Take a few moments to learn about how to get a license to drive your new toy:
- What is a moped? Early mopeds were bicycles with both pedals and small motors. Over the years they have evolved, shedding their pedals and becoming more like small motor scooters. There isn't a good national definition for what a moped is - instead, each state has the authority to create the definition. Some states define it as a two-wheeled vehicle with an automatic transmission and less than 1.5 horsepower, while other states allow vehicles up to 2 horsepower. A few states, such as Alabama, don't recognize mopeds at all - they are considered motorcycles and require motorcycle licenses and safety gear.
If your cycle meets the following conditions, it's probably a moped:
- Two wheels
- Less than 50 CCs
- Top speed is less than 30 mph
- Automatic transmission
- How you get a license really depends on how your state defines "mopeds." States seem to be fairly divided as to how to classify this type of vehicle and how to license its drivers. To learn how your state defines a moped, take a look at Moped2.org. It's packed with helpful information about the laws regarding mopeds in every state.
Another way to learn your state's classifications is to check with your local department of motor vehicles. Regardless of your state's classification, you are required to follow all of the same traffic laws as when operating a car.
- If your state defines mopeds as motorcycles: You will need to get a motorcycle license to legally operate the vehicle. This requirement means that you will probably have to take a theory test as well as a road test, just as if you were driving any other type of motorcycle.
- If your state classifies mopeds separately from cars and motorcycles: When this is the case, mopeds are considered to be more like bicycles than motorcycles, and they are exempt from much of the regulations that affect motorcycles.
- If you have a driver's license, you are permitted to drive a moped.
- If you do not have a driver's license, you will be required to pass both vision and road skills tests. Proof of insurance is also required in many states.