Mopeds are defined as two-wheeled vehicles with a maximum engine capacity of 50cc, so they are usually placed in the same category as bikes. This means that they are usually allowed on bike lanes in cities, but local regulations differ so you should check it out with local authorities in your area.
As large cities are getting more crowded every day, people are constantly looking for better alternatives when it comes to transportation. For this reason, scooters and mopeds have become increasingly popular in the past years, with more and more young adults seeing them as a great way to get around.
On the other hand, bikes have also found their rightful place in the urban transportation system, especially since everyone knows that the environment needs to be protected as well. Many inhabitants have chosen bikes over cars, and the many awareness campaigns around this matter have certainly contributed to creating better conditions in terms of infrastructure.
We all know Amsterdam as the city where everyone seems to be using a bike, but the truth is that many other large cities around the world have highly developed bike lane systems to accommodate the increasing demand for this type of transportation.
And while there are some issues that might arise, such as less street space that cars can use, it’s clear that bikes are great from many points of view, from the user’s health to the environment.
However, when you look at alternative modes of transportation altogether, it’s clear that local administrations sometimes need to come up with creative solutions to accommodate all of them. This is where dedicated bike lanes come into the picture, given that moped or scooter riders sometimes think it’s a good idea to use them.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at mopeds and whether bike lanes should be used when riding them or not. Given that urban traffic can be quite heavy and that no one likes being stuck for hours, it’s very tempting for moped and scooter riders to use them. Before we go into legal details, however, let’s see the main differences between mopeds and scooters.
Mopeds vs. scooters
Unfortunately for inexperienced users who are thinking about getting their first moped, things are not very clear when it comes to this category altogether. Most people use the terms “moped” and “scooter” to talk about the same vehicle, when in fact there are some differences from a technical and legal point of view that mean different rules apply to each type of unit.
Scooters are defined as light two-wheeled vehicles on which they can sit and that feature an enclosed engine and a floorboard that needs to be used to rest the feet. These units can come with powerful engines over 125cc, which means that they can attain high speeds and, depending on the model and its power, they can even be driven on freeways.
Mopeds, on the other hand, are not that powerful and they come with more restrictions than scooters. These vehicles have been first developed as small motorcycles that feature bicycle pedals. The term “moped” was first used in 1952 and it’s, in fact, a combination of the words “motor” and “pedals”.
Throughout time the vehicle’s design was upgraded for the user’s benefit, and while there are no pedals involved today, the name stuck even though it’s not accurate anymore. Mopeds have a particular legal standing as well since they must have a maximum engine capacity of 50cc in order to belong to this category.
This limitation means that mopeds cannot attain high speeds either, so they are usually not legally allowed on freeways. If you have any questions on this matter, you should check with the local administration in your city or the state’s law since you probably don’t want to get a fine that you could otherwise avoid.
On the topic of mopeds and whether they can be ridden on freeways, this is also a matter of safety, given that driving at very high speeds means that the closing gap between a car and any other vehicle that goes slower doesn’t give the driver enough reaction time. Besides being illegal in most states, you may want to avoid riding mopeds on freeways altogether due to this.
There is another category that has emerged in the last years, namely that of electric scooters. While these vehicles started out as toys for kids who simply wanted to have some fun in the skate park, some people saw the potential urban transportation benefits they can bring for adults as well.
In the past years, e-scooters have been technologically enhanced to meet multiple needs and people are using them today in most large cities as an environmentally-safer and handy mode of transportation. They cannot attain high speeds either and they are many types placed in the same legal category as bikes (and mopeds in some cases).
On the other hand, users should know that e-scooters and powerful scooters are two very different things, especially when it comes to where they can be used. While the former category might be allowed on bike lanes within the city without any issue, the latter has every chance of being completely forbidden from being used on these.
What about mopeds and bike lanes?
If you want to know whether mopeds are allowed on bike lanes, the answer to this question depends on many factors, such as the city you live in, how developed the biking infrastructure is, and other local regulations. In general, since mopeds are low-speed vehicles, they might be included in the same category as bikes, from a legal point of view.
If a bike lane is available on a roadway, there is a high chance that mopeds are allowed on it, but the same cannot be said about scooters or motorcycles. The main difference here is, as you can imagine, the engine’s power and the speed that each type of vehicle can attain. These regulations are set in place in order to ensure everyone’s safety, including pedestrians.
You should also be aware that bike lanes and bike paths are two different things. A bike lane is defined as adjacent to the roadway, while a bike path is completely separate. With this in mind, when you check the local rules you need to make sure that you understand whether you are allowed to use either one or just the bike lanes.
Moreover, the signs on the streets also indicate what types of vehicles are allowed where, so pay attention to these and obey the legislation. Even if some people choose to disregard these rules, the truth is that a costly fine is simply not worth it, especially since mopeds are usually cost-effective transportation solutions, so you probably want to keep yours that way.
Amsterdam is trying to regulate some aspects
Amsterdam is known for its extremely well-developed bike lanes system since everyone there seems to be riding a bike. While tourists might be scared of local people on bikes who are notoriously keeping everyone out of their way, the local administration is trying to find new solutions to meet everyone’s needs.
Moreover, according to reports, the city plans on banning diesel and gas vehicles from its center by 2030, which also means removing car-parking spaces and other measures to give pedestrians and cyclists larger areas. Right now, all types of scooters and mopeds are banned from bike paths, a measure that has had inhabitants signing petitions against it.
It’s not fully enforced yet, but authorities are already taking measures such as warnings, after which a 95 euros fine will be given. Of course, some residents were very unhappy with this measure that, according to them, make matters less safe when placing scooters and mopeds on the same lanes as fast cars.
On the other hand, the bike lanes are too crowded, they can be equally dangerous, so if a city like Amsterdam takes this measure, then you should surely check to see what the situation is where you live.
In the meantime, if you are not completely comfortable with riding bikes, e-scooters, or mopeds at higher speeds, then you should take your time and practice the routes you are going to take on a daily basis (if that’s the case) when there’s less potential traffic. You can also remain as visible as possible by wearing bright colors and you should never forget about the helmet either.