Natatia Bledsoe is the public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department.
New laws for mopeds and motorized scooters
Effective July 1, 2013, the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted new laws regulating the safe operation of mopeds and motorized scooters on public roads. The following summary is not a comprehensive list of the applicable laws, but intended as a guide for operators. The full text of the laws can be found online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.
The laws apply to any moped or motorized scooter that meets the following description:
- Travels on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground
- Has a seat not less than 24 inches from the ground
- Has a gas, electric, or hybrid engine that displaces less than 50cc or an input of 1500 watts or less
- Is not operated in speeds in excess of 35 mph (if the vehicle is driven faster than 35 mph, it is subject to the laws governing motorcycles)
A headlight visible from 500 feet and a tail light or reflector visible from 600 feet are required when operating a moped or motorized scooter on public roadways between sunset and sunrise. The vehicle must be registered with DMV before July 1, 2014. Information about tags and registration can be found online at http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/moped.asp.
Drivers & Passengers
When mopeds or motorized scooters are operated on public roads:
- Drivers must be at least 16 years old.
- Drivers must carry a state issued form of photo ID (driver’s license is not required).
- Drivers and passengers must wear helmets.
- Drivers must wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, unless the vehicle has a windshield.
- Drivers may not wear earphones or ear buds while operating the vehicle.
- Drivers can only carry a passenger if the vehicle is designed to do so.
- Drivers may not operate a moped or scooter on public roadways if their license is suspended or revoked for DUI or if they are a habitual offender.
Rules of the Road
In general, drivers operating a moped or motorized scooter on public roadways must follow the same traffic laws as drivers of other kinds of vehicles (obey speed limits, stop at red lights and stop signs, use turn signals or hand signals, obey lane directions, etc). There are some special regulations for mopeds and motorized scooters:
- Mopeds and motorized scooters are not allowed on interstate highways.
- Mopeds and motorized scooters cannot travel with more than two abreast in a single lane.
- The driver must stay to the right of the travel lane when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic, unless preparing to make a left turn. The driver can travel on the left side of the road on a one-way street.
- With due regard for safety, a person operating a moped or motorized scooter can pass another vehicle on either the left or right.