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Monday, January 30, 2012

Do you need a license to ride a moped?

"Do you need a license to ride a moped?," is a common question when it comes to mopeds/scooters/motorized bicycles/motor scooters. To meet the classification as a moped, mopeds must have lower speeds and weight than regular motorcycles but, as a motorized vehicle, they may require a license to be used on the roads.

The short answer is: yes and no. In some states, mopeds don't require a license, while in others they do. While they may not require a motorcycle endorsement, some states still require a basic operator's license. Sometimes it depends on the vehicle itself; most states define a moped as a vehicle under with an engine size under 150 CCs or a vehicle that can travel at no more than 30 mph.

Who drives mopeds? Mopeds are a convenient means of transportation for people who want something more than a bike. As a low cost, short range commuter vehicle, they can be quite economical. You will also find mopeds for rent in many tourist areas such as Key West, FL.

If you are planning on operating a moped, here are some things to consider:
  • 1. Look up laws in your specific state if a license is required for operation of a moped. It is by far the simplest way to find the answer. When asking, remember to be specific on the type of moped you are planning to operate, its speed and physical characteristics, to be absolutely sure that it is not classified as a motorcycle.
  • 2. When riding a moped, remember that moped operators must follow all the basic traffic laws. Some states also restrict mopeds from operating on sidewalks or bicycle paths due to their speed.
  • 3. Take up a motorcycle safety course. A moped may seem like a child's toy compared to regular motorcycles, but the fact that people can get on the road with it means that a degree of safe operation is required to get around without causing harm to yourself and others. The slower speeds of a moped can lead to problems when trying to keep up with other vehicles on the road. A recent study by the US Navy Safety Center showed that most sailors who had been killed while riding a motorcycle hadn't taken the required motorcycle safety course. Passing the motorcycle test will give you all the safety knowledge you need and will allow you to upgrade to a motorcycle endorsement when a moped no longer meets your needs.
  • 4. Always wear the prescribed safety attire/equipment when operating a moped. This includes helmets, kneepads and shoulder pads.
  • 5. Find out if there are specific lanes in your local area for motorized bicycles and stick to them.

If you're interested in getting your motorcycle license please see our motorcycle license directory by state or to take a Free DMV Practice Test.

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Posted by NSC - Traffic Safety at


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