Moped Laws: Northeast

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Laws for legal moped usage vary by state in America. You may be able to find information on your state's transportation website but the following are likely to be more useful as some states make it hard to find moped related information.

Connecticut

On October 1, 2008, there were changes in the law that may affect whether you must register your scooter, moped or other motorbike as a motorcycle.

Motor Driven Cycles: If you have a motor scooter, moped or motorbike having a motor that produces 5 brake horsepower or less (or 3.7 kW or less) and a seat height of at least 26 inches, you may operate it on the roadway without registering it. However, you must have a valid motor vehicle operator’s license to operate it, and you may not operate it on any sidewalk, limited access highway or turnpike. If the maximum speed of your cycle is less than the speed limit of the road that you are on, you must operate in the right hand lane available for traffic or upon a usable shoulder on the right side of the road unless you are making a left turn. As of October 1, 2008, these vehicles are referred to as “motor driven cycles.”

Motorcycles: Any two or three wheeled motor vehicle (that does not have a driver’s seat that is enclosed or designed to be enclosed) that produces more than 5 brake horsepower (or more than 3.7 kW) must be registered as a motorcycle. You may be asked to present proof of your motorcycle’s horsepower (or metric power) if it is not apparent from the certificate of origin or other registration documents. This information is available from the motorcycle’s manufacturer. You must obtain an M endorsement on your driver’s license in order to operate a motorcycle. In order to obtain the endorsement, you will be required to pass a written test and a driving test to demonstrate that you are proficient in your knowledge and operation of a motorcycle.

Link to CTDMV website: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=810&q=430480


NOTES: According to the changes for 2008, you can have a moped with a manual transmission and clutch, and it can be larger than 49cc as long as it makes 5bhp or less.




OLD LAWS-----

Moped Definition

  • Top speed may not exceed 30mph
  • Must have an automatic transmission
  • Seat height must be at or above 26"

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • Must have valid drivers license
  • No registration required under 50cc
  • No insurance required under 50cc
  • No inspection required under 50cc

Rules and Regulations

  • Eye protection must be worn

Delaware

Moped Definition

  • Pedal or nonpedal bicycle having 2 wheels larger than 10" in diameter
  • Displacement under 55 cc
  • Rated at no more than 2.7bhp
  • Top speed no greater than 25 mph

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • Operator must have valid driver's license in his/her possession while riding
  • Must be registered with DE DMV -- costs $5 for 3 years
  • Mopeds must be titled

Rules and Regulations

  • May not be used on limited-access highways
  • May not use bicycle paths/trails except when motor turned off
  • When using bicycle paths, bicycle regulations apply
  • Must have lights front and rear and a bell/horn

[1]

Maine

Moped Definition

  • A moped is a vehicle with not less than 2 brake horsepower.
  • A moped does not exceed 50 ccs and cannot exceed 30 miles per hour on a flat surface.
  • A moped is equipped with a power drive system that functions automatically and does not require shifting.
  • A moped may or may not have foot pedals

Licensing, Registration, and Insurance

  • You must have an operator's license, motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped endorsement/restriction to operate all scooters and mopeds on a public way.
  • All mopeds and many scooters must be registered.
  • Liability Insurance is required

Rules and Regulations

  • A moped must be operated single file and as far to the right at all times, except when turning left.
  • Operator of a moped must obey all other traffic laws.

Massachusetts

Moped Definition According to Massachusetts law, a moped is a "motorized bicycle." In order to be classified as a moped, the vehicle must:

  • Have a cylinder capacity of no more than 50 cubic centimeters.
  • Have an automatic transmission.
  • Be capable of a maximum speed of no more than 30 miles per hour.
  • Comply with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Licensing and Registration

  • A moped sticker, issued by the RMV, must be affixed to the moped. This sticker will not be issued unless the vehicle meets the above requirements.
  • When stamped with the Registrar's stamp, the registration form becomes the moped's registration. The operator must carry his/her registration and license/learner's permit whenever operating that moped.
  • Mopeds will not be operated:
    • By any person under 16 years of age.
    • By any person who does not have a valid license or permit.
    • At a speed greater than 25 miles per hour.

Rules and Regulations
Operating Requirements:

  • Moped operators are subject to the traffic laws, rules and regulations of the Commonwealth.
  • Mopeds will have the right to use all public ways in the Commonwealth, except limited access or express state highways where signs prohibiting bicycles have been posted.
  • Mopeds may use bicycle lanes next to various ways but are excluded from off street recreational paths.
  • Moped operators must signal their intention to stop or turn by using either hand.
  • Mopeds may keep right when passing a motor vehicle which is in the travel lane of a way.
  • The operator and any passenger must wear a DOT standard helmet.

Taken from Massachusetts RMV moped page and Massachusetts RMV Motorized Bicycle (Moped) Registration Form.


Noise Pollution Restrictions

As of late, several people in the Boston area have been cited for 'faulty mufflers', but based on the following legal passages it seems that these accusations are unfounded, as there appears to be no legal restrictions for motorized bicycle exhaust systems.

  • Massachusetts General Laws: Part 1, Title 14, Chapter 90, Section 1 (Definitions)
    • The definition of "Motor vehicles" shall not include motorized bicycles.
  • City of Boston Municipal Code: Chapter 16, Section 47
    • No person shall sell, offer for sale, or install on or in any motor vehicle or trailer: (a) a muffler from which the baffle plates, screens, or other original internal parts have been removed and not replaced; (b) an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will result in an amplification or an increase in the noise emitted by the exhaust system; or (c) a muffler cut-out or by-pass.
  • Massachusetts General Laws: Part 1, Title 14, Chapter 90, Section 16
    • No person shall use a muffler cut-out or by-pass. No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any way which motor vehicle is equipped (1) with a muffler from which the baffle plates, screens or other original internal parts have been removed and not replaced; or (2) with an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust.
  • Massachusetts General Laws: Part 1, Title 14, Chapter 90, Section 7U
    • No person shall operate a motorcycle intended for use on the highways of the commonwealth and registered under the provisions of section two of chapter ninety at any time or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed eighty-two decibels when operated within a speed zone of forty-five miles per hour or less, or in such a manner as to exceed eighty-six decibels when operated within a speed zone of over forty-five miles per hour measured at fifty feet using the prescribed highway vehicle sound level measurement procedure.
    • No person shall operate a motorcycle intended for use off the highways of the commonwealth and registered under the provisions of section twenty-two of chapter ninety B at any time that exceeds one hundred and three decibels measured at twenty inches, or one-half meter, using the prescribed stationary vehicle sound level measurement procedure. For enforcement purposes a tolerance of plus two decibels shall be applied to all measured sound levels of in-use vehicles to provide for variances in equipment calibration, measurement site characteristics and measurement techniques.

New Hampshire

259:57 Moped. – Moped shall mean a motor-driven cycle whose speed attainable in one mile is 30 miles per hour or less which is equipped with a motor that produces 2 brake horse power or less; if an internal combustion engine is used, the piston displacement shall not exceed 50 cubic centimeters and the power-drive system shall not require the operator to shift gears. Source. RSA 259:1, XIII-a. 1976, 4:4. 1977, 272:1. 1981, 146:1. 1983, 147:1, eff. Aug. 6, 1983.

263:33 Driving Mopeds. – No person may drive a moped upon any way in this state unless he holds a current valid driver's license issued by any state, a special motorcycle license issued pursuant to RSA 263:31 or a special moped license. A person who holds a special moped license may drive any moped without holding any other class of driver's license. Source. RSA 261:11-b. 1976, 4:13. 1979, 11:1. 1981, 146:1; 301:1; 301:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

263:33-a Special Moped Licenses; Driving Mopeds. – The department shall cause to be issued a special license for persons without a driver's license or special motorcycle license for all applicants who successfully complete the requirements for a moped license. Applicants for such license shall be required to pass a written examination prepared by the director. No person shall drive a moped on a way of this state unless such person possesses a driver's license or special motorcycle license or is duly licensed to drive a moped by a special moped license issued under this section. No person shall knowingly authorize or allow the driving of a moped owned by him or in his charge on a way of this state by any person who does not hold a driver's license, a special motorcycle license or a special moped license. Source. 1981, 301:5, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

265:152 Bicycle Parking(Moped Applicable) . –

I. A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official traffic control device.
II. A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.
III. A person shall not park a bicycle on a roadway in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.
IV. In all other respects, bicycles parked on a way shall conform with provisions of law regulating the parking of vehicles.

Source. 1981, 422:14, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

266:86 Headlamp Required at Night. – Every bicycle operated upon any way during darkness shall be equipped with a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet in front of the bicycle and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the director, which shall be visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of the lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from 300 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector. Every moped driven upon any way during darkness shall be equipped with one headlamp which meets the specifications for headlamps established in RSA 266:31. Taillamps and stop lamps are required on mopeds. Source. RSA 250:11-d. 1971, 319:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; 479:57, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

266:88 Brake Required. – Every bicycle and moped shall be equipped with a brake or brakes which will enable its driver to stop the bicycle or moped within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement. Source. RSA 250:11-a. 1971, 319:1. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; 479:57, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

266:89 Sirens Prohibited. – No bicycle or moped shall be equipped with a siren, nor shall any person on a bicycle or moped use a siren. Source. 1981, 479:57, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

New Jersey

Motorized bicycle (moped) license

A moped (motorized bicycle) is defined by law as a pedal bicycle with a "helper-motor" capable of a maximum speed of no more than 25 miles per hour on a flat surface. A moped has a maximum displacement of less than 50 cubic centimeters (no more than 1.5 brake horsepower).

How to get a moped license:

  • You must be at least 15 years old .
  • Visit an MVC Agency to complete an application for a moped permit.
  • Pass the 6 Point ID Verification.
  • Pay $5 examination permit fee.
  • Pass the knowledge and vision tests to validate your permit. Study by reading the Driver Manual and Motorcycle Manual [524k pdf]
  • You must practice with a permit for at least 20 days before being eligible to take the road test
  • If you pass the road test, take your permit, ride slip and score sheet to an MVC Agency to receive your license and pay the $6 license fee.

Possible reasons you can fail the road test:

  • You lack the equipment required by state regulations.
  • Have no helmet.
  • Have unapproved goggles or face shield.
  • Your horn cannot be heard from at least 100 feet away.

Moped license information

New Jersey moped manual

New York

Moped class determined by range of top speed:

Class A Mopeds

  • Mopeds over 30mph to 40mph
  • Class M/MJ license required
  • Headlight must be on at all times when operating
  • Insurance required
  • Registration required
  • Helmet & eye protection required
  • May operate on any traffic lane
  • Inspection required
  • No title required

Class B Mopeds

  • Over 20mph to 30mph
  • Any class license
  • Registration required
  • Headlight must be on at all times when operating
  • Helmet and eye protection required
  • May operate on Right-Hand lane or Shoulder only
  • Insurance required
  • No inspection required
  • No title required

Class C Mopeds

  • 20mph or less
  • Any class license
  • Registration required
  • Headlight must be on at all times when operating
  • No helmet and eye protection required
  • May operate on Right-hand lane or Shoulder only
  • No insurance required
  • No inspection required
  • No title required


On August 12, 2010 Dave Seley spoke with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) supervisor 'Shirley' in the Albany District Office (1-518-473-5595). After much explanation on his part, she agreed with his argument that New York must honor Massachusetts registrations including mopeds. She advised him to fax the NYDMV legal department so they can fax him back something in writing to carry so as not to get ticketed by an officer who does not know the federal law regarding interstate registration reciprocity. She confirmed the requirements for mopeds in the Polk, the book the cops use. The initial fax by Dave may be seen here and their response may be seen here.


See: How to Register a Moped in New York

Pennsylvania

  • Class C (car) required on Driver’s License.
  • Insurance is required.
  • Annual registration fee is $9.00.
  • A title is required for registration - What - you don't have one?
  • Moped plate issued.
  • No helmet or eye protection required for driver.
  • Does not require inspection.
  • Design speed may not be more than 25 miles per hour.
  • Engine may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
  • Engine may not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower rating.
  • Operable pedals are now required (see Note, below).
  • Automatic transmission required.
  • An electric motor-driven-cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery is defined as a moped also.

Note: Mopeds such as a Honda Express can be registered as mopeds as long as you have an original title that lists the Body Type as "Moped." A new, sub-50cc scooter cannot be registered as a moped.

Out of state riders whose home state does not require registration (Maryland, for example) should be allowed to ride legally in PA so long as they are in compliance with their home state's laws. For more information, please see this pdf document.

Rhode Island

31-3-2.1 states that "Out-of-state residents owning motorized bicycles, whose state of residence does not require the registration of those vehicles, shall register the vehicles in the state of Rhode Island and upon payment of the registration fee shall be issued stickers to be placed on the vehicle evidencing registration." It is not clear as to whether or not the state expects one to register in advance. If this were the case, it could be a violation of federal law.

I spoke with the RI DMV enforcement department on 03/30/2011 regarding this matter and was told that the issue is not the plate, but the insurance. In other words, if you can prove you are registered in Massachusetts or another plate-less state (carry the paperwork that came with your sticker) and can show that you are insured, the state of RI will be happy. I am in the process of contacting the representatives from the registration department to discuss how the 'full faith and credit' clause of the Constitution affects their laws. ..

Vermont

Definition is 50cc. License required. Registration required. Insurance required. Inspection required-horn, lights, front fender, no cracked tires. Vermont no longer has moped plates. Under new law all mopeds and scooters (with or without pedals) 50cc or less receive motor driven cycle (MDC) plates.

from the official Vermont DMV website as of 4/1/2014

Mopeds Defined

To register your bike as a moped/motor-driven cycle, it must meet adhere to the following: Cannot exceed over 30 mph on a level surface. Engine must operate without a need for clutching or shifting. Cannot possess an engine larger than 50 cubic centimeters. Restricted to 2 or 3 wheels. Unlike motorcycles, wearing a helmet is not required.

U.S. Moped Laws by region
Northeast CTDEMEMANHNJNYPARIVT
South ALFLGAKYMDNCSCTNTXVA
Midwest IllinoisIowaKansasMichiganMinnesotaMissouriOhioSouth DakotaWisconsin
West ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoHawai'iMontanaNevadaNew MexicoOregonUtahWashington