If you need a way to casually move around the city you should check out the reviews of lucky pro scooters or opt for a new moped. However, there are a few things you should know before taking your moped for a spin. Registration, proper license and protective equipment are required. Also, certain vehicle features such as a headlight, tail light, and reflective elements are mandatory in order to increase the safety level.
What is a moped?
A moped is often confused with a scooter because of their similar aspect so we just wanted to make things clear. A moped is a two-wheeled vehicle with pedals and a small engine that helps to obtain a cost-effective way of transportation.
The moped’s engine is designed to help the rider when pedaling as it provides only a part of the power. In general, the engine is smaller than 50cc and the top speed does not exceed 28mph. Despite being equipped with an electrical system, mopeds can be ridden using only the pedals. Depending on the state, mopeds are defined by the size of the engine or by the maximum speed they can achieve.
How to register the moped
Unlike other vehicles, mopeds can’t be registered at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. You will have to mail the application, the invoice for sale, and a small fee. You will get the plates and the moped’s ID delivered after two weeks.
Is insurance mandatory?
In 26 states, liability insurance for mopeds is not compulsory. However, if you lease or finance your moped, you will probably be asked by the lender to have it insured. You might not be preoccupied with ensuring the moped against theft or damage, but you should select an appropriate moped coverage.
Useful coverage options
Medical payments – it will pay a percentage of the medical bills or funeral costs, depending on your coverage limit. This type of insurance will cover the costs for you or your passenger, no matter who caused the accident.
Liability – if there is an accident caused by you and as a result, there are injuries or property damage, liability coverage will pay for the damage. If there is a suit brought against you, the coverage will pay for your lawyer.
Collision – it pays for your vehicle’s damage no matter if another vehicle hit you or you hit another vehicle. It also covers the situation in which you roll over while driving. Also, collision will pay for the protective equipment or clothing designed to minimize the injuries caused by the accident.
Comprehensive – this coverage option pays for damage from vandalism, burglary, and animal-related accidents. Furthermore, you might want to consider comprehensive as your coverage form since it pays for damages caused by weather events.
Uninsured or underinsured motorists – let’s say that you had an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This coverage pays for medical healthcare, and other mischiefs caused to you by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or his insurance coverage is not enough to take care of the damage.
If you already have a car or motorcycle driving license you could ride a moped without any supplementary tests or having to get a special license. Take note that you must follow the same rules as to when driving a car. However, several rules only apply to moped drivers so you should check them out before riding a moped.
If you are under 16
In this case, there is a process for you to follow to obtain a provisional license for mopeds. First of all, you have to apply for the learner’s permit and take a theory test. The test is made of 35 questions regarding road regulations and moped associated questions. To pass the test and to obtain the learner’s permit, you must answer correctly at least 28 questions.
Getting the riding skills
After you obtained the learner’s permit you can move to the more fun part of the process and start to actually ride your moped. However, you should take it seriously and try to simulate all possible road situations so you will become a confident and safe driver. Throughout these driving hours, an approved supervisor will accompany you as your passenger or from another vehicle.
Despite not having a minimum number of driving hours that you should complete, don’t rush through this part and take enough time to learn all aspects of driving a moped. Keep in mind the moped’s specifications should be according to the vehicles’ class you want to ride. The moped’s maximum speed must be 30mph and the engine capacity should be smaller than 50cc.
Taking the Hazard Perception Test
The Hazard Perception Test (or HPT) is used to determine your ability to evaluate dangerous situations in traffic and to respond using safe driving measures. You will be shown a series of video clips and you have to decide the appropriate action for each situation by clicking a mouse to choose when it is safe to begin a maneuver.
You don’t need to have extended computer knowledge to take the HPT since the necessary instructions will be shown on the screen. If you are having a hard time reading them, you can ask to use the provided headphones. To make the test as accessible as possible, a translator can help you through the introduction and practice part.
Before taking the Practical Driving Assessment, you must pass the HPT and you should be confident about your moped driving skills. The PDA is used to check if you are a competent and safe driver. You will be required to drive around an ‘O’ shape at low speed without putting any of your feet on the ground to keep the moped balanced.
As part of the test, you will have to come to a fully controlled stop without blocking any of the wheels and properly park and start on a hill. During the PDA, you must wear an approved by regulation helmet, long trousers, a fully-sleeved shirt and closed footwear as protective clothing.
Obtaining the provisional license
Passing the tests will get you a provisional license together with the ‘P’ plates so you will be able to ride without being accompanied by an approved supervisor. The license is valid for two years or until you turn 19 years old. Keep in mind you are legally allowed to drive on public roads only vehicles that meet the license criteria.
How to display the plates
After getting the provisional license, you must display the red ‘P’ plates for the first six months. For the rest of the provisional license’s availability period, you must display the green plates. No matter the color of the plates, they should always be displayed in a visible place at the moped’s front and back.
Legal demands for mopeds
When riding a moped, you want to be as visible as possible for other drivers. To have a safe ride, your moped should have a powerful headlight with a system that allows you to adjust its height so you don’t blind other traffic participants. Also, having a tail light and a brake light is required by law.
Working brakes are mandatory if you plan on riding on public roads even if the moped only has rear brakes. Braking by pushing the rear fender with your foot on the wheel does not count as having functional brakes.
The moped should be equipped with at least one mirror. It can be placed on any of the handlebars’ side but the left side is recommended so you can better see vehicles that are behind you. Also, it must have a muffler so the exhaust doesn’t make excessive noise. The legal limit for vehicles is 95 decibels.
Most drivers think mopeds are way safer than vehicles with bigger engines because of the low speed. Speed-related accidents are indeed fewer among moped riders but other traffic hazards such as not being noticed by other traffic participants represent a serious problem. If you want to increase your ride’s level of safety, you should wear reflective clothing and put some reflective accessories on your moped.
Some drivers could see the moped, think of it as harmless and simply forget that it’s there. This way, they will cut off the moped drivers or pass them too close. This situation usually takes place on high-speed roads, where driving a moped may not be permitted by the local authorities.